What is mustard oil ?

Mustard oil generates from mustard seed. It has round stem with long inter-modes, simple, alternate and very soft yellowish green leaves. The fruit is a pod containing seeds. Dry mustard seeds are small, round and darkish-brown or grayish-brown in color. They have no smell, but when pounded and moistured with water, they emit a peculiar strong smell. Mustard oil is the third largest edible oil produced in the world after Soy oil and Palm oil. At a production level of 13-14 million tons, it accounts for about  12% of the total World's edible oil production. India is one of the largest oilseed producing country in the world, with mustard seed is one of the major percentage in that.  Black mustard is a native of Eurasia. It has been in cultivation in, Europe, Belgium, China, India, Japan for a long time. This was the first species to provide table mustard for use as a condiment. It has been used by Romans, Greeks and Indians since ancient times.

Mustard oil is obtained from seeds of the black and white (Sinapis alba) mustard plants. In the crude state, black mustard oil (Brassica nigra, light color) has a spicy odor and a strong taste. When refined it is neutral in odor and taste. White mustard oil (yellow color) has a bitingly pungent taste due to the allyl mustard oil it contains.

Mustard oil is composed mostly of the fatty acids oleic acid, linoleic acid and erucic acid. At 5%, mustard seed oil has the lowest saturated fat content of the edible oils. Due to its high content of erucic acid, which is considered noxious, mustard oil is not considered suitable for human consumption in the United States, Canada and the European Union, although mustard oil with a low content of erucic acid is available. In India, mustard oil is generally heated almost to smoking before it is used for cooking; this may be an attempt to reduce the content of noxious substances, and does reduce the strong smell and taste.

The major growing states in india  are Rajasthan (40%), Uttar Pradesh (16%), Haryana/Punjab (15%). The oil content varies between 36-42%, with average oil recovery of 34-35%. The remaining is used as rapeseed meal cake. Hapur, Jaipur, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Indore, Alwar, Bharatpur, Jaipur, Sriganganagar in Rajasthan; Lawrence Road at Delhi are the major trading centers for rapeseed.

What is mahua oil ?

Mahua oil generates from Mahua tree. Mahua is commonly known as Madhuca longifolia, belongs to the family of Sapotaceae.  It grows approximately to 20 meters in height.  It is an Indian tropical tree found largely in the central and north Indian plains and forests.  It founds in the forest of in the states of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat and Orissa.

Mahua is cultivated in warm and humid regions for its oleaginous seeds, flowers and wood . It produced between 20 and 200 kg of seeds annually per tree, depending on maturity. The fat (solid at ambient temperature) is used for the care of the skin, to manufacture soap or detergents, and as a vegetable butter. It can also be used as a fuel oil. The seed cakes obtained after extraction of oil constitute very good fertilizer.

The composition for Mahua oil is as follows:

  • Refractive index: 1.452
  • Fatty acid composition (acid, %) : palmitic (c16:0) : 24.5, stearic (c18:0) : 22.7, oleic (c18:1) : 37.0, linoleic (c18:2) : 14.3

Mahua oil has emollient properties and is used in skin disease, rheumatism and headache. It is also a laxative and considered useful in habitual constipation, piles and haemorrhoids and as an emetic.