Sesame oil

Sesame oil

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Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil
Cooking oil
Cooking oil is purified fat of plant origin, which is usually liquid at room temperature ....

 in South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

, it is often used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

, Japanese
Japanese cuisine
Japanese cuisine has developed over the centuries as a result of many political and social changes throughout Japan. The cuisine eventually changed with the advent of the Medieval age which ushered in a shedding of elitism with the age of shogun rule...

, Korean, and to a lesser extent Southeast Asian cuisine.

The oil from the nutrient rich seed is popular in alternative medicine
Alternative medicine
Alternative medicine is any healing practice, "that does not fall within the realm of conventional medicine." It is based on historical or cultural traditions, rather than on scientific evidence....

 - from traditional massages and treatments
Shirodhara
Shirodhara is a form of Ayurveda medicine that involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead . It was developed by vaidyas in Kerala, India for use in sukhachikitsa and can be one of the steps involved in Panchakarma. The name comes from the Sanskrit words shiras 'head' and dhara 'flow'...

 to modern day fads
Oil pulling
Oil pulling or oil swishing, in alternative medicine, is a traditional Indian folk remedy that involves swishing oil in the mouth for claimed oral and systemic health benefits. It is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita where it is called Kavala Gandoosha / Kavala Graha...

. Ancient Indian medical system
Ayurveda
Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words , meaning "longevity", and , meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India,...

 perceives sesame oil to pacify stress related symptoms and on-going research indicates that the rich presence of anti-oxidants and poly-unsaturated fats in sesame oil could help in controlling blood pressure.

The oil is popular in Asia and is also one of the earliest known crop-based oil, but world-wide mass modern production continues to be limited even today due to the inefficient manual harvesting process required to extract the oil.

Composition


Sesame oil is composed of the following fatty acid
Fatty acid
In chemistry, especially biochemistry, a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid with a long unbranched aliphatic tail , which is either saturated or unsaturated. Most naturally occurring fatty acids have a chain of an even number of carbon atoms, from 4 to 28. Fatty acids are usually derived from...

s:
! Fatty acid !! Nomenclature !! Minimum !! Maximum
|-
| Palmitic
Palmitic acid
Palmitic acid, or hexadecanoic acid in IUPAC nomenclature, is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in animals and plants. Its molecular formula is CH314CO2H. As its name indicates, it is a major component of the oil from palm trees . Palmitate is a term for the salts and esters of...

 >
C16:0 7.0 % 12.0 %
|-
| Palmitoleic
Palmitoleic acid
Palmitoleic acid, or -9-hexadecenoic acid, is an omega-7 monounsaturated fatty acid with the formula CH35CH=CH7COOH that is a common constituent of the glycerides of human adipose tissue. It is present in all tissues, but generally found in higher concentrations in the liver...

 
C16:1 trace 0.5 %
|-
| Stearic
Stearic acid
Stearic acid is the saturated fatty acid with an 18 carbon chain and has the IUPAC name octadecanoic acid. It is a waxy solid, and its chemical formula is CH316CO2H. Its name comes from the Greek word στέαρ "stéatos", which means tallow. The salts and esters of stearic acid are called stearates...

 
C18:0 3.5 % 6.0 %
|-
| Oleic
Oleic acid
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in various animal and vegetable fats. It has the formula CH37CH=CH7COOH. It is an odorless, colourless oil, although commercial samples may be yellowish. The trans isomer of oleic acid is called elaidic acid...

 
C18:1 35.0 % 50.0 %
|-
| Linoleic
Linoleic acid
Linoleic acid is an unsaturated n-6 fatty acid. It is a colorless liquid at room temperature. In physiological literature, it has a lipid number of 18:2...

 
C18:2 35.0 % 50.0 %
|-
| Linolenic 
C18:3 trace 1.0 %
|-
| Eicosenoic
Eicosenoic acid
Eicosenoic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in a variety of plant oils....

 
C20:1 trace

History



Sesame was cultivated during the Indus valley civilization and was the main oil crop. It was probably exported to Mesopotamia around 2500 BCE and was known in Akkadian and Sumerian as 'ellu'.
Sesame seeds were one of the first crops processed for oil as well as one of the earliest condiments. In fact, the word enne/enna/ennai that means oil in many Dravidian languages including Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil has its roots in the Dravidian words eL (ಎಳ್/ಎಳ್ಳು, எள்ளு) and nei (ನೆಯ್, நெய்), which mean sesame and fat respectively.

Also the Hindi word Tel (तेल) for oil is also derived from sesame oil (from Sanskrit Taila (तैल) which means obtained from Tila (तिल) Sesame)


Prior to 600 BC, the Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

ns used sesame oil as a food, salve, and medication, primarily by the rich, as the difficulty of obtaining it made it expensive. Hindus used it in votive lamps and considered the oil sacred.

Nomenclature


see also Sesame nomenclature

In the Tamil language
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 of India, Sesame Oil is called "Nalla Ennai" (நல்லெண்ணெய்) and in Malayalam language
Malayalam language
Malayalam , is one of the four major Dravidian languages of southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. It is spoken by 35.9 million people...

 it's called "Nalla Enna", both literally translated in English to "good oil". In the Telugu language
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

 of India, Sesame Oil is called "Nuvvula Noone" (Nuvvulu means sesame and Noone means oil) or "Manchi Noone" (Manchi means good and Noone means oil). In the Kannada language
Kannada language
Kannada or , is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas and number roughly 50 million, is one of the 30 most spoken languages in the world...

 of India, Sesame Oil is called "yellenne" (from "yellu" for sesame) and "Ollenne" (ಒಳ್ಳೆಣ್ಣೆ) meaning "good oil". It is also called as Gingelly Oil in India. In Marathi
Marathi language
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

 it is called Teel Tel (तीळ तेल). In Sri Lanka Sinhalese called it "Thala Thel" (තල තෙල්)

NEI itself means oil in Tamil (common name for any type of oil). Since this oil is made from ELLU, it is also called ELLU NEI. In short ELNEI. In Bengali it is Teel Tel.

Manufacturing process



The extraction of sesame oil from the sesame seed is not a completely automated process. In the fairy tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
Ali Baba
Ali Baba is a fictional character from medieval Arabic literature. He is described in the adventure tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves...

” (in Sinhala අලි බබා සහ හොරැ හතලිහ) the sesame fruit serves as a symbol for wealth. When the fruit capsule opens, it releases a real treasure: the sesame seeds. However, a great deal of manual work is necessary before this point is reached. That is why sesame is hardly ever cultivated in Western industrialised agricultural areas.

The sesame seeds are protected by a capsule, which does not burst open until the seeds are completely ripe. The ripening time tends to vary. For this reason, the farmers cut plants by hand and place them together in upright position to carry on ripening for a few days. The seeds are only shaken out onto a cloth after all the capsules have opened.

The discovery of an indehiscent (nonshattering) mutant by Langham in 1943 began the work towards development of a high yielding, shatter-resistant variety. Although researchers have made significant progress in sesame breeding, harvest losses due to shattering continue to limit domestic US production.

Sesame seed market


As of 2007, sesame was being imported into the US at a price of US$0.43/lb. This relatively high price reflects a worldwide shortage. Though the market for sesame seed is strong, domestic US production awaits the development of high-yielding nonshattering varieties. It is advisable to establish a market before planting.

Varieties


There are many variations in the colour of sesame 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 colour. This dark colour and flavour are derived from roasted/toasted sesame seeds. Cold pressed sesame oil has a different flavour than the toasted oil, since it is produced directly from raw, rather than toasted seeds.

Sesame oil is traded in any of the forms described above: Cold-pressed sesame oil is available in Western health shops. Unroasted (but not necessarily cold pressed) sesame oil is commonly used for cooking in the Middle East and can often be found in halal
Halal
Halal is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law...

 markets. In East Asian countries, different kinds of hot-pressed sesame oil are preferred.

Cooking


Despite sesame oil's high proportion (41%) of polyunsaturated (Omega-6) fatty acids, it is least prone, among cooking oil
Cooking oil
Cooking oil is purified fat of plant origin, which is usually liquid at room temperature ....

s with high smoke points, to turn rancid
Rancidification
Rancidification is the chemical decomposition of fats, oils and other lipids . When these processes occur in food, undesirable odors and flavors can result. In some cases, however, the flavors can be desirable . In processed meats, these flavors are collectively known as "warmed over flavor"...

 when kept in the open.
This is due to the natural antioxidants present in the oil.

Light sesame oil has a high smoke point and is suitable for deep-frying, while dark sesame oil (from roasted sesame seeds) has a slightly lower smoke point and is unsuitable for deep-frying. Instead it can be used for the stir frying
Stir frying
Stir frying is an umbrella term used to describe two Chinese cooking techniques for preparing food in a wok: chǎo and bào . The term stir-fry was introduced into the English language by Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, to describe the chǎo technique...

 of meats or vegetables, or for the making of an omelette. East Asian cuisines often use roasted sesame oil for seasoning.

The Chinese use sesame oil in the preparation of meals for women during postpartum confinement .

Sesame oil is most popular in Asia, especially in Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, and the South Indian states of Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

, coastal Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

, and Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

, where its widespread use is similar to that of olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

 in the Mediterranean.

Traditional uses in India


Sesame oil is reputed to penetrate the skin easily and is used in India for oil massage. In Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

, Sesame oil (Teel Tel) is specially used for massaging the foot. It is also used for hair and scalp massage. Sesame oil is used in the manufacture of Ayurvedic drugs.

In Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, sesame or "til" oil is used deepa or oil lamps kept in front of shrines for the Deities. Sesame oil is used for performing puja in Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 temples. Also, particularly in South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

, sesame oil is applied to the stone deities in the temple's shrines. It is only used on Deities made of black granite.

Industrial uses


In industry, sesame oil may be used as
  • a solvent in injected drugs or intravenous drip solutions,
  • a cosmetics carrier oil,
  • coating stored grains to prevent weevil attacks. The oil also has synergy with some insecticides.


Low grade oil is used locally in soaps, paints, lubricants, and illuminants.

Vitamins and minerals


Sesame oil is a source of vitamin E
Vitamin E
Vitamin E is used to refer to a group of fat-soluble compounds that include both tocopherols and tocotrienols. There are many different forms of vitamin E, of which γ-tocopherol is the most common in the North American diet. γ-Tocopherol can be found in corn oil, soybean oil, margarine and dressings...

. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and has been correlated with lowering cholesterol levels. As with most plant based condiments, sesame oil contains magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin B6. Copper provides relief for rheumatoid arthritis. Magnesium supports vascular and respiratory health. Calcium helps prevent colon cancer, osteoporosis, migraine, and PMS. Zinc promotes bone health.

Besides being rich in vitamin E, there is insufficient research on the medicinal properties of sesame oil. However, the following claims have been made.

Blood pressure


Sesame oil has a high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-6 fatty acids)—but it is unique in that it keeps at room temperature. This is because it contains two naturally-occurring preservatives, sesamol
Sesamol
Sesamol is a natural organic compound which is a component of sesame oil. It is a white crystalline solid that is a derivative of phenol. It is sparingly soluble in water, but miscible with most oils...

 and sesamin
Sesamin
Sesamin is a lignan isolated from the bark of Fagara plants and from sesame oil. It has been used as a dietary fat-reduction supplement, although no controlled studies on this application have been performed.-External links:***...

. (Normally, only oils predominately composed of the omega-9 monounsaturated oil, like olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

, keep at room temperature.)

It has been suggested that due to the presence of high levels of polyunsaturated fat
Polyunsaturated fat
In nutrition, polyunsaturated fat, or polyunsaturated fatty acid, are fatty acids in which more than one carbon–carbon double bond exists within the representative molecule. That is, the molecule has two or more points on its structure capable of supporting hydrogen atoms not currently part of the...

ty acids in sesame oil, it may help to control blood pressure. It could be used in cooking in place of other edible oils and to help reduce high blood pressure and lower the amount of medication needed to control hypertension.

The effect of the oil on blood pressure may be due to polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and the compound sesamin, a lignan
Lignan
The lignans are a group of chemical compounds found in plants. Lignans are one of the major classes of phytoestrogens, which are estrogen-like chemicals and also act as antioxidants. The other classes of phytoestrogens are the isoflavones and coumestans...

 present in sesame oil. There is evidence suggesting that both compounds reduce blood pressure in hypertensive rats. Sesame lignans also inhibit the synthesis and absorption of cholesterol in these rats.

Oil pulling


Sesame oil is one of the few oils recommended for use in oil pulling
Oil pulling
Oil pulling or oil swishing, in alternative medicine, is a traditional Indian folk remedy that involves swishing oil in the mouth for claimed oral and systemic health benefits. It is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita where it is called Kavala Gandoosha / Kavala Graha...

. (Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil expressed from sunflower seeds. Sunflower oil is commonly used in food as a frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient. Sunflower oil was first industrially produced in 1835 in the Russian Empire.- Composition :Sunflower oil is mainly a...

 is the other oil recommended.)

Stress and tension


Various constituents present in the sesame oil have anti-oxidant and anti-depressant properties. Therefore proponents encourage its use to help fight senile changes and bring about a sense of well-being.

Adherents for its therapeutic use reports claims of feeling better than when not using it.

General claims


While not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, sesame oil is reputed to have a number of therapeutic uses.

It is suggested that regular topical application and/or consumption of sesame oil should mitigate effects of anxiety, nerve and bone disorders, poor circulation, lowered immunity and bowel problems. It is suggested such use would also relieve lethargy, fatigue, and insomnia, while promoting strength and vitality, enhancing blood circulation. There are claims that its use has relaxing properties which eases pain and muscle spasm, such as sciatica, dysmenorrhoea, colic, backache, and joint pain.

Sesame oil when used in infant massage
Infant massage
Infant massage is a type of complementary and alternative treatment that uses massage therapy for human infants. This therapy has been practiced globally, and has been increasingly used in Western countries as a treatment for infants, though the scientific evidence supporting its use is limited...

, it is claimed, helps to calm babies and lull them to sleep and improves growth of the brain and the nervous system. These are claims similar to other therapeutic medicines, that its having antioxidants explains beliefs that it slows the aging process and promotes longevity.
A 2000 medical study showed that infant massage with sesame oil improved the weight, length, and midarm and midleg circumferences of infants at a statistically more favorable rate than all other oils tested.

It is suggested that sesame oil, when consumed and/or topically applied, should relieve dryness both externally and internally. Sesame oil is sometimes recommended to alleviate the dryness associated with menopause. It is believed that its use "restores moisture to the skin, keeping it soft, flexible and young looking". It is suggested that it relieves "dryness of joints" and bowels, and eases symptoms of dryness such as irritating coughs, cracking joints, and hard stools. Since "dryness of joints" is not a medically classifiable condition, it would be difficult to medically comprehend or verify these claims of panacea.

Other uses include as a laxative
Laxative
Laxatives are foods, compounds, or drugs taken to induce bowel movements or to loosen the stool, most often taken to treat constipation. Certain stimulant, lubricant, and saline laxatives are used to evacuate the colon for rectal and/or bowel examinations, and may be supplemented by enemas under...

, as a remedy for toothaches and gum disease and in the treatment of blurred vision, dizziness, and headaches.

It is suggested that sesame oil could be used in the treatment of dry nose, reduction of cholesterol levels (due to presence of lignans which are phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are plant-derived xenoestrogens functioning as the primary female sex hormone not generated within the endocrine system but consumed by eating phytoestrogonic plants...

), anti-bacterial effects, and even slowing down certain types of cancer (due to the anti-oxidant properties of the lignans).

Adverse effects


Because of its laxative effects, sesame oil should not be used by people who have diarrhea.

No more than 10% of a person's total caloric intake should be derived from polyunsaturated fats such as those found in sesame oil, according to the American Heart Association
American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a non-profit organization in the United States that fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke. It is headquartered in Dallas, Texas...

.

Oil massage should be avoided immediately after administering enemas, emetics or purgatives, during the first stages of fever or if suffering from indigestion.

There appears to be cross-reactivity between sesame allergens and peanut, rye
Rye
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder...

, kiwi
Kiwi
Kiwi are flightless birds endemic to New Zealand, in the genus Apteryx and family Apterygidae.At around the size of a domestic chicken, kiwi are by far the smallest living ratites and lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world...

, poppy seed
Poppy seed
Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy . The tiny kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years...

, and various treenuts (such as hazelnut
Hazelnut
A hazelnut is the nut of the hazel and is also known as a cob nut or filbert nut according to species. A cob is roughly spherical to oval, about 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm in diameter, with an outer fibrous husk surrounding a smooth shell. A filbert is more elongated, being about twice...

, black walnut
Black Walnut
Juglans nigra, the Eastern Black walnut, is a species of flowering tree in the hickory family, Juglandaceae, that is native to eastern North America. It grows mostly in riparian zones, from southern Ontario, west to southeast South Dakota, south to Georgia, northern Florida and southwest to central...

, cashew
Cashew
The cashew is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. It is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew nuts and cashew apples.-Etymology:The...

, macadamia
Macadamia
Macadamia is a genus of nine species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, with a disjunct distribution native to eastern Australia , New Caledonia and Sulawesi in Indonesia ....

 and pistachio
Pistachio
The pistachio, Pistacia vera in the Anacardiaceae family, is a small tree originally from Persia , which now can also be found in regions of Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Sicily and possibly Afghanistan , as well as in the United States,...

). Allergy to peanuts is one of the most common allergies, and in rare cases, can lead to anaphylactic shock which can be fatal. Although the prevalence of sesame allergy in US is low relative to peanut allergy, the severity of sesame allergy should not be underestimated. Pure oil is not usually allergenic, (as it does not typically contain the proteinaceous part of the plant), but avoiding may be safer, as oil purity cannot be guaranteed. People allergic to sesame seeds should be cautious about using sesame oil.