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April 6, 2009
Do you remember that brave Ali Baba from Arabic Nights, whose magic words “Open, Sesame!” gave him a way to an incredible wealth and happiness? Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) and especially sesame seed oil can really be compared to a huge cave filled with such priceless treasures as various nutrients, minerals, natural vitamins and lipids. That is why sesame seeds make a great contribution to modern popular cuisine by topping the sandwiches from McDonald’s, Burger King and other popular fast food brands.
Sesame seeds is a delicate spice that goes perfectly with salads, bakery, meat, fried vegetables and many other dishes. Sesame oil is used for healthy cooking by millions of women throughout the world. Sesame oil is a prefect choice for various massages as one of the most effective carrier essential oils. It can be blended with other essential oils and used for aromatherapy, adding some specific sweet nutty fragrance to the whole bouquet. One of the oldest spices known, sesame seeds were used by health care practitioners in India more than 5000 years ago. Ancient doctors of India used sesame seed oil for its unique abilities to unblock arteries.
Soon after, the benefits and specific taste of sesame seeds were discovered by the Chinese lovers of good food. In addition, the Chinese invented using black products of sesame seed burning to produce their ink. Therapeutic properties of sesame seeds were mentioned in the works of a famous Persian physician and philosopher Avicenna. Within some centuries, sesame seeds and sesame seed products arrived to the West Africa. Finally, in the seventeenth century African slaves delivered sesame seeds to the United States, and Americans incorporated this spice to their national cuisine quite fast. In the mid-1950s, sesame seed oil gained quite great popularity among the Americans as a cooking oil.
Sesame seeds contain really a great number of useful nutrients. 1 tablespoon of dried sesame seeds (9 g) is 53 kcal and contains 1.6 g proteins, 1.2 g dietary fiber, 2 g carbohydrate, 88 mg calcium, 57 mg phosphorus, 42 mg potassium, 32 mg magnesium, as well as zinc, selenium, copper, iron, sodium, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, phytosterols, and a variety of fatty and amino acids. Fattening acids in sesame oil are especially beneficial for our health in case if the oil is used on a regular basis and in reasonable doses.
Sesame seed oil is known as a very powerful antioxidant. Also, it has very positive effects on skin, can open pores, refresh and make our skin look smoother. Since sesame seed oil is an important natural source of such mineral as copper, it has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for treating wounds and swellings, calming down sunburns and arthritis pains, etc.
Such natural elements as calcium and magnesium contribute in preventing various risks connected with our teeth and bones health, as well as help to strengthen our vessels and improve the function of our respiratory and vascular systems in general. According to the studies, fatty acids in sesame seed oil can assist in lowering our blood pressure and improving our metabolism. Recent researches showed that regular consumption of sesame seed oil can also help to lower the risks of having colon and skin cancer.
Using sesame seed oil is really effective, however, it is connected with certain risks for pregnant women and young children since there is no convincing scientific evidence on safety of long-term sesame oil consumption. However, sesame seed oil can be used externally with no serious limitations (except of the situations when people have allergic reactions on this oil). For example, it can be used for babies to protect their sensitive skin under the diaper against irritations caused by body wastes. Moms of young children and teenagers are recommended to use this oil to protect their children from possible colds and various bacteria.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.