Mustard Seed and Oil: Benefits, Types, Usage, Side Effects, Research

Mustard seed is used in Ayurveda for both external application and oral use, in treating worm infestation, pruritus (itching), psychiatric disorders, low digestion strength and more. 
Mustard is a well known culinary substance appreciated due to its specific odour and carminative effect.This is a compulsory item in almost all sambhar powder, masala powder, pickle and even while seasoning of the dishes and side dishes. 

Botanical name of mustard types: 
White mustard, Yellow mustard – Sinapis alba
Black mustard – Brassica nigra L. Koch
Sarshapa – Indian mustard – Brassica juncea L. Czern. et Cosson
Family- Cruciferae (Brassicaceae – Rajika kula)

Home remedies

Headache, toothache

By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
1. Mustard paste for headache and toothache:
This is a very common medicinal practice found in South kanara and North kanara of Karnataka.
Red or black mustard seeds are taken and by adding water it is ground well. Thus obtained  fine paste is applied over the forehead. This helps to reduce the vascular headache quite effectively.

In case of toothache also this paste mixed with little salt and applied/retained near the painful area of gum for a few minutes.


2. Lemon juice and mustard paste in tonsillitis:
2 teaspoons of mustard is taken and  one teaspoon of lemon juice is added and pounded well to obtain fine paste. This paste is applied over the throat (externally, on the skin) to treat tonsillitis.  3-4 days medication usually pacifies pain and swelling.
In lymphadenitis also it is very effective to reduce swelling.


3. Charred mustard in ulcers, wounds
4-5 teaspoons of mustard is taken and by keeping it in an earthen pa n(steel plate can also be used) it is heated and burnt. This is pounded well and fine powder is made (black coloued). To this, sesame oil is added and mixed thoroughly.
This paste is applied over the ulcers and non healing wounds.

Nasal polyp

4. Mustard oil mixed with salt in nasal polyp:
25 ml of mustard oil is taken and 2 pinch of salt is added and heated. This is filtered on cooling. 2 – 3 drops of this oil is instilled into the nose for the treatment of nasal polyps.
It is applied externally over hemorrhoid mass to shrink the mass and to relieve pain.

Itchy rashes

Mustard oil is mixed with a small quantity of fine paste of turmeric and oil is cooked. This oil is applied all over the body.This pacifies itchy rashes.

People who complain of severe cold followed by shivering and rashes are advised to apply this oil and after an hour, warm water bath is advised. This has a very good effect on seasonal cold.
(Note:Pitta prakriti persons should avoid it)

Recurrent cold

6. Mustard and pepper powder in recurrent cold of children:
Both the above spices are taken in equal quantities and fine powder is made. This powder is taken in a small piece of cloth (or cotton gauge can be used) and folded. This is kept in the middle of the scalp and tied properly for 30-45 minutes every day preferably in early morning or late evening. This is used as a remedy for recurrent cold, rhinitis, cough, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, in children.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Mustard paste for joint pain, paralysis, allergic hives

7. Mustard oil application in rheumatoid arthritis:
In rheumatoid arthritis, mustard oil is warmed with a pinch of rock salt and applied over the joints, gently. Regular application helps to bring down the pain and swelling.


8. Fine paste of mustard leaf/whole plant in oedema and abscess:
Whole plant of the mustard or its leaves are taken and by adding little turmeric powder and wet ginger, fine paste is made. This is warmed a little and applied over the swelling or non suppurative abscesses. It helps in maturation of the abscess and to pacify the swelling.

Joint pain

9. Fine paste of mustard seeds, garlic and clove in joint pain and muscular swelling:
Equal amounts of mustard seeds, garlic and clove are taken and fine paste is made. This is applied over the abrasive wounds or crushed injuries .It relieves the pain, discoloration and swelling.

Chronic cough

10. Seed powder with honey in chronic cough and rhinitis:
Fine powder of mustard is made. Warmed a little by keeping it over a lukewarm pan.1-2 pinch of this powder is mixed with honey and taken by licking. This relieves the phlegm, cough and acute rhinitis.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD+

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mustard1.jpg

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Sarson / Rai
English name- Wild turnip
Kannada name – Sasive
Telugu name- Nallavalu, Avalu
Tamil name- Karuppukkadugadi
Marathi name- Kalamohare, Shirasi
Bengali name – Sarisha
Punjabi name – Sareya

Mustard paste in wounds, swellings

Mustard seed paste external application in wounds, abscess and swellings:
In cases of abscess / wounds with initial stage of pus formation, mustard paste is applied to quicken pus formation, before incision and drainage.
In cases of wounds with slough, a thin layer of mustard paste applied, gets rid of the slough.
It relieves pain and swelling associated with wound / abscess / oedema.

For neurological conditions

Mustard paste application in neurological conditions: 
In cases of paralysis, mustard paste helps to improve blood circulation and warmth.
In case of petechial patches, subcutaneous bleeding spots, mustard application helps to relieve the patches, pain and burning sensation.
In case of arthritis and other joint conditions with stiffness, as in rheumatoid arthritis, mustard paste application helps to improve warmth and joint flexibility.

For skin disorders

Mustard paste for skin disorders:
In cases of skin disorders involving itching and pain, mustard paste application is useful.
In these cases, mustard seed is ground with water, made into paste, applied over the affected area for 5 – 10 minutes, then the paste is removed.
It can also be applied to a wet cloth and then the cloth is wrapped over the affected area.
While the paste is applied, if the patient feels a burning sensation, then the paste has to be removed immediately.

Medicinal properties

Mustard medicinal Properties:
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Snigdha (oily, unctuousness)
Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter)
Vipaka- Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion
Veerya – Ushna – Hot potency
Effects on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata Dosha. Increases Pitta Dosha

Pharmacological action – Anthelmintic, Appetizer, Anti bacterial, Antiseptic, Anti inflammatory

According to nighantu as per mentioned in Bhojana kutuhala, Rajasarsapa a sub variety of mustard is bitter and astringent in taste, hot in potency and alleviates vata dosha. It aggravates pitta and causes burning sensation, treats gulma, pruritus, skin diseases and wounds.

In twelfth chapter of Bhojana Kutuhalam, it is mentioned that the leaves of rajika are pungent in taste and hot in potency, it causes worm infestation and vitiates vata dosha, helps in treating diseases related to throat, decreases the quantity of semen and imparts taste.

Mustard stem is pungent in taste, hot in potency, is penetrating in nature and treats vitiation of vata and kapha doshas, wounds, worm infestations, itching, other skin diseases and also imparts taste.

Its oil is pungent and bitter in taste, hot in potency, helps in treating diseases caused due to vitiated kapha and vata, treats worm infestation and skin diseases but drastically vitiates raktha and pitta.

In general the stems cooked by steaming are cold in potency, aggravate the doshas, are slimy in nature, heavy for digestion and may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, fever and other disorders related to kapha dosha.

Part used, dosage

Part used- Seed, seed oil
Dosage- Seed powder 2-4 g

Brassica juncea
Brassica juncea

Rakta Sarshapa – red mustard: 
Chitrala, Prabhuta Teekshna Gandha – strong odor

Krushna Sarshapa – Black mustard:
Asuri, Rajika, Krushnika, Teevra, Suteekshna, Katuka – strong and pungent

In general, Sarshapa refers to white mustard. It is also  Siddhartha or Shweta Sarshapa
Rajika is Krushna Sarshapa – Black mustard

brassica nigra

Sanskrit verse

Mustard benefits

Health benefits

Health benefits of Mustard:
White mustard uses – Siddharta (Shweta Sarshapa)
Hrudya – acts as cardiac tonic, congenial for heart
Rakta Pitta Vardahana – increases Pitta and worsens blood vitiation.
Agnivardhana – improves digestion strength
Indicated in
Kushta – skin diseases
Kandu – itching, pruritus
Kantharoga – Throat and voice related disorders
Graharoga – Psychiatric disorders
Krumi – worm infestation
Ama – A product of indigestion and altered metabolism
Shruti –hearing disorders
Sheersha Anilarti – headache due to Vata increase
Pleeha – Disease of the spleen, Splenomegaly
Shoola – abdominal pain

Red mustard:
It is quite similar to white variety.
Swadu – slightly sweet
Ushana – Hot
Guru – heavy to digest
Kshara – has scraping qualities
As per Bhava Prakasha, Red mustard is similar to white, but white is better.

Black mustard benefits – Rajika (Krushna Sarshapa)
Katu – Pungent
Tikta – bitter
Ushna – Hot
Nidrakari – induces sleep
Raktapitta krut – increases Pitta and vitiates Rakta (blood), not indicated in bleeding disorders. 
Indicated in –

Kushta – skin diseases
Kaphaja Gulma – Tumors of the abdomen of Kapha origin
Shopha  – inflammation
Kapha Pittaghni – Balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha

Side effects

Mustard Side effects:
It increases Pitta dosha. Hence, it is best to avoid this during excess burning sensation, burning urination, bleeding disorders, gastritis.
texts do not recommend seed oil in Pitta disorders as it is very pungent and hot in potency. Further the crude oil has the tendency to vitiate blood (Rakta dhatu pradooshaka) and Semen (Shukra hrasakara).
So this oil (as well as seeds) should be cautiously and in minimum quantity only.
It can be used in small quantities in children, during pregnancy and lactation.
Pigeon meat fried in mustard oil acts as poison.
But the texts do not recommend seed oil in Pitta disorders as it is very pungent and hot in potency. Further the crude oil has the tendency to vitiate blood (Rakta dhatu pradooshaka) and Semen (Shukra hrasakara).
So this oil (as well as seeds) should be cautiously and in minimum quantity only.

I eat roasted mustard powder 1 to 2 spoons of this powder everyday, I have eczema and constipation as well. Is this harmful?
Mustard powder can increase Pitta and hence, can worsen both constipation and eczema. Consider stopping it, reducing the dose per day or at least, roasting with a little ghee. Ghee balances down Pitta Dosha.

सर्षपशाकं शाकानां (निन्द्यम्)।च.सू.२५
The leaves of mustard causes Vidaha – burning sensation, has absorbent, hot and strong piercing qualities. It causes Dosha imbalance. Hence advised to avoid it in diet.

How to use mustard:
Regular use of 1 –  2 grams in a diet is the best way to use.
If for specific therapeutic purposes, its powder is administered along with a teaspoon of ghee or honey.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc.?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Which Season Is Good For Using Mustard Oil As Cooking Oil


Antimicrobial activity of Sinapsis alba – The seeds of hexane extract contain terpenoids and fatty acids. In 150% concentration Sinapis alba showed the highest 20mm antibacterial zone against streptococcus pneumoniae.

Insulinotropic Effect of Aqueous Extract of Brassica nigra

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines with mustard as ingredient:
Somaraji taila – useful in Ayurvedic treatment of eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, allergic skin conditions with itching.
Sarshapadi Pralepa – used in Ayurvedic treatment of oedema and inflammation, cysts, cervical lymphadenopathy etc.
Yogaraja Churnam – used in the treatment of piles, fistula, anorexia, bloating and anemia.

Sanskrit synonyms

Shweta Sarshapa – white mustard –
Siddharta, Shubhragaura, Katu sneha, Tuntubha, Rajika phala, Bhutaghna, Ugragandha, Tantubha, Udumbara, Vijayapaha, Katuka, Katusneha,
Bhutaghna, Bhootanashanam Rakshoghna – keeps away from evil spirits.

Major chemical constituents

Seeds -Rutin, Arabinogalactan

Classical categorisation

Kandughna – group of herbs useful to relieve itching, pruritus
Asthapanopaga – group of herbs useful in decoction enema (Asthapana basti)
Shiro virechanopaga – group of herbs useful in nasya treatment
Susruta- Pippalyadi
Vaghbata- Kanndughna, Pippalyadi

Bhava Prakasha, Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Dhanya Varga (grains)
Dhanvantari Nighantu – Karaveeradi Varga
Rajanighantu – Shalyadi Varga


Small herb
Stem – Glabrous
Leaves – Basal leaves long, broadly ovate, narrowed in to the petiole, Upper leaves are broadly linear, slightly obtuse, narrowed at the base
Flowers – Yellow in colour
Fruits – Pods

Utpathi sthana

Cultivated in Bihar, Uthra pradesh, Bengal.

Sthanika Karma (Systemic Action)

External – It has scraping action on the tissues. External application of seed paste relieves pain and edema. Can cause burning sensation and blisters on skin. External application of seed paste is also indicated in cold induced neurological pain. beneficial in hemiplegia, joint pain, low back pain, pulmonary edema, Hepatomegaly, colic pain etc. Indicated in itching, leukoderma etc. Also beneficial in oligomenorrhea, swelling over the neck region, and toothache. Applied lepa should be removed within 20 minutes.

Digestive System – It has antimicrobial action. Indicated in improper digestion, loss of appetite, anorexia, Phantom tumor, abdominal cramp, splenic disorders, hemorrhoids, and poison. Overdose can cause vomiting.
Circulatory System – stimulate heart, Can cause vitiation of blood and pitta dosha.
Skin – Being hot in potency stimulates sweat production.

Mustard oil for oil pulling

Can Mustard Oil Be Used for Oil Pulling for Kapha Problems? 
Dr JV Hebbar 
Let me explain the context of this question. 
Mustard oil is hot in nature. Oil pulling is a way to cleanse the oral cavity and to strengthen the gums and teeth. Kapha dosha can affect the oral cavity in causing tartar, tongue coating, decrease in tasting capacity of lung, swelling etc. 
Read: Ayurvedic Remedies, Treatment for Dental Caries, Plaque, Tartar

Bad breath, dental caries, sinusitis, excessive phlegm production, excessive salivation etc. are also Kapha aggravation symptoms, often treated with oil pulling. 
Read: Ayurvedic Remedies, Treatment, Medicines For Halitosis (Bad Breath)

The question is, mustard oil, being hot and having kapha balancing properties, be used for oil pulling? 
Answer is, yes, it can be used but only when Kapha is severely aggravated. 
The most common problems for which oil pulling is used as a treatment is weak gums and teeth. Most common ingredient that is used for improving gum and teeth health is sesame seed and sesame oil. 
For example, chewing of sesame seed paste is traditionally mentioned as a remedy to treat dental caries. 
Acharya Vagbhata describes this beautiful remedy in 5th Sanskrit verse of 22nd chapter of Sutrasthana of Ashtanga Hrudaya textbook 
दन्तहर्षे दन्तचाले मुखरोगे च वातिके ।
सुखोष्णमथवा शीतं तिलकल्कोदकं हितम् ॥ ५ ॥
गण्डूष धारणे
dantaharṣe dantacāle mukharoge ca vātike|
sukhoṣṇamathavā śītaṃ tila kalka udakaṃ hitam||5||
gaṇḍūṣa dhāraṇe
It means 
तिल कल्क उदकं सुख उष्णमथवा शीतं हितम् गण्डूष धारणे – tila kalka udakaṃ sukha uṣṇamathavā śītaṃ hitam gaṇḍūṣa dhāraṇe – water mixed with sesame seed paste, either in lukewarm or cold form, is useful to hold full mouth gargle in conditions mentioned below – 
दन्तहर्षे – dantaharṣe – tingling sensation in the teeth 
दन्तचाले – dantacāle – loose / shaking teeth 
वातिके मुखरोगे च – mukharoge ca vātike – diseases of the mouth caused by vitiated vata 

It means, water mixed with sesame seed paste, either in lukewarm or cold form, is useful to hold full mouth gargle in conditions mentioned below –
dantaharṣe – tingling sensation in the teeth 

dantacāle – loose / shaking teeth 

mukharoge ca vātike – diseases of the mouth caused by vitiated vata. 
Read this beautiful chapter here 

Primarily sesame oil decreases Vata dosha, but it, being hot also is useful against Kapha dosha. 
So, sesame oil and herbal oils prepared with it, such as Arimedadi taila are the preferred choice for oil pulling, even in Kapha related disorders. 
However, only in extremely aggravated Kapha disorders, for a small period of 1 – 2 weeks, mustard oil can be used for oil pulling. 
I am apprehensive to advocate long term use of mustard oil for oil pulling because of the fear of increase of Pitta dosha in oral and nasal cavities, which can lead to local inflammation, mouth ulcers etc. 
Read: Sesame Oil vs. Coconut Oil vs. Castor Oil vs.Mustard Oil

25 comments on “Mustard Seed and Oil: Benefits, Types, Usage, Side Effects, Research

  • Vaidya N.T.Pathak

    20/03/2015 - 3:26 pm

    Useful article for kitchen medicine.

    Reply to comment
  • Vaidehi

    24/03/2015 - 3:18 am

    Please give Hindi names for Garden Cress and Bishops weed. Thank you.

    Reply to comment
  • Shrikant S. Kamble

    30/09/2016 - 5:44 pm

    My hand fingers and leg fingers are always cool. I also feel cool most of the time. I don’t have BP. Little sugar was indicated (160-200) 1 and half year back now with medicines it is 77/140. If I drink 1 spoon mustard oil daily, will it keep Sugar level under control without medicines.

    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    06/11/2016 - 7:23 pm

    Some people will have high nose irritation with this oil. Anu tailam – 2 drops 2 times a day, in the morning is better.

    Reply to comment
  • Rahul

    03/06/2017 - 2:41 pm

    Namaste Dr Hebbar,

    Can explain in Ayurvedic terms how is Black Mustard Pittaghna while also increasing Pitta? At what stage of digestion does it convert from increasing to decreasing Pitta? vipaka? prabhav? Could you be so kind enough to clarify?


    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      09/06/2017 - 3:58 pm

      Hi, it is not pittaghna. It is told as Raktapitta krut – increases Pitta and vitiates Rakta

      Reply to comment
  • aman

    11/06/2017 - 12:56 pm

    As mustard seeds are rich in selenium. Is there any form of extract explained in ayurveda texts where more of selenium is getting concentrated.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      12/06/2017 - 6:03 pm

      I have not come across such a reference thus far.

      Reply to comment
  • ayus

    27/09/2017 - 4:06 am

    I want to use an ayurvedic shampoo with oil.
    I have tried to use dry herbs as a powder but dont like it that much.

    Which oil should I use?
    I really dont like the smell of sesame oil.
    I’ve been told indian brides use, before their wedding, a paste of mustardoil, besan and turmeric. Can this be used as a shampoo? Or does this aggrevate the blood?

    Reply to comment
  • ayus

    02/10/2017 - 2:11 am

    And does mustardoil therefore worsen already present skin diseases?
    If it does, which oil would you recommend insted?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      10/10/2017 - 1:44 pm

      Mustard oil can worsen skin diseases. coconut oil / sesame oil are better.

      Reply to comment
  • Akash

    24/11/2017 - 1:26 pm

    Hi, I just found out that whenever I eat mustard in either sambar or anything else I get hiccups as an allergic reaction (though it is harmless)what could be the cause of this in terms of Ayurveda?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      05/12/2017 - 10:48 pm

      Slight increase in Pitta and Vata. Having a few drops of ghee with the sambar could solve the issue.

      Reply to comment
  • Anup kumar

    19/05/2018 - 12:56 pm

    Is it ok to use mustard oil regularly for cooking? In North india this is used regularly for cooking, while it is banned in America and Europe . Is this is good or bad for health ?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      04/06/2018 - 11:56 am

      It can be used for cooking.

      Reply to comment
  • Harpal

    21/05/2020 - 12:01 pm

    Namaste and thanks for your articles, I request you to please give difference between different types of mustard seeds or rai available in In india,eg small and bigger black ones and also yellow ones and their ayurvedic effects, ‌‌‌‌rerega

    Reply to comment
  • Sunita Talreja

    21/04/2022 - 2:10 am

    You are kind Doctor, to spread and share such a valuable knowledge about Ayurveda..
    Thank you.

    Reply to comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Easy Ayurveda Video Classes

Buy Online Video Courses

Buy Easy Ayurveda Books