The mighty Himalayas have bestowed many valuable gifts upon India… medicinal herbs, exotic fruits and lots more. Mustard too originated in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. Food historians have found evidence of mustard being cultivated in ancient India as far back as 3000 BCE!
Excavations at numerous sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation indicate that the ancient inhabitants farmed and used mustard in various ways.
From India, this healthy marvel of Nature spread to other parts of the world. Mustard seeds have been discovered in the homes excavated at Stone Age settlements. Early Sumerian and Chinese texts also have references to mustard. Mustard seeds were also found in Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s tomb when it was opened.
While Mustard and Mustard Oil are truly Indian in their origins, the term “Mustard” is of foreign origin. In India, it is – as we all know – called Sarson with various dialectical variations across the country. The roots of the word lie in the Anglo-Norman ‘Mustarde’ and the Old French ‘Mostarde’.
However, even the Anglo-Norman and Old French terms are derived from an earlier Roman connotation. The hard-drinking Romans mixed grape juice with ground mustard seeds to create a pungent wine. They called it mustum ardens which means “burning wine”. The term Mustard is, therefore, derived from mustum ardens.
Today, ardent mustard lovers can be found all over the world and Indians should be proud that this is where it all began. Indeed, the Romans may have named it and the ancients may have relished it – but mustard and mustard oil is innately Indian…
Yes, Mustard Oil is India’s Oil in the true sense of the term!