If you have ever been to India, hung around for more than 5 minutes with an Indian family or looked at photos of the country’s rural landscape, it would have been impossible to miss a mention of mustard oil. It’s not only the prettiest crop in Indian farms but also has some of the most potent beauty and health benefits, which make it a worthy rival even to the mighty coconut oil. In fact, I’ve always thought of mustard as the lavender of India, where the gorgeousness of the rolling expanses is concerned. And like lavender, mustard has its own plethora of cultural, health and beauty nuances.
The 5,000-year-old crop (called sarson or rai in its native language) is a member of the broccoli family. It is known as the ‘plant of long life’ and figures prominently in beauty rituals and traditional ceremonies. For example, mustard oil is poured on both sides of the threshold when someone important comes home for the first time and is used to light earthen lamps (diyas) on festive occasions such as Diwali.
Today, scientists have discovered that mustard oil is a terrific cocktail of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, thereby transforming centuries-old beauty recipes into lavish spa rituals across the world. And that’s not all – it’s warmth-generating, circulation-boosting, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal benefits also make mustard oil a great medium for massages and hair treatments. Want to enjoy some of the goodness? All you need is a bottle of pure mustard oil.
Mustard for a better body: According to Ayurveda, massaging the body with mustard oil improves the blood circulation and muscular strength while flushing out toxins. It also slows down premature ageing, improves skin texture, relieves stress and boosts skin immunity.
Mustard for acne: To treat acne, mix turmeric powder with a few drops of mustard oil and lemon juice. Apply this paste on your pimples, leave on for 15 minutes and then scrub gently. Wash off with plain water. Do this 2-3 times a week to keep chronic spots at bay.
Mustard for glowing skin: Mix equal amounts of turmeric powder, sandalwood, Bengal gram (besan) and powdered mustard seeds in mustard oil to make a thick paste. Add 3-4 strands of saffron and apply the paste all over your body; leave for 20-30 minutes, then scrub it off in the shower. Doing this regularly will not only keep your skin supple and glowing but also safe from infections.
Mustard for smooth lips: For soft, smooth lips, put a drop of mustard oil in your belly button before sleeping (sounds strange, but it works!).
Mustard for lustrous hair: Mustard oil stimulates circulation and contains fatty acids to revitalise the scalp and bring blood to the hair follicles, thereby making your locks thick and lustrous. Simply massage the oil into your scalp and hair, then cover your head with a shower cap. Blast with a hair dryer for about 10-15 minutes to help the oil penetrate your hair shafts. Wash hair and style as usual.
Mustard for hair loss: To treat hair loss, boil mustard oil and add some henna leaves. Allow the leaves to burn in oil. Then cool the mixture and filter it with a thin cloth or fine strainer. Use this concoction to massage you hair every day.
Have you had an experience with mustard oil? Liked it?