Mustard oil has been used in India for centuries in both cooking and also for hair and skin care. Though mustard oil is widely used in India, it is banned in many countries of the world and in some countries they have imposed an upper limit for using mustard oil.
This is due to the high amounts of erucic acid present in it which has been shown to cause myocardial lipidosis (reduction of hearts ability to pump blood) in animal studies. So it is best to get to know the side effects and also how to prevent it especially if you are using mustard oil on a day-to-day basis.
4 Worst Mustard Oil Side Effects
1. Mustard Oil Side Effects For Skin
Mustard oil is widely used as a massage oil for infants in North India. Though this practice has been in use for centuries, it has been proven through many studies that it does more harm than good. Mustard oil causes skin irritation especially for newborns. In a study, twice daily application of mustard oil for 7 days resulted in delayed skin barrier recovery.
In an another study done on 500 newborn children who received mustard oil massage, erythema and rash increased during the first and second week of mustard oil massage and then gradually it decreased in the 3rd and 4th week. Skin pH and stratum corneum protein also decreased with mustard oil massage. Instead of using mustard oil for oil massage, try choosing other cold pressed oils like sesame oil, extra virgin olive oil and sweet almond oil.
2. Mustard Oil & Heart Health
Mustard oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which have been linked to positive heart health. Monounsaturated fatty acids helps lower high blood sugar, blood pressure and triglycerides but when it comes to heart health and consumption of mustard oil, there are mixed results.
I found two studies which compared the beneficial effects of mustard oil and ghee on heart health. The studies showed that mustard oil is harmful to heart health due to the high amounts of erucic acid present in it and ghee, though high in saturated fatty acids was good for heart health if had in moderation.
But we have to keep in mind that the studies were very small. I also found 2 other studies that proved that a diet high in vegetable intake and mustard oil is good for heart health too so larger studies are needed to support both these claims. Now research is going on about cultivating mustard plants with low erucic acid and in fact, Indian agricultural research institute (IACR) has developed such a variety.
3. Mustard Oil Allergy
Mustard allergy is very very common than we think. If people with mustard allergy consume mustard or mustard oil they can develop symptoms like itching, rashes, breathing troubles, feeling dizzy and light headed, nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting and facial swelling.
If you are allergic to mustard or mustard oil, try to check the labels especially in sauce bottles as most contain mustard. If you are living in North India and are buying local deep fried foods, check whether they are fried in mustard oil. If the allergy symptoms are very severe please seek medical attention right away.
4. Mustard Oil Side Effects For Hair
We don’t use mustard oil for hair here in Southern India but it is a common practice to use mustard oil for promoting hair growth in Northern India. One of my North Indian friends regularly use mustard oil infused with henna leaves and she swears by it for hair growth.
Mustard oil has a very strong pungent odor to be used as a daily application hair oil so use it only as a pre shampoo treatment. And it can cause scalp irritation for some people, if it does always mix it with other oils like coconut oil but if the scalp irritation still persists please discontinue use.
Tips To Avoid Mustard Oil Side Effects
- If you use mustard oil sparingly you don’t have to worry about any side effects but if you use it as a primary cooking oil then I would suggest looking out for mustard oil with low erucic content.
- Avoid using mustard oil for skin massage especially in newborns, it can cause more harm than good. Instead use other cold pressed oils like sesame oil or sweet almond oil.
- For hair care use it mixed with other oils like coconut oil instead of using it alone to reduce the strong smell and also to prevent any scalp irritation.
- If you are allergic to mustard avoid using any mustard based products completely including mustard oil. And always make sure to check the labels especially sauces and spreads as they mostly contain mustard.