Sesame is one of the earliest cultivated plants on Earth, while the beneficial uses of the miraculous oil, extracted from it, are endless. Sesame oil has gained extreme popularity throughout the past few years and not just because it's a relatively inexpensive product but also because of its exclusive health benefits.
Sesame oil is successfully used to prevent a number of diseases and conditions, it finds wide use in the culinary world (especially in the cuisines of Asian peoples), and last but not least is a valued beauty care product.
Benefits of Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is rich in substances that protect the body from diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis, as well as slowing the processes of cell aging. The high levels of lecithin make it a prized food for brain cells. Sesame oil is recommended for fatigue and depression, as well as general strengthening of the body.
Sesame oil is very common in the Eastern medicinal practices of Ayurveda. It is recommended for massages and for removing toxins from the body via mouth rinsing. It is thought that a heel massage with sesame oil before bed is an extremely effective treatment against insomnia.
According to numerous studies, sesame oil has favorable effects for people suffering from hypertension, it prevents inflammatory diseases, has antithrombotic properties, decreases the adverse effects of taking antibiotics.
Rinsing with sesame oil every morning protects against bad breath and tooth decay. Sesame oil also has beneficial effects for sore throat and bleeding gums. It is believed that regular rinsing prevents the formation of tartar.
Sesame oil has a laxative effect, which is why it's recommended for people suffering from constipation. Sesame seeds are beneficial for women in menopause because they contain a natural substitute for female sex hormones - phytoestrogen.
Choosing and Storing Sesame Oil
Sesame oil can be bought from specialty stores and its price isn't too high. It needs to be stored in a cool area, away from sunlight, but not in the fridge because it thickens and darkens at low temperatures.
The primary enemies of the oil are heat, light and air and if stored incorrectly it beings to turn rancid. It's best to use all of the oil within 3 months of opening the bottle.
Cooking with Sesame Oil
Sesame oil possesses a very distinct taste and aroma, making it a prized flavor enhancer for numerous dishes. The important thing is to use it in moderate amounts. It can be used in vegetable, fish and rice dishes.
One crucial fact to remember about sesame oil is that no matter how healthy it is it falls under the perishable cooking fats category. This means that it shouldn't be heat treated because it loses all of its beneficial properties that way.
Season dishes and salads immediately prior to serving them and you'll enjoy the taste and benefits of sesame oil in the best way possible.
This of course applies to cold-pressed sesame oil. Cooking with this type of oil is highly popular in Asian cuisine but remember that if you want to cook with it you have to buy light sesame oil. Its smoke point is 338°F (170 °C) - 410°F (210 °C).
Beauty with Sesame Oil
Besides very healthy, sesame oil also makes for a valuable beauty treatment product. It is irreplaceable when it comes to hair and skin beauty.
First off, sesame oil is very rich in vitamin E, making it an excellent sunscreen product. Sesame oil slows the aging of skin cells, has detoxifying and antibacterial effects, it even helps treat eczema and psoriasis. It's suitable for day-to-date use and can be added to homemade facial masks.
It's also suitable for direct skin massages. A light massage with the oil right after a shower makes the skin soft and beautiful. A few drops of the oil in a bath will help one's relaxation and cleansing.
When it comes to hair, sesame oil has numerous beneficial properties there as well. Directly applied to the hair roots, lightly rubbed in, it improves circulation and thereby helps hair grow faster.
Aside from the sun protecting properties it has on the skin, the oil plays the same type of role for the hair by forming a protective layer around the hair itself. Sesame oil helps against dandruff.
It can be used on its own or in combination with almond oil or other oils. Applying the oil along the length of the hair, especially the ends, is recommended for preventing hair frizz and split ends.
Dangers of Sesame Oil
As with any beneficial product, so too does sesame oil have its downsides. The oil improves blood clotting, which is why individuals suffering from thrombosis or hypercoagulation need to avoid taking it. It also shouldn't be used if suffering from kidney stones.