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The Pungency Test

There is an ancient poem called Chandimangal from Bengal that was written sometime around the 16th Century. It states that the food offered to Lord Shiva should not be cooked in ghee which is Sattvic in nature. Instead it should always be cooked in Mustard Oil whose strong pungency represents power, active energy and dynamic forces. It certainly is an interesting way to look at Mustard Oil and its characteristic pungency.

In the olden days when Mustard Oil was sold loose (a practice that has now been banned for food safety reasons) people would use the “Sniff Test” to check the quality of the oil they were buying. They would take a few drops of Mustard Oil and spread it on the palm of the hand and then smell it. If they detected the typical pungent sting of the oil in their nostrils, that was a sign of the purity and quality of the Mustard Oil.

Decades later, it is just as important to check the pungency of the Mustard Oil that you are using – because pungency is a critical indicator which assures you that the unique health benefits offered by Mustard Oil are present in the oil that you are buying.

The pungency of Mustard Oil comes from an invaluable nutrient called Allyl Isothiocyanate, or AITC. It gives Mustard Oil powerful cancer-fighting properties. In fact, medical science sees AITC as a viable and effective cancer chemo-preventive phytochemical. Mustard Oil is already being used in the treatment of colon, colorectal, prostate and stomach cancers.

Recent studies have also shown that AITC inhibits the proliferation of various types of human cancer cells – and works effectively even on drug-resistant cells. 

So make sure that your cold-pressed Mustard Oil isn’t lacking in pungency. The absence of pungency (or even low pungency for that matter) could indicate that the oil is not pure (it may be blended or adulterated), but worse still, it means that you are missing out on the benefits of AITC.


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