The precise origin of the species is not known, although its closest relatives occur in Africa. It is widely naturalised in tropical regions around the world and is cultivated for its edible seeds. Sesame seeds may be the oldest condiment known to man dating back to as early as 1600 BC.
Description of Sesame seed :
It is an annual plant growing to 50-100 cm tall with opposite leaves 4-14 cm long with an entire margin. The flowers are white to purple, tubular, 3-5 cm long with a four-lobed mouth.
Medium with a distinctive sweet, nutty sesame scent.
: Sesame seed oil has various chemical compounds that include phenolic antioxidants, sesamol (3,4-methylenedioxyphenol) and sesaminol.
: It is extracted by cold pressing of seeds.
Sesame oil is used for massage and health treatments of the body in the ancient Indian ayurvedic system. Sesame seed oil is said to remove wrinkles when applied to the skin in a facial massage. Sesame Oil is also used in holistic preparations for everything from treating infections to stimulating brain activity.
Sesame oil rubbed on the skin may soothe a minor burn or sunburn as well as help in the healing process. It stimulates blood circulation and benefit the nervous system. Sesame oil is a pharmaceutic aid used as a solvent for intramuscular injections and has nutritive, demulcent and emollient properties and has been used as a laxative. The oil was used during the 4th century by the Chinese as a remedy for toothaches and gum disease. Sesame oil is known to reduce cholesterol due to the high polyunsaturated fat content in the oil. Other uses include the treatment of blurred vision, dizziness and headaches. The Indians have used sesame oil as an antibacterial mouthwash, to relieve anxiety and insomnia. A recent clinical trial proved that sesame oil was significantly more effective for treating nasal mucosa dryness due to a dry winter climate than isotonic sodium chloride solution. In addition, sesame oil contains large amounts of linoleate in triglyceride form which selectively inhibited malignant melanoma growth.
It is also used in manufacturing paints, lubricants and resins.
Sesame is used widely in food additives. It is used as a whole in cooking for its rich nutty flavour. It is used as a source of cooking oil. Sesame seeds are sometimes added to breads, including baegel and the top of hamburgers and buns. Sesame seeds are baked into crackers often in the form of sticks.
Sesame seeds can be made into a paste called tahini (used in various ways, including in hummus and a confectionary called halvah. It is preferred in cooking in India as it is cholestrol free. It is also very popular in Korean cuisine, used to marinate meat and vegetables. Sesame seeds are also sprinkled onto some sushi style foods.
It is also used in South Eastern dishes, such as dim sum dish.
Ground and processed, they can also be used in sweet confections. Whole seeds are found in many salads and baked snacks as well. Sesame is a fairly high-value food crop, being harvested either for the whole seed used in baking or for cooking-oil extraction. As a "whole-seed condiment" it primarily is produced and used in the U.S. for baked goods and as a snack food ingredient.
Cosmetics and Toiletries:
Sesame Oil is popular in cosmetics as a natural moisturizer. Similarly, it is a good choice for
massage therapists. Sesame oil can be employed as a substitute for olive oil in making liniments, ointments and plasters. It has been traditionally used in topical preparations in the regional traditional medicines of India, North Africa and East Asia.
In the cosmetic field, sesame oil is used as a base in developing perfumes. African people have used sesame to prepare perfumes and cologne. Myristic acid is used as an ingredient in cosmetics. Sesamin has bactericide and insecticide activities plus it also acts as an antioxidant. It is also used as a synergist for pyrethrum insecticides. Sesame oil is used as a solvent, oleaginous vehicle for drugs, skin softener, and used in the manufacture of margarine and soaps.
Sesame seed oil has few roles in indutrial applications also like manufacturing of lubricants, paints, inks, adhesives, plastics etc. It is used in manufacturing the following:
- Dimer acid
- Alkyd resins
- Ricinoleic acid
- Thixotropic agents