Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is a flowering plant that is grown throughout the world and cultivated for its edible seeds. Sesame oil, a source of vitamin E, is derived from sesame seeds. There are many varieties of sesame oil that range in flavor and color. Sesame oil is used as cooking oil, in body massage, as a hair treatment, in food and drug manufacture, in various practices of worship, and as an industrial solvent. Sesame oil is also frequently used as a vehicle for oral and intravenous agents, and in folkloric medicine, sesame seeds have reportedly been used to treat various kinds of wounds.
Origin of sesame seeds is indistinct but it is believed that it is originated somewhere in India or China and then it reaches to the various part of the world. Sesame seeds are the oldest seeds known to the mankind. Since incident time, sesame seeds are used for the medicinal and culinary purpose and from which prized oil is extracted. The aroma and taste of sesame seed are mild and nutlike.
Sesame is now found in most of the tropical, subtropical, and southern temperate areas of the world. It thrives well on soil with natural reaction or acidic type. Sesame grows best in sandy well-drained soil. Saline or much sandy soils are not suitable for sesame cultivation.
Sesame is harvested in west Bengal, Southern and Western states of India. However, the state West Bengal, Gujarat and Rajasthan produces more than 60% of total production. Seeds are sowed in month of February or October and it matures after 110-130 days from sowing. Each plant contains 15-20 fruits and each fruit has 70-100 seeds.
Seeds are tiny, flat, shiny and egg-shaped.
Sesame seeds are available in greyish-white, brown or black color. Generally, sesame products presents in market are Natural sesame seed, hulled sesame seed, Toasted natural sesame seed, Toasted hulled sesame seed, and Roasted sesame powder.
NUMEROUS MEDICAL USES OF SESAME SEEDS
- Sesame contains two unique substances (sesamin and sesamolin) that are special fibers known as lignans. Helpful in reducing the cholesterol effect, prevents high blood pressure and increase the vitamin E supplies.
- Protects the liver from oxidative damage.
- Provides structure, strength and elasticity in blood vessels, bones and joints
- Help protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals
- Help prevent the bone loss that can occur as a result of menopause or certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Help prevent migraine headaches
- Important in a number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzyme systems
- Sources of dietary fat
- Used to treat numerous disorders including anxiety, insomnia, skin disorders (e.g., wounds, psoriasis),
- Helpful in sexual dysfunction (such as impotence) and tuberculosis
- Promote healthy liver function and prevent menopausal symptoms (such as vaginal dryness) in women
- Remedy for diarrhea, dysentery, cholera and gynecological disorders, and was used as a laxative.
Sesame seed are used in breads and bake products as well as in various food products for pleasant flavor. Sesame paste is added to sauces. Toasted sesame seeds are sprinkled on salads and various bake products. Sesame oil is used as a salad or cooking oil, ingredient in cosmetic products, pharmaceuticals, and lubricants. Press cake (product which remains after oil is expressed from sesame) is highly nutritious.