A report titled Ethnopharmacological Investigation of Indian Spices refers to mustard as a “Miracle Seed” from the human health perspective. The research team of eminent Indian scientists from prestigious academic institutions carried out an in-depth analysis of the role of mustard seeds and mustard oil in health and wellness as part of their study.
The report traces the use and relevance of mustard seeds and oil across thousands of years in traditional Indian health and healing systems like Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani, wherein mustard seeds and oil have been used extensively to treat various ailments like arthritis, joint pains, rheumatism, nausea and malaria. Even today, herbal formulations made with mustard are used in the treatment of congestion, dengue and diabetes. It is mind-boggling to think that the ancient Indian sages were using mustard seeds and oil as active ingredients in medicines even before the pharmacological benefits of mustard were known to modern science.
The study finds that mustard seed is a good source of protein with a protein efficiency ratio of 2.64 which is significantly higher than other oils. In addition to protein, mustard is also rich in dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. The oil extracted from mustard seeds has a balanced ratio of Saturated Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, and a near-ideal ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. It is almost as if mustard was created under laboratory conditions to be the perfect edible oil!
The unique pharmacology of mustard gives it powerful antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-malarial properties. In particular, it contains an organosulphur compound called Allyl Isothiocyanate (AITC) which gives mustard oil is characteristic pungency along with powerful cancer-fighting properties.
Scientists are not known to be particularly effusive with words… so when this research group called mustard a “Miracle Seed” that in itself says a lot.