Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.
History Of Sesame
Latin Name: Sesamum indicum
Sesame seeds are also known as Gingelly seeds. In India, they are called til.
The sesame plant is a very hardy and drought-resistant plant, it can thrive well where other crops do not. It is therefore rightly called a "survivor crop".
Sesame is the oldest oilseed plant known to us being grown for over 5000 years. The seeds have the highest oil content found in any other seed. The seed has a nutty flavour.
Sesame is native to India and spread to the rest of Asia, the Middle East and Africa from here. The seeds were brought to the US from Africa in the late 17th century.
India, China and Mexico are the largest producers of sesame seeds.
Sesame Plant and Flower
About The Sesame Plant
The plant reaches 4 to 5 feet in height. The flowers are tubular with colours ranging from white, pink, yellow, blue to purple depending on the variety.
The seeds are small, ovate and flat being thinner at the eye than the other end. They are so small that each pod contains up to 100 seeds. The colour of the seeds varies from off white, tan, brown, red, grey to black depending on the plant variety.
The root is well developed and this is one of the reasons the plant is very drought resistant.
The fruit is dehiscent and burst open at maturity to release the seeds. Sesame oil is very resistant to rancidity.
Til or sesame is a strength promoting food of the winter season. However, it should not be consumed by pregnant women as it can cause miscarriage.
The black sesame seeds are the best. Til is good for hair, cleanses the skin, increases mother's milk and is excellent brain food.
Uses Of Sesame Seeds
The seeds are mainly used as food and to extract sesame oil. The oil is used for consumption as well as has many other applications.
The oil extracted sesame meal is used in poultry and livestock feed.
As a food, the seeds are added to bread, bagels, cakes etc. It is also used in various cuisines of Korea, China, Greece, Middle East, USA, East Africa, West Indies, Mexico, other Asian countries including India. In Japan sesame is used in salads and baked snacks.
In India, black and white sesame seeds are used in products like Pinni, til Gachak, til Laddoo etc. Sesame seeds are the main ingredient in Tahini, baba ganoush and halvah. Hummus is a popular spread containing tahini.
Sesame oil is used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products like perfumes, soaps, topical oils, sunscreens, massage oils, skin oils and food products like granola bars, crackers, cookies, spreads etc.
Creative Confectionery With Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are :
- Rich in protein about 18 grams/100 grams delivering about 32% of RDA.
- High in energy.
- Excellent source of the minerals manganese, iron, copper and good source of zinc and calcium.
- Very rich source of folic acid, niacin, B1, B6, B2 vitamins.
- Sesamin and sesamolin - 2 unique substances. They are lignans and are very healthy fibres. They act as antioxidants.
- Extremely rich in oil content. The seeds have about 50% oil content. This oil has about 47% oleic & 39% linoleic acids.
- Rich in omega 6 fatty acids.
Sesame Seeds Nutritional Value
|Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum), whole, dried,|
Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Some Sesame Food Products
Health Benefits Of Sesame Seeds
- They are high energy food and especially useful to combat the cold weather.
- The omega 3 fatty acids lower LDL and increase HDL cholesterol. It thus helps in preventing atherosclerosis and stroke.
- The good levels of protein help in proper growth of children.
- The many phenolic antioxidants especially sesamol and sesaminol check the damaging activity of the free radicals.
- High folic acid levels prevent neural tube defects in the growing foetus in pregnant women.
- High levels of niacin reduce anxiety and reduce LDL cholesterol.
- The calcium and zinc levels enable in increasing bone strength and density thus prevent osteoporosis, colon cancer, migraine headaches, reduce pre-menopausal symptoms.
- Magnesium is useful in controlling asthma, lowering high blood pressure, prevents blood vessel spasms in migraine and helps in getting better sleep especially in women who are in menopause.
- The high copper levels reduce pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory action. It also keeps the muscles and ligaments elastic thus benefiting the blood vessels and joints.
Some Uses Of Sesame In Specific Health Conditions
- For Rough skin
Massage sesame oil to make skin softer and smoother.
- For Constipation
~ Eat 60 grams of til/sesame after adding some sugar to relieve constipation.
~ A gruel (khichdi) made of.til/sesame, rice and split green gram (moong dal) cure constipation.
~ Eat 60 grams of black sesame seeds and then drink cold water. It cures non-bleeding piles.
~Eat the above amount of black sesame with yoghurt to cure bleeding piles.
~ Apply sesame oil on haemorrhoids regularly for relief.
~ Those who suffer from piles should eat a mixture of black sesame, butter and candy sugar. Mix 1 tsp of each. and take it early every morning.
If there is bleeding, take the above mixture 3 times a day,
- Bleeding Piles
Soak 50 grams black sesame seeds in as much water as the seeds can absorb. Keep soaked for 1/2 hour and then grind them. Add 1 tsp butter, 2 tsp ground candy sugar. This is one dose.
Eat morning and evening. It stops bleeding.
- For Calcium
50 grams of sesame provides the daily requirement of calcium.
- As A Strength Provider
Sesame has protein. The brain needs lecithin for its development and sesame has lots of it. Sesame strengthens the muscles, sinews and nerves. It also has a lot of B complex vitamins.
~ Take til and jaggery in equal quantities and make laddoos. Eat 1 laddoo in the morning and 1 laddoo in the evening. Eat it with milk.
It improves strength, reduces mental weakness and reduces stress. Those who do hard physical labour will benefit much from consuming this. It also delays ageing.
- For Cough
For dry cough due to cold, take 4 tsp each of sesame seeds and candy sugar. Add 200 ml water to this. Boil this mixture till water is reduced to half. Drink this three times a day.
- For Burns
Grind sesame with water into a fine paste. Apply on the burnt area for relief.
- For Vata Problems (Excessive Wind In The Body)
Massage with sesame oil benefits in diseases due to excess of wind in the body.
- For Sprains
Grind some deoiled sesame. Add some water. Make a paste and tie this warm paste on the site of the sprain. It relieves pain.
- For Excess Urination
Eat til laddoos twice a day, in the morning and evening. It normalizes urine output.
- For Bed Wetting
- For Hair
Those who have grey hair, suffer from hair loss and baldness should consume sesame daily. It also makes long, black and soft.
- For Dandruff
Massage the hair with sesame oil. After 30 minutes wring a towel in hot water and tie it around the head. Repeat when it cools. Do this for 5 minutes. Then wash hair with cold water.
It removes dandruff.
- For Strong Teeth
Eat 60 grams black sesame seeds early in the morning. Chew them well. Do not add sugar or jaggery. Then drink 1 glass cold water. Repeat this at night if you wish.
This strengthens teeth and makes the body lustrous too.
- To Increase Immunity
In winter, consume 2 tsp sesame seeds every day for 1 to 2 months. or eat til laddoos daily. Also, massage with sesame oil daily. It keeps one healthy.
Sesame Seed Allergies
Some people can develop allergic symptoms like itching, hives and dermatitis or abdominal pains, vomiting, swelling of lips, throat, breathing difficulty, chest congestion or possible death.
Those sensitive should avoid products containing sesame. Also, those allergic to walnuts,
peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews have more chances of being allergic to sesame.
This allergy is either due to a specific protein, Ses i 6 or Ses i 7, in all these foods or the allergy may be due to proteins like oleosins, which are present in many nuts & seeds.
The allergy may also spread through contaminated processing shared equipment, though the actual product may be free of sesame or its components that cause allergy.
Sesame And Oxalates
The hulls of sesame seeds contain oxalates. hulls contain calcium in the form of calcium oxalate.
Therefore, products made with the hulls of sesame seeds will have more oxalates than one without. Normally, products labels do not indicate whether hulls have been removed or not.
Products that made from unhulled seeds are darker and bitter than those without. A colour check and taste enquiry should be made. This issue of oxalates might be of concern to those who are supposed to avoid them due to health reasons.
Hence, the mention.
Some More Info On Sesame
- Sesame: History and Uses
Sesame has long been associated with magical powers. It was the "password" to great treasures in the story of Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves. It's also pretty magical in cookery with lots of uses in sweet & savoury dishes. Sesame seed paste (tahin
- How to Grow Sesame Seed Plants from Shop Bought Sesame Seeds
Have you ever wondered how to grow sesame seed plants from shop bought sesame seeds? It is good to know they will grow, and even better to know what to expect and how to take care of sesame plants.