One of the oldest oil crops that is mainly planted in Africa and Asia for its unique flavour and high oil content is sesame. Sesame is an amazing crop that belongs to the family of Pedaliaceae and consists of up to 36 species. It is botanically known as Sesamum indicum L., referred to as till in Bangladesh and India, Sim Sim in East Africa and benniseed in West Africa.
Sesame is an excellent source of nutrients, minerals and vitamins such as carbohydrates, proteins, copper, lignans, tocopherols and antioxidants. It is notable for its numerous beneficial properties such as anti-hypersensitivity, antioxidative, anticancer, anti-immunoregulation and immunoregulatory. It is also useful for controlling the blood pressure level, managing dermatological diseases and for lowering the cholesterol level.
Benefits of the Sesame Seed
Even though the sesame seed has been a source of food and oil over the past years, it is still unclear whether there are certain health problems associated with its consumption. Below are some benefits of the sesame seed that will definitely interest you:
- Sesame seed is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins B, E, B-complex, calcium, manganese, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, copper, molybdenum, selenium, amino acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, phytic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, lignans, tryptophan, thiamine, sesamin, sesamolin, dietary fibre and photochemical (phylosterol).
- Sesame seed is useful for producing oil, paste and for food preparations. Sesame seed is useful for baking bread, rolls, cookies, breadsticks, tahini and for producing candies, ice creams and chocolates. Sesame seed is also used in pickles and food spices.
- Due to the high amount of copper in sesame, it is considered a powerful antioxidant for eradicating potentially damaging oxidizing agents from the body. As a result, the sesame seed is considered suitable for boosting the immune system.
- Sesame seed is believed to be anti-inflammatory in nature due to its high constituent of copper thus effective for reducing swelling in rheumatoid arthritic patients.
- Sesame seed is effective for reducing the cholesterol level while promoting a healthy heart due to the presence of sesamin and sesaolion in it.
- Sesame seed promotes the circulation of blood in the body thereby benefiting the cardiovascular and the nervous system.
- Sesame seed possesses cardioprotective properties due to its high lipid content.
- Sesame seed helps to rejuvenate the body system thus it is anti-aging in nature.
- Sesame seed inhibits colon cancer due to the presence of phytic acid in it.
- Sesame seed is effective for eradicating worms from the intestinal tracts.
- Sesame seed can be used for treating blurred vision and eye infections.
- Being a rich source of dietary fibre, sesame seed aids digestion.
- The sesamin in sesame protects the liver from oxidative damage.
- Sesame seed can be used for tackling dizziness and headaches.
- Sesame seed helps to prevent and relieve constipation.
- Sesame seed can be used for tackling impotency.
- Sesame seed can be used for treating dysentery.
Apart from the sesame seed, its oil is another part of this plant that is of great importance. Sesame oil is extracted from the sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) an oleaginous seed and it is highly nutritive with high therapeutic values. Some benefits of the sesame oil are discussed below:
Edible Purposes
Pale yellow sesame oil is used for cooking food, dressing salad and frying snacks etc. It is distinguished by its nutty taste and has an aromatic taste. Light sesame oil has a high smoke point thus can be used for deep-frying. However, the dark sesame oil, which is derived from roasted sesame seeds has minimal smoke point thus not ideal for deep-frying.
Dermatological Benefits 
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel examined the safety of sesame oil for use in the production of dermatological products. The review showed that the sesame oil is safe for producing cosmetic products such as skin moisturizer, hair products, skin conditioner, bath oils, nail varnishes, perfumes, facial makeup, lipstick and hand creams. Sesame oil is considered safe for producing these products due to its rich constituent of stearic, linoleic, oleic and palmitic acids. Ultra Violent light produces certain reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage the skin by causing wrinkles, skin cancer and sunburns. Interestingly, the antioxidants found in sesame defend the skin against these ROS. Facial application of the sesame oil combined with milk and turmeric powder clears pimples and smoothens the face.
Regulates the Blood Pressure
Being rich in vitamin E, polyunsaturated fatty acids-PUFA and sesamin, sesame oil regulates the blood pressure thereby minimizing the risk of hypertension. Regular consumption of sesamin drastically thins the wall area of the aorta and superior mesenteric artery. Sesamin is useful for a preventive treatment thus helps to fight the onset of renal hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy. A regular intake of sesame oil helps to lower the blood pressure.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Some researchers evaluated the impact of administering sesame on clinical signs and symptoms in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Their findings revealed a positive effect of sesame in improving both the clinical signs and symptoms in patients with knee osteoarthritis. This suggests that sesame could be a suitable treatment for OA.
Antioxidant Properties
Sesame seed oil contains antioxidizing properties because it is a rich source of sesamolin, sesaminol, sesamolinol, gamma tocopherols and Vitamin E . These antioxidants protect the body from harmful oxidizing compounds.
Regulates the Cholesterol Level
The presence of sesamin and lignan in sesame seeds makes it suitable for regulating the cholesterol level.
It equally reduces the cholesterol level due to the high amount of polyunsaturated fat substance present in the oil. Besides, monounsaturated fat is also useful for reducing the blood cholesterol levels.
Promotes Healthy Heart
Sesame oil promotes a healthy heart due to the presence of oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat found in it. 
Prevention of Cancer
Sesame oil increases the vitamin E activities as well as enhances tocopherol, thus suitable for use in the prevention of cancer.
Acts as an Emulsifier
Due to the high amount of lecithina phospholipid present in the sesame oil, it can act as a powerful emulsifier thereby facilitating the dissolution of fat in an aqueous medium.
Other Medicinal Uses of the Sesame Oil
- Sesame oil can be used for inhibiting the growth of malignant melanoma because of its rich constituent of linoleate that is in the triglyceride form.
- Sesame oil can be used for tackling gingivitis (gum disease) and toothaches, thus suitable for use as an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Sesame oil contains the sesamin and sesamol antioxidants thus helpful for protecting the blood vessels from damage.
- Sesame oil can be applied to the abdomen for relieving premenstrual syndrome (PMS) pain.
- Sesame oil can be used for relieving insomnia, anxiety and depression.
- Sesame oil aids food digestion and helps to relieve constipation.
- Sesame oil is ideal for managing respiratory disorders.
- Sesame oil can serve as a laxative.
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnostic and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
- Bukya and Vijayakumar (2013), Properties of industrial fractions of sesame seed (Sesamum indicum L.), International Journal of Agricultural and Food Science, 3(3): 86-89.
- Chakraborty et al., (2017), Evaluation of the parameters affecting the extraction of sesame oil from sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) seed using soxhlet apparatus, International Food Research Journal 24(2): 691-695.
- Elleuch, M., Besbes, S., Roiseux, O., Blecker, C. and Attia, H. (2007), Quality characteristics of sesame seeds and by-products. Food Chem 103: 641-650.
- . Chavali et al., (1997), Decreased production of interleukin-1-beta, prostaglandin-E2 and thromboxane-B2, and elevated levels of interleukin-6 and -10 are associated with increased survival during endotoxic shock in mice consuming diets enriched with sesame seed oil supplemented with Quil-A saponin. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 114: 153-160.
- Guimaraes et al., (2013), Sesame and flaxseed oil: nutritional quality and effects on serum lipids and glucose in rats, Food Science and Technology, 33(1): 209-217.
- Matsumura Y, Kita S, Tanida Y, Taguchi Y, Morimoto S, et al. (1998) Antihypertensive effect of sesamin. III. Protection against development and maintenance of hypertension in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biol Pharm Bull 21: 469-473.
- Nagendra et al., (2012), A Review on Nutritional and Nutraceutical Properties of Sesame, Journal of Nutr Food Sci 2:127. doi:10.4172/2155-9600.1000127
- Pixabay (2018), Images from https://pixabay.com/
- Sadat et al., (2013), Effects of sesame seed supplementation on clinical signs and symptoms in patients with knee osteoarthritis, International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp.578-582.
- Singh et al., (2016), Benefits And Nutritive Value Of Sesame Seed, International Journal of Recent Scientific Research Vol. 7, Issue, 9, pp. 13245-13247.
- Wilbur et al., (2011), Amended Safety Assessment of Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Sesame Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil Unsaponifiables, and Sodium Sesameseedate, International Journal of Toxicology 30(Supplement 1) 40S-53S.

Subscribe to Global Food Book's email list and get a FREE eBook.

Privacy Policy: We dislike SPAM E-Mail. We pledge to keep your email safe.