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Sesame Seeds: An Ancient Food With Therapeutic Uses

Sesame seeds are popular for culinary preparations, but they can have a host of benefits as well. Discover interesting facts about these seeds, as well as their many uses.

What are sesame seeds?

Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) are some of the oldest plants cultivated, with a history dating back thousands of years in various cultures.1 Hindus viewed sesame seeds as a symbol of immortality, while Egyptians and Persians used them as flour. Today, they’re used for cooking or as a condiment, with China, India and Japan being the most prominent users of sesame as an oil.2

Sesame seeds may have health benefits

Sesame seeds are mainly harvested for their oil, but both the seeds and oil may be useful in various therapeutic applications. Research has found that sesame may help:

  • Manage pain better — A study showed that patients affected with knee osteoarthritis who took sesame seeds for two months experienced fewer symptoms.3
  • Boost wound recovery — The oil in sesame seeds may help speed up skin healing upon topical application.4
  • Increase antioxidant levels — Intake of sesame seeds may help boost the amount of enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants running through your system, which may help combat oxidative stress caused by diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, according to the Journal of Medicinal Food.5
  • Manage hypertension — Research published in Nutrition Journal noted that black sesame (a variety of sesame seed) exhibited antihypertensive effects.6

Sesame seeds are crucial for industrial purposes as well. It’s used for preparing perfumes, cologne and cosmetic products. It’s even added to paints and lubricants, as well as a key ingredient to biodiesel.7

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