Sesame seeds and sesame oil have been used as a medicine for thousands of years. According to Ayurveda, there is no better or more therapeutic oil than sesame. It has been documented as a food and medicine in ancient Egypt, Babylon, Rome and India.
Almost all Ayurvedic massage oils are a blend of sesame oil and a particular set of herbs. While the appreciation for these little seeds is minimal in the west, the amount of research on sesame and its oil may surprise you.
Here is a short review of just some of the research:
- Sesame oil supports healthy blood sugar levels and exhibits a synergistic effect with anti-diabetic medication in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (1).
- Sesame seed oil supports healthy circulation and is synergistic in hypertensive patients on either diuretics or beta-blockers (2).
- Oil pulling with sesame seed oil may reduce Streptococcus mutans which is linked to the production of plaque (3).
- Infant Health – Massage with sesame seed oil significantly supports normal growth in infants (4).
- Sesame oil consumption exerts a beneficial effect on endothelial function of the arteries (5).
- Sesamol supports healthy heart function (6).
- Sesame oil supports healthy cells and DNA that have had radiation exposure (7).
- Sesamol supports healthy mood and mental stability (8).
In Ayurveda, a healthy daily routine would include massaging the body with sesame oil, sniffing sesame oil into both nostrils, dripping it into the ears and swishing it in the mouth (oil pulling) and, during a detox, doing a sesame oil enema. While I do not expect you to do all of this, you might think twice next time before brushing those seemingly meaningless little sesame seeds off your bagel or bun.
1. Clin Nutr. 2011 Jun ;30(3):351-8. Epub 2010 Dec 16. PMID: 21163558
2. Yale J Biol Med. 2006 Mar;79(1):19-26. PMID: 17876372
3. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2008 Mar;26(1):12-7. PMID: 18408265
4. Indian J Med Res. 2000 Dec;112:212-7. PMID: 11247199
5. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2012 Jan 25. Epub 2012 Jan 25. PMID: 22345690
6. Redox Rep. 2010 ;15(1):36-42. PMID: 20196927
7. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2009 Sep ;28(2):192-7. Epub 2009 Apr 11. PMID: 21784002
8. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Apr ;214(4):819-28. Epub 2010 Nov 20. PMID: 21103863