Mustard oil may refer to two different types of oil. The first is the fatty vegetable oil made from pressing the seeds of the mustard plant while the second refers to the essential oil produced by steam distillation. The first type of mustard oil is used in Eastern cooking, but it is banned by the FDA for culinary purposes due to evidence that suggests the erucic acid content may negatively affect the heart.1 However, it can be sold for external use and is sometimes used as a massage oil.2
The essential oil, on the other hand, is approved by the FDA for consumption.1 There are several different types of mustard plants that can produce different types of mustard oil, including white mustard, brown mustard, and black mustard.3,4,5 Each type of mustard oil should be treated differently.
Mustard Oil Uses and Health Benefits
When used properly, mustard oil has many benefits. It is said to contain antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help stimulate blood flow and helps relax the body. Among mustard oil benefits, it’s believed to treat gum disease and provide benefits for the skin.2 In folk medicine, mustard oil from the white mustard plant was used both externally and internally. It was known to treat abnormal growths as well as cancer and rheumatic pains.3 Other possible mustard oil uses include for:
Mustard Oil Side Effects and Precautions
Some types of mustard oil may not be considered safe. Mustard oil made by pressing the seeds may lead to heart problems and is not approved for consumption by the FDA.1 The volatile oil derived from white black mustard can cause skin blisters if not handled carefully.3,5 Mustard oil should never be used in combination with argemone oil. Do not give mustard oil to infants.1
More research is needed on mustard oil benefits and mustard oil side effects. Talk to your doctor if you are thinking about taking mustard oil either internally or topically.