The prevalence Sesame Oil in the Medicinal World: Across various Cultures
Were the ancients smarter than us?
Seems they were. The most renowned ayurvedic practitioner of the ancient times, Sushruta (600 BCE) affirms the necessities of preventive medicine or hygiene in everyday life as against curative procedures that we swear by today. His views have been reverberated in treaties composed by wise men from different nations – Arabia, China, Africa etc.
Natural ingredients in conventional medicaments
One would find it interesting to know that healers of the bygone era always looked upon nature as a vast resource to draw their inspiration from. Thus, the first medicines made by man were taken from plants – leaves, roots, flowers, seeds etc. Eventually, the art of extracting oil from plant parts was discovered and hence we were blessed with herbal oils with immense therapeutic properties.
Uncovering the secret of sesame
Archeologists have found evidences of the cultivation of sesame seeds by the Indus Valley people. These ingenious people cultivated the crop as it was extremely resistant to harsh weather conditions. This quality earned it the nickname of “Queen of Oilseeds”. This was thus the main oil crop of this civilization and they even exported it to other nations. Thus, we Indians can take a lot of pride in sharing this magical oil with the world.
Introduced as “Til” in Ayurveda
Do you know that ancient texts like Charaka Samhita and Susrut Samhita sheds light on the enormous possibilities of sesame oil in the treatment of various diseases and maintaining a healthy body? The extraordinary anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and detoxifying properties of this oil alongside its long shelf life makes it serve as an excellent base for numerous herbal preparations.
Some benefits of sesame oil as underlined in medical treaties of Ayurveda
- Improves skin and hair
- Provide pain relief
- Relaxes body and mind
- Strengthens bones
- Promotes circulation etc
Sesame reveals itself in the Arab world
Historical evidences prove that sesame reached the Tigris-Euphrates crescent during the Bronze Age, via the Malabar Coast. From there it spread across the Arab world and was considered so important that Islamic rules made it mandatory that Zakah (donation) was to be given on its harvest. Soon, the healing properties of “assimisimi” were realized and physicians started using this oil to cure different ailments. When administered in proper dosage, it detoxifies the body, enhances the absorption of food in the intestines and also eases defecation. Its role in increasing fertility, relieving ear pain, curing cough were also documented in medical journals of that era.
While in Africa
Excavation of archaeological sites reveals that Egyptians initially made use of sesame oil to light lamps and also in the embalming process. Later on the therapeutic properties of this incredible oil were realized and it was widely used in treatment of various ailments. Medicines made from sesame oil were administered to patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases, neuralgia and rheumatism. The antimicrobial property of a concoction of resins boiled in sesame oil was effectively used in treating fevers caused by parasitic flatworms in Tanzania.
Via the silk route to China
Many contradictory theories exist about the origin of sesame in China. However, in one of China’s earliest books “Bei Tang Shu Chao” written about 1600 years ago, the use of sesame oil – “Ma You” has been mentioned. The Chinese philosophy centers on the coordination between Yin and Yang. Sesame oil has traditionally been used as a Yin tonic owing to its sweetness, cooling effect and ability to detoxify the body. The anti-inflammatory property of this oil was also recognized by native healers who prescribed it for patients suffering from menstrual pains, swollen joints, toothaches caused by gum inflammation, bruises etc.
In the present scenario
Today this fantastic oil has reached all corners of the world, though Asia and Africa retain the title of the fastest – developing market for sesame oil. So what are you waiting for? Get your bottle of this magic oil and make your family a healthier one.