Sesamum indicum seed oil has high stability due to the presence of high levels of natural antioxidants. Sesame oil has great therapeutic value. Both externally and internally. It is edible and used for medicinal purpose since Vedic period. The word Taila is derived from its Sanskrit name Tila.
Sesame is one of the oldest oil crop that is cultivated in various parts of the world. In India, it is cultivated in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. Sesame is an annual crop that attain height between 1.6 and 3.3 ft. Its seeds are small in size, oval in shape and slightly flattened. These are rich in oil and contains about 35 - 57% oil depending on variety. For oil extraction purpose, roasted and unroasted seeds are used. In India, traditional way to extract oil from seed is using Ghani. Ghani is big traditional pestle and mortar is driven by bullocks. Unroasted clean and dehulled seeds are milled and filtered to get the oil. Commercially oil is extracted using cold hydraulic presses.
- Botanical name: Sesamum indicum
- Synonyms: S. mulayanum N. C. Nair, S. orientale L.
- Family: Pedaliaceae
- English: Sesame oil or Gingelly oil
- Ayurvedic: Til taila
- Siddha: Nallennai, Nallenney
Composition of Sesame oil
There are many varieties of sesame viz. black, white, brown etc. So the sesame oil composition differs depending on variety, size, origin, colour of seed.
This oil has less than 20% saturated fatty acid, mainly palmitic (7.9-12%) and stearic (4.8-6.1%) acids. Oleic acid (35-50%) and linoleic acid (35-50%) constitute more than 80% of the total fatty acids in sesame oil.
Composition of Fatty Acids in Sesame Oil
Nutritional Value per 100 gm
1.40 mg (9%)
13.6 µg (13%)
Health benefits of Til Taila or Sesame oil
In Ayurveda, Til or sesame oil is considered best among all vegetable oils. For medicinal purpose black til oil is mainly recommended. Good quality sesame oil can be used both internally and externally. It is one of the best oil that can be applied on Vata Vyadhis such as arthritis, rheumatism, joint swelling and similar conditions. Its internal use is great for improving health, iron level, controlling cholesterol, managing heart diseases, and improving strength. As per Ayurveda, it is bitter (Rasa: tiktha), heavy, oily, easily penetrable (Guna: guru, snigdha, sookshma), hot (Virya: ushna), digestive and gives strength. Sesame oil decreases vata and increases pitta. It gives strength, nutrition, intelligence, digestive power, helps the skin, detoxifies uterus, and has antioxidant properties.
- This oil can be used for salad dressing, cooking and massaging. Its external massage is good for skin, hair and joints.
- Sesame oil or Til oil is very good for skin. It is an antioxidant and a good moisturiser. For skin dryness it is an excellent medicine.
- This oil is used for body massage as it contains vitamin E and penetrates skin easily.
- This oil is good for scalp and foot massage. Its regular application in hairs cures dryness and prevents premature hair greying. It is also applied on scalp in headaches and migraine.
- This oil is rich in minerals (copper, calcium, zinc, iron). Calcium and zinc are good for bones. Copper gives relief in arthritis, gout. Magnesium supports respiratory and vascular health. Its oral consumption improves bone health.
- This oil is good for heart. It can be used as cooking oil to reduce high blood pressure and to lower the amount of medication needed to control hypertension. It increases good cholesterol and decreases bad cholesterol.
- This oil is antioxidant and its oral use helps to prevent free radical damage of cells. Free radicle damage of cells causes many types of diseases.
- This oil reduces stress, depression and anxiety on consumption. It also strengthens nerve and bones due to presence of minerals. It improves blood circulation on external and internal use.
- Sesame oil has purgative action. It cures constipation.
Medicinal Uses of Sesame oil
Oral administration of sesame oil give protection against many diseases. These health beneficial effects are due to presence of Alkaloid, Saponin, Flavonoid, Tannin, Phenols and Minerals. Here is given how these phytochemical affects health in positive way.
- Terpenoid presence gives this oil antibacterial and anti-diabetic properties. Terpenoid are also helpful in reducing blood sugar and blood pressure.
- Alkaloids are central nervous system stimulants, topical anaesthetics in ophthalmology, powerful pain relievers and have anti-itch action.
- Flavonoids and phenols give it antioxidant properties. Due to presence of phenols and flavonoids in this oil, it is good for heart and helpful in managing heart diseases. Flavonoids give protection against diseases by contributing to the total antioxidant defence system of the human body.
- Sesame oil contains saponins which are anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and immunity booster. These are helpful in lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol. Saponins stimulate antibody production and induce the response of white blood cells to fight infections. Saponins are also responsible for reducing cholesterol levels by forming complexes with cholesterol and bile acids. This prevent cholesterol absorption in small intestine, which lowers the cholesterol level in the blood and liver.
- Tannin present in oil make it antibacterial, antiviral, and astringent.
- Sesame oil also contains minerals viz. zinc, iron, potassium, sodium, copper, lead and manganese. The concentration is iron is highest among the various mineral present in oil. This makes sesame oil good source of iron. After iron, zinc is the most abundant mineral. This oil can be taken as zinc, copper and manganese supplement. The mineral sodium and potassium are present in least amount.
Sesame oil has laxative properties. So it should not be used during diarrhoea or loose motion. It should not be used by a person who suffers from sesame seed allergy.