Did you know?

Sesame seed oil helps new mothers to pass out lochia, shrinks back the uterus, prevents constipation and increases the secretion of breast milk.

Sesame Oil

In the Chinese food culture, sesame oil is indispensable in the kitchen. As we talk about the origins of sesame oil, one cannot help but wonder how particular our ancestors had been towards food and how experimental they were with their taste buds. Sesame oil has been around since the Three Kingdoms era, during which it was used as a source of fuel for light torches. In those days, oil was extracted from sesame seeds using stone mortar or wooden press.

Sesame seed is the main ingredient for making sesame oil. Though the closest cousin of sesame seed (scientific name: Sesamumindicum) has been found in South Africa, it is unknown where sesame seed originates. Legend has it that Zhang Qian, an explorer during the former Han Dynasty, had brought sesame seeds into China from the western regions. However, modern research found that sesame seeds originated from the Yun Gui Plateau in China. Recent archaeologists also discovered signs of sesame seeds among remains from the New Stone Age in the Zhejiang and Hangzhou provinces. All these suggest that China is where sesame seed first began.

During the Three Kingdoms era (AD200 to 280), sesame oil had already been widely used, especially in the army. It surfaced only much later in food culture. According to one of China’s earliest books “Bei Tang Shu Chao” about 1600 years ago, sesame oil was part of the ingredients in making preserved black bean sauce. This was the earliest recorded mention of sesame oil in food culture. During the Han and Sui dynasties, sesame oil was a popular choice of cooking oil; and during the Tang and Song dynasties, it became highly sought-after top-grade oil.

The Chinese had long recognised the benefits of sesame oil since 2,000 years ago, when sesame seeds were first pressed to produce superior plant-based oil which subsequently became a stable in all households. Otherwise known as sesame oil is an essential seasoning in Chinese cuisine, especially in cold dishes, adding its magic touch to bring out the best of the food.

Sesame oil is healthy

Sesame oil consists of monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and several other kinds of unsaturated fatty acids. Regular consumption of sesame oil helps to get rid of the body’s surplus fats to help you slim down. It also enhances skin elasticity, maintains skin vitality and prevents wrinkles. Sesame oil is rich in vitamins – the most significant being vitamin A, vitamin B and vitamin E. These vitamins can prevent cell-damaging harmful substances produced by fats and remove toxins from the body. They also effectively prevent pregnancy spots, age spots and other kinds of pigmentation from appearing. While sesame oil gives a healthy glow to the skin, the extraction of pigment from black sesame can darken, soften and bring shine to the hair.

The body can absorb as much as 98% of sesame oil. The fatty acids in the sesame oil generally comprise 35.0-49.4% oleic acid, 37.7-48.4% linoleic acid and 0.4- 1.2% arachidic acid. Its abundant vitamin E and linoleic acid can improve capillary permeability, boost the body tissues’ absorption of oxygen, improve blood circulation,promote gonad development, slow down aging and maintain youthful looks.

Sesame oil also contains traces of antioxidants, such as lignan, sesamol, sesamin, sesaminol andsesamolin.

Sesame oil lowers cholesterol

Traditional Chinese medicine offers a deeper understanding of the medicinal benefits of sesame seed. It believes that sesame seed is able to nourish the blood, enhance bowel movement, generate body fluids, improve lactation and nourishthe hair.

Good for pregnant and postpartum women

Every Chinese kitchen has sesame oil due to its many health benefits. This is especially so for families with pregnant women or women who have just given birth. The Chinese believe that sesame oil plays a very important role in health care, particularly during the postpartum stage. Sesame oil is always used to prepare confinement food because the nutrients it contains are crucial to postpartum recovery.

The benefits of sesame oil are also upheld in medical science. In the ancient Compendium Of Materia Medica, it is said that sesame seed is nourishing and soothing for the body. It also nourishes the blood, improves one’s eyesight, boosts the vital energy, facilitates bowel movement and helps the body to produce fluids. It can reduce blood sugar, increase liver and muscle glycogen content and lower blood cholesterol levels. Sesame oil is also suitable for the elderly suffering from hair loss due to weak kidneys; dry skin; constipation; poor health after illness; and giddiness.


Did you know?

Sesame seed oil helps new mothers to pass out lochia, shrinks back the uterus, prevents constipation and increases the secretion of breast milk.