Sesame seeds, which have been used as far back as 4,000 years ago in Babylon and Assyria, are nutritious and rich in vitamins.
The sesame oil (also known as sesame seed oil or gingelly oil) is derived from these seeds and is a very commonly used cooking and medicinal vegetable oil in Asia.
It contains healthy amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, has a unique flavor, and has high amounts of natural antioxidants. The oil can be found in stores with colors ranging anywhere from a light golden color to a dark brown color. Darker oils have a stronger taste of sesame seed, indicating that the seeds were toasted before being pressed for its oil. The sesame plant is mostly cultivated for its oil today.
Sesame Oil Benefits
The application of sesame oil as a healing agent spans back thousands of years to primitive tribes around Mesopotamia. Historical records, especially Vedic texts (ancient Hindu religious texts) contain records for the various uses and benefits of the sesame oil. It has been traditionally used as a natural cure for anxiety, depression and insomnia.
As an internal remedy, sesame oil is believed to increase blood circulation, thus helping to relieve fatigue and exhaustion. This is in part due to its anti-inflammatory nature, which can also help to relieve joint pain, respiratory problems, headaches and more. In addition to having strong anti-inflammatory benefits, sesame oil is also very high in natural antioxidants. These antioxidants help to diminish the effects of free radicals on your body, which can help to fight and prevent diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Other Sesame Oil Benefits
Although sesame oil has been used to make products such as soap and margarine, its relatively high cost makes it non-ideal for this type of use. Today, the most common use of sesame oil is in cooking, particularly throughout Asia and India. It is very popular in recipes in these areas due to the sesame flavor that it imparts on the food. Most Asian cuisines and delicacies today involve the use of sesame seeds or sesame oil. This light, nutty flavor serves to balance the flavors of the other ingredients in each recipe.
In addition to its culinary uses, sesame oil is also used in the medical industry for the creation of intramuscular injections. Sesame oil is very helpful in the treatment of muscular ailments, such as aches and cramps and can provide great relief when applied. When used for this purpose, it is simply massaged into the affected area where it is absorbed, creating a therapeutic, soothing effect. Furthermore, when used topically, sesame oil can help to moisturize and protect dry skin, relieving dryness, redness and irritation.
Sesame oil has long been used as a hair treatment. In the treatment of dandruff, for example, its effects are twofold. The oil relieves the irritation on your scalp while killing off any fungus that might possibly be causing it. When used regularly, sesame oil can also help to create a protective layer on your scalp, which can help in preventing irritation from the sun, chlorine and other harsh substances. Most people use it today as a sort of conditioner that can help reduce stress and anxiety while nourishing the hair and increasing its natural volume and shine.
As with most vegetable oils, sesame oil is seen as a healthy dietary oil and its use should be balanced out with the consumption of other oils. The sesame oil has a strong track record and has remained highly revered for its health and culinary benefits.