Sesame Seeds – Benefits, Uses, Medicinal Importance and Side Effects
Sesame is one of the most widely used ingredients in Hindu culture in India. The scientific name of the sesame seed is – ‘Sesamum indicium’. Sesame is an oily grain rich in medicinal properties and health benefits. It is one of the oldest agricultural crops in India. During the excavations of the ancient civilization of Harappa, the remains of sesame fields were found. Sesame plants are branched and grow up to the height of 2-6 feet. The flowers are white and pink. Sesame seeds are usually available in two colors, such as black, and white. Sesame seed are widely used in Cooking.
Distribution and Cultivation Process of Sesame Seeds
Sesame is widely grown in almost all parts of the world. It is mainly grown in the Tropical, Sub-Tropical and South Temperate regions. Sesame is cultivated to a lesser extent in almost all regions of India. It is widely grown in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Sandy loam soil with a good drainage system is suitable for sesame cultivation. For sesame cultivation, the land should be plowing and prepared well for the seedlings. The best time to sow seeds is July-August. About 500-600gm of seeds can be sown per ¼ hectare of land. There should be a spacing of about 30 cm between rows and about 15 cm between the plants. The crop can be harvested in October-November. According to the recommendations of the scientists involved in agriculture and the Center for Agriculture, the cultivation the use of compost, organic fertilizers is likely to increase production.
Important elements of Sesame Seeds
Sesame is a plant with medicinal properties as mentioned earlier. Calcium, Iron, Iodine, Zinc, Cobalt, Molybdenum, Nickel etc. are some of the essential elements present in it.
Vitamins that are present in sesame oil are- Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Sesame seed are rich in a protein called globulin. It also contains antioxidants, phytonutrients, and flavonoids. These elements are essential for keeping our bodies healthy and strong.
Medicinal Benefits of Sesame Seeds
The elements carried by sesame seeds have benefits for our health. These elements help the body to fight against many diseases. Following are some of the medicinal properties of sesame seed-
- The protein in sesame seeds provides energy to our body and helps in growth of the body.
- Calcium, Potassium, Zinc etc. present in sesame seeds strengthens bones, skin, hair and other organs.
- Calcium and zinc in sesame seed help in curing the problem of osteoporosis.
- It can also be used as an anti-diabetic agent. The presence of magnesium in sesame seeds helps in controlling the amount of glucose in the blood.
- Magnesium in sesame seeds plays an important role in preventing many other diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and many more.
- Fiber in sesame seeds helps in curing constipation.
- The oil made from sesame seed contains an amino acid called trypsin which releases a hormone called serotonin. These hormones help to alleviate the problems of Mental Exhaustion, Stress etc.
- This is an essential food item for patients suffering from anemia due to high iron content in white sesame seeds.
- The benefits of sesame can be seen in the case of lungs. The presence of magnesium in sesame seeds helps in reducing the production of a type of chemical called histamine. Excessive production of histamine weakens the lung muscles.
- Sesame’s Fatty Acid and Oleic Acid help in lowering the bad cholesterol. Increased levels of bad cholesterol in our body also increases the risk of heart failure, stroke, etc.
- Sesame plays an important role in maintaining the balance of hormones in our body.
- Copper in sesame relieves our body from arthritis to some extent.
- Sesame acts as an anti-cancer agent due to the presence of anti-cancer compounds called Magnesium Fitrate and various antioxidant compounds in it.
- Sesame seed are beneficial for the development of the fetus and for pregnant women.
- Sesame seeds can be used as a skin beautifier for the presence of omega fatty acids in it. Due to the antioxidant properties of sesame seed, it greatly reduces premature aging of the skin.
Practical Aspects of Sesame Seeds
It is very important for our health to take a certain amount of sesame seeds, noticing its qualities. The following is how we can use sesame seeds-
- Sesame seeds as Diet:
Sesame seeds can be washed or lightly fried and eaten with rice. If it is difficult to eat sesame seed properly, it can be mixed with salad, vegetables, or spices. It is better to eat sesame seed in small quantities every day.
- Sesame with Milk:
About one cup of sesame seed should be soaked in two cups of water overnight. The next day, the soaked sesame seeds can be ground into a paste and mixed with a glass of milk.
- Sesame oil as an oil:
Take 2-3 teaspoons of sesame oil in your mouth and rinse/gargle with it for 5 minutes to get rid of toothache and mouth sores. In addition, oil made from sesame can be used for cooking purposes to cure various diseases. On the other hand, while massaging, take 1-2 teaspoons of oil and apply.
- Sesame Capsule:
There are many sesame capsules available in the market today. This capsule should be taken according to the doctor’s advice. Generally, it should be taken twice a day in the morning and evening.
- Sesame Powder:
Dry sesame can be finely ground and stored to use later. It is usually eaten with half a teaspoon to one teaspoon of honey.
- Sesame paste:
Take 1-2 teaspoons of sesame paste. Apply on the skin by mixing honey and rose water in equal proportions of ground sesame. It should be used twice a week to prevent various skin diseases.
- Sesame oil for hair:
Sesame has popularly known benefits for hair health. Mix two teaspoons of sesame oil in two teaspoons of Aloe Vera gel and heat it for 1-2 minutes and let it cool to apply. After that it can be used as hair oil.
Harmful Aspects of Sesame Seeds
Sesame taken in a certain amount can be beneficial to our body just as it can be harmful to the body and in case of various types of diseases if consumed in excessive amounts. The following are some of the disadvantages of sesame –
- Sesame seeds and their oils can cause allergic reactions in people with allergy problems.
- People suffering from Indigestion, Stomach problems need to refrain from eating sesame seed. It can harm the body.
- Sesame seeds can regulate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. However, if the amount of sesame seed is too high, the amount of sugar in the blood can go down drastically. Therefore, such patients should be careful about the amount of sesame seed while taking it.
- Pregnant women should refrain from eating sesame seed. The oil helps in the growth of the uterus muscle which can lead to miscarriage.
- Sesame seeds contain a large amount of a chemical called oxalate. This oxalate helps to increase the amount of copper in the body. Excessive amounts of copper can cause kidney damage. Therefore, it is important for patients suffering from kidney disease to avoid sesame seed.
- Excessive and prolonged use of sesame seed can damage the bowel.
Sesame seeds have been used to protect our health since ancient times. In the past, sesame seed played a vital role in maintaining good health without any scientific research. Nowadays, due to the development of science, the quality of sesame has been scientifically analyzed and its use has been found to be beneficial in the treatments of various diseases. Our traditional sesame seed can have many benefits if they can be used scientifically in the future.
We hope that the information about sesame mentioned in this article will help you in many ways. Thank You!