Teaching Tuesdays - Exotic Oils Cont.- Sesame Oil

We are now in the home stretch of the Exotic Oils postings. Today we will be exploring Sesame Oil, and, while great for cooking, there is so much more to this oil! In fact, it has been dubbed as the "Queen of Oils", thanks to all of its healthful benefits. 



Sesame seed oil has been used in western cultures for over 3000 years, and is perhaps best known as a common ingredient in Asian and East Indian cooking. But it's health benefits have begun to come to light in the recent decades, even though it has [also] been used for thousands of years as a popular alternative medical treatment in Ayurvedic and Oriental medicine. Today's research is proving what these peoples seem to have known all along, that, in addition to fatty acids and antioxidants, sesame oil contains vitamins and minerals which are a valuable addition to any health care routine.


Sesame oil is obtained from both raw sesame seeds and toasted sesame seeds, which is the stronger tasting, Asian style oil. There are also variations in the color of the oil. Cold-pressed sesame oil is pale yellow, while Indian sesame oil (gingelly or til oil) is golden, and East Asian sesame oils are commonly a dark brown color. This dark color and flavor are derived from the roasted/toasted seeds, and the cold pressed sesame oil also has a different flavor than the toasted oil, since it is produced directly from raw seeds, rather than toasted ones.
Sesame oil is traded in any of the forms described above, usually the cold-pressed sesame oil is available in Western health shops. Un-roasted (but not necessarily cold pressed) sesame oil is commonly used for cooking in the Middle East, and can often be found in their markets. In East Asian countries, different kinds of hot-pressed sesame oil are the preferred Sesame products, and they are quite flavorful, coming in seeds, oil and paste, which is also known as sesame butter. The Light sesame oil has a high smoke point, and is suitable for deep-frying, while the oil from the roasted seeds has a slightly lower smoke point, and is unsuitable for deep-frying. Instead it can be used for stir frying. East Asian cuisines often use the roasted sesame oil for seasoning. This oil is valued for its long shelf life, and in addition to its medicinal and food uses, sesame oil is also used in the manufacture of soap, paint and perfume. Botanically named Sesame indicum, the oil has a pleasant, nutty fragrance, and an enjoyable, distinctive, taste. With the un-roasted types having a more mild flavor..


Historically speaking, sesame oil has been used as an anti-inflammatory, an antiseptic, a pain reliever in various skin conditions, gum disease, and as a treatment for a variety of other illnesses. It has even been said to help restless sleepers from repeated waking up during the night, when massaged into the feet before bedtime. 


Modern science now proves that sesame oil is a powerful antioxidant and that it is high in polyunsaturated fats, as well as being an excellent source of vitamin E and various minerals. In fact, sesame oil has the fourth-highest concentration of polyunsaturated fats of any oil. 


Polyunsaturated fats are important for cell growth and development, and are especially beneficial to the heart. They are also thought to play an important role in the prevention of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and many other ailments. 


Sesame oil contains 75% of our recommended daily allowance of vitamin E, in just one ounce of its oil. It also contains sesaminol and sesamin, which help to increase the vitamin E activity within the body. Vitamin E is known to help reduce the risk of heart disease, and may even protect the body from cancer.


This oil also contains a high amount of [multiple forms of] B-complex vitamins. These vitamins promote the healthy development of several different systems in the human body. The particluar B vitamins in seasame oil affect our overall energy levels, skin, nerve and digestive health, overall growth and development, blood and immune system health, and even DNA and red blood cell health.


Additionally, many Proteins and Fats are also found in Sesame oil, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fats are high in omega-6, which can help prevent and treat multiple diseases. You will also find a high amount of amino acids, which build up proteins, and a large amount of minerals. Sesame oil contains calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium and zinc, all of which help to strengthen muscular and skeletal development.


Although the medicinal use of sesame oil is not currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, studies have demonstrated the clinical usefulness of this oil. In fact, in 2006,  the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine published a study where the Researchers concluded that consumption of sesame oil (45 days in a row, without other oil use) significantly lowered the blood pressure and body weight in the test subjects. However, there is no suggested dose of sesame oil, so it is suggested that consumption of the oil be done through food sources. This may pose an issue, as the American Heart Association advises that our polyunsaturated fat intake should not be more than 10% of our total caloric intake. And, since sesame oil is pretty high in overall calories, consuming large quantities of the oil is not advised either. Sesame oil, after several studies, has now been recognized for its benefits to lung and respiratory health, along with lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, aiding with the swelling and pain that accompanies arthritis, and even protection from skin and colon cancer. In overseas experiments, sesame oil is currently being used to treat some chronic disease processes, including hepatitis, diabetes and migraines. 

Sesame seed oil has natural antibacterial properties against common skin pathogens, such as staphylococcus and streptococcus, as well as common skin fungi, such as athlete's foot fungus. It is also naturally antiviral, and possesses an anti-inflammatory agent. Therefore, it has many first-aid type applications. When Used after sun or wind exposure, it calm the burns. It nourishes and feeds the scalp, controlling dry scalp dandruff,  and killing dandruff causing bacteria. It protects the skin from the effects of chlorine in swimming pool water. When used before and after radiation treatments, sesame seed oil helps to neutralize the flood of oxygen radicals, which such treatments cause. Sesame seed oil helps joints keep their flexibility, and is frequently used to soothe sore gums, treat athletes foot, nail fungus, and painful joints. As nose drops, sniffed back into the sinuses, sesame seed oil has reportedly cured chronic sinusitis. As a throat gargle, it kills strep and other common cold bacteria. Sesame oil penetrates into the skin quickly, and enters the blood stream through the capillaries and circulates. It penetrates through the tissues to the very marrow of the bone. The liver does not sweep sesame seed oil molecules from the blood, accepting those molecules as friendly. Thus it delivers all of this oils benefits throughout the entire body systems. 


Beauty wise, sesame seed oil is loved by masseurs and beauticians worldwide, due to its anti-wrinkle, antioxidant, softening, hydrating, nourishing and penetrating properties. It helps to tighten facial skin, particularly around the nose, controlling the usual enlargement of pores as the skin ages.  It also has the benefit of neutralizing oxygen radicals, one of the major causes of ageing, and it tightens the facial skin. Sesame is excellent for both oily and dry skin. It helps sufferers of psoriasis and other dry skin ailments.  It is quite handy for protecting baby bums against urine caused rashes when applied to the diaper area skin between changes, and it can also be used to gently remove cradle cap on a baby's head. It has been used to treat dandruff and successfully used to kill lice infestations in the hair of children. Sesame oil absorbs toxins from the skin, leaving it healthy, clean and soft. On top of everything else, it is also has natural ultraviolet ray blocking properties, so apply some before you venture outside. 


In soaps, because of its moisturizing abilities, this is a great addition. If you don't want to use it for superfatting, sesame oil will make a kind of soft bar, so don't use it over 10% in your other base oils.  



Despite sesame oil's high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (41%), it is the least prone of the cooking oils with high smoke points, to turn rancid when kept out in the open. This is due to the natural antioxidants, the high level of vitamin E, that is present in the oil.  As long as it is not exposed to extreme heat, it should last about one year without any specific storage precautions. 



You should be aware though, there does appear to be cross-reactivity between sesame allergens and peanut, rye, kiwi, poppy seed, and various tree nuts, such as hazelnut, black walnut, cashew, macadamia and pistachio nuts. Although the prevalence of sesame allergies in the USA is low, especially relative to peanut allergies, the severity of a sesame allergy should not be underestimated.
While pure oil is not usually allergenic because it does not typically contain the proteinaceous part of the offending plant, avoiding it is always safest, as oil purity cannot be guaranteed. Anyone allergic to sesame seeds should be cautious about using the oil.

*Remember that all references/bibliographies are listed by post date and title, just click on the Reference tab at the top of this page. 

1 comment:

Martin Luther said...

Hi,
so impressive postings,,Thanks for sharing,,
sesame products