The sesame (Sesamun indicum) is a well known oilseed. It is one of the oldest crops and was identified at the excavations in Harrappa dating to 2000 BC. The seeds can be black, red or white. Even though the husk is most nutritious, it is abrasive to the intestine and cannot be eaten. But the seeds are healthy too. The black sesame, it is said, is best suited for medicinal purposes, and has many health benefits. Sesame seeds contain vitamins including vitamin A, thiamin, niacin and vitamin B6.
Health benefits of Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are a very good source of copper, magnesium, calcium and iron. It also contains sesamin and sesamolin, which belong to a special group of fibres called the lignans, which help to lower cholesterol in humans. Sesamin is said to protect the liver from oxidative damage. Sesame seeds are also a good source of zinc, B1 vitamin and dietary fibres.
Rich in magnesium
Sesame seeds are a good source of magnesium and magnesium helps to prevent airway spasm in asthma patients. It also helps to lower blood pressure, thus helping to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. It also prevents the blood vessel spasms that trigger migrane attacks.
A good source of calcium
Sesame seeds are a very good source of calcium. Calcium is needed to prevent bone loss that can occur due to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is also needed to protect colon cells from damage and is very essential for women who are suffering from PMS.
High in phytosterols
As in the case of pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds also has a good amount of phytosterol, in fact it has the highest total phytosterol content (400-413 mg per 100 grams). Phytosterols are said to enhance immunity and protect against some forms of cancer.
Sesame health benefits for Arthritis
Since sesame seed is high in copper and zinc, it is highly anti-inflammatory and helps maintain bone mineral density in aging people. Copper helps to reduce joint pain and swelling in rheumatoid arthritis. Copper provides strength and elasticity to bones and joints.
Home remedies with sesame seeds
- Using sesame oil for a facial massage helps reduce dryness.
- Sesame seeds are a good home remedy for those with corn/calluses. Soak the feet in warm water for ten minutes. Dry the feet well and massage in some sesame seed oil. This will soften and soothe the skin. Soak once again in warm water and dab dry.
- Soak a tbsp of sesame seeds overnight and eat it along with the water it has been soaked in, in the morning. This is a preventive measure for joint pains in winter.
- Fry a tsp of cloves in sesame seed oil. Remove the cloves from the oil and powder them. Apply it on the affected tooth. This is natural remedy and acts as a gum massage.
- A poultice of sesame seeds can be applied externally to get relief from burns and scalds.
- Being rich in iron, it is a good tonic for anaemia. Soak sesame seeds in warm water for a few hours. Grind it and mix it in milk. Add jaggery and drink it.