The Amazing Curative Properties of Sesame

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Revered in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for over 2,000 years for its curative powers, sesame seed has many proven healing abilities--with science always finding more.

Officially known as Sesamum indicumsesame is an annual that typically grows upwards of six feet, producing oblong leaves and small seed pods. 

Revered in the Middle East for over 2000 years for its magical and medicinal powers, the oil of the sesame seed is actually quite nutritious, rich in protein, vitamins A and E (valuable antioxidants), most B vitamins (except B12 and folic acid), abundant quantities of zinc, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, as well as healthy doses of essential amino acids. 

Additionally, sesame seeds contain two unique substances, sesamin and sesamolin, chemicals belonging to a special group of beneficial fibers called lignans, which greatly contribute to their far-reaching curative abilities.

Sesame seeds range in color from white to yellow, red to blue, and purple to black, each varying in nutritional content and practical use.  While white sesame is used to treat calcium deficiency, and red for diets lacking iron, it is the black which yields the oil best suited for medicinal purposes.

Often mixed with milk, the oil of the black sesame seed has long been used as a skin softening and tightening agent, and is used to treat common skin pathogens such as staphylococcus and streptococcus, as well as athlete’s foot fungus.  It has also proven helpful for sufferers of psoriasis and has been used successfully to kill lice infestations in children. 

Used on babies, sesame oil can protect tender bottoms, and swabbed in the nose of school-age children can protect against airborne viruses and bacteria.  Teens can use black sesame seed oil to help control acne eruptions and neutralize the toxins which develop both on the skin’s surface and in the pores, while adults can benefit from its ability to neutralize oxygen radicals when applied to the skin before and after radiation treatments. 

Like few oils can, sesame seed oil is said to penetrate to the very marrow of the bone, gathering oil-soluble toxins along the way, taking them into the blood stream to be eliminated by the body as waste.  Sesame oil also neutralizes free radicals, thought to be one of the major causes of aging.

Internally, sesame oil is often prepared with milk and jaggery (sugar cane) and given to treat anemia, dysentery and diarrhea, as well as respiratory and menstrual disorders. 

In that sesame seeds are an excellent source of phytosterols (plant compounds that have a chemical structure similar to cholesterol), when introduced to the body in sufficient amounts, they can reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response, and decrease the risk of certain cancers.  According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, sesame seeds contain one of the he highest phytosterol content of any plant.

As a source of copper and calcium, just a quarter cup of sesame seeds provides the body with 74 percent of the recommended daily allowance of copper, 31 percent of magnesium, and 35 percent of calcium.  This is very valuable information in that copper is known to reduce inflammation and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, playing an important role in the activity of lysyl oxidase, an enzyme that links collagen and elastin, which provide strength and elasticity in blood vessels, bones, and joints.  Additionally, sesame oil has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties, and is a natural anti-inflammatory agent.

Ayurvedic physicians in Holland use sesame oil to treat chronic diseases such as hepatitis, diabetes, and migraine headaches, while in India, sesame oil is currently being studied to see if it is effective in unblocking arteries. 

In an experiment at the Maharishi International College in Fairfield, Iowa, students rinsed their mouths with sesame oil, resulting in an 85 percent reduction in the bacteria which causes gingivitis.  Sesame seed oil can even be used as nose drops for chronic sinusitis and as a throat gargle to kill strep and help inhibit bacteria.

Current studies in sesame oil include possible invetro treatment to stop the growth of malignant melanoma cells, and the growth of human colon cancer cells.

References:

Maharishi International College

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Vegparadise.com

Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal, Reader's Digest

images via wikipedia.org except white seeds via mixmygranola.com

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James R. Coffey

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