The 5,000-year-old crop (called sarson or rai in hindi) is most revered in Northern and Eastern India, where it is known as the ’plant of long life’ and figures prominently in rituals and ceremonies besides the daily cooking activities. For example, mustard oil is poured on both sides of the threshold when someone important comes home for the first time or after a long absence and is used as fuel for lighting earthen lamps (diyas) on festive occasions such as Diwali.
Most importantly, however, it forms an integral element in the beauty traditions that precede a wedding. In the most popular variation, it is mixed with turmeric to create a purifying paste that’s slathered all over the bride and groom. It’s traditional purpose is to make the turmeric penetrate deeper into the skin while imparting warmth, strength and a glow to the body.
Today, however, scientists have also discovered it to be a terrific cocktail of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, transforming the drippy, pungent home-brewed ceremonies into lavish spa rituals across the world. And that’s not all – it’s warmth-generating, circulation-boosting, antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal benefits also make it a great medium for massages and hair treatments. Want to enjoy some of the goodness? All you need is a bottle of high quality mustard oil and some simple recipes: