Sesame oil: Wikis


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Sesame seed oil in clear glass vial
Oil, sesame, salad or cooking
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 3,699 kJ (884 kcal)
Carbohydrates 0.00 g
Fat 100.00 g
saturated 14.200 g
monounsaturated 39.700 g
polyunsaturated 41.700 g
Protein 0.00 g
Vitamin C 0.0 mg (0%)
Vitamin E 1.40 mg (9%)
Vitamin K 13.6 μg (13%)
Calcium 0 mg (0%)
Iron 0.00 mg (0%)
Magnesium 0 mg (0%)
Phosphorus 0 mg (0%)
Potassium 0 mg (0%)
Sodium 0 mg (0%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Sesame oil (also known as gingelly oil or til oil) is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil in South India, it is often used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese, Korean, and to a lesser extent Southeast Asian cuisine.



White sesame seeds

Sesame oil is composed of the following fatty acids:[1]

Fatty acid Nomenclature Minimum Maximum
Palmitic C16:0 7.0 % 12.0 %
Palmitoleic C16:1 trace 0.5 %
Stearic C18:0 3.5 % 6.0 %
Oleic C18:1 35.0 % 50.0 %
Linoleic C18:2 35.0 % 50.0 %
Linolenic C18:3 trace 1.0 %
Eicosenoic C20:1 trace 1.0 %


Sesame seeds were one of the first crops processed for oil as well as one of the earliest condiments. In fact, the word 'ennai' that means oil in Tamil language has its roots in the Tamil words eL(எள்ளு) and nei(னெய்), which mean sesame and fat.
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 Assyrians 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. [2]


see also Sesame nomenclature

In the Tamil language of India, Sesame Oil is called "Nalla Ennai"(நல்லெண்ணெய்), which literal translation in English is "good oil". In the Telugu language of India, Sesame Oil is called "Nuvvula Noone" (Nuvvulu means sesame and Noone means cooking oil) or "Manchi Noone" (Manchi means good and Noone means cooking oil). In the Kannada language of India, Sesame Oil is called "yellenne" (from "yellu" for sesame). It is also called as Gingelly Oil in India. In Marathi it is called Teel Tel (तीळ तेल). In Sri Lanka Sinhalese called it "Thala Thel" (තල තෙල්)

Manufacture of sesame oil

Manufacturing process

Making sesame oil at Moran Market, Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.

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” (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.[3]

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.[4]

Sesame seed market

As of 2007, sesame is 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.


There are many variations in the colour of sesame oil: cold-pressed sesame oil is almost colourless, while Indian sesame oil (gingelly or til oil) is golden and Chinese sesame oil is commonly a dark brown colour. This dark colour and flavour are derived from roasted/toasted sesame seeds. Cold pressed sesame oil has less 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. In most Asian countries, different kinds of hot-pressed sesame oil are preferred.[5]



Despite sesame oil's high proportion (41%) of polyunsaturated (Omega-6 fatty acids), it is least prone, among cooking oils with high smoke points, to turn rancid when kept in the open.[6] This is due to the natural antioxidants present in the oil. [7]

Light sesame oil has a high smoke point, and is suitable for deep-frying, while heavy (dark) sesame oil (from roasted sesame seeds) has a slightly lower smoke point is unsuitable for deep-frying, instead it can be used for stir-frying of meats or vegetables; making of omelette. Most in Asia used Roasted Sesame Oil for seasoning, particularly in East Asian cuisine.

The Chinese use Sesame Oil for preparation of meals for women during postpartum confinement.

Sesame oil is most popular in Asia, especially in the South Indian states of Karnataka, Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where its widespread use is similar to that of olive oil in the Mediterranean.

Body massage

Sesame oil is reputed to penetrate the skin easily, and is used in India for oil massage. In Maharashtra, Sesame oil (Teel Tel) is specially used for massaging the foot.[8]

Hair treatment

Applying sesame oil to the hair is said to result in darker hair. It may be used for hair and scalp massage.[9] It is believed to reduce the heat of the body and thus helps in preventing hair loss.

Food manufacture

Sesame oil is used in the manufacture of pickles.[10 ] Refined sesame oil is used to make margarine in Western countries.

Drug manufacture

Sesame oil is used in the manufacture of Ayurvedic drugs.[10 ]


Sesame or Til oil is used in brass or silver lamps kept in front of gods and goddess of Hindus. Sesame oil is used for performing puja in Hindu temples.[10 ]

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.[11]

Low grade oil is used locally in Soaps paints, lubricants, and illuminants.[12]

Alternative medicine

Vitamins and minerals

Sesame oil is a source of vitamin E.[13] Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and has been correlated with lowering cholesterol levels.[14] 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[15] (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 and sesamin. (Normally, only oils predominately composed of the omega-9 monounsaturated oil, like olive oil, keep at room temperature.)

It has been suggested that due to the presence of high levels of Polyunsaturated fatty 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.[16]

The effect of the oil on blood pressure may be due to polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and the compound sesamin – a lignan 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.[17] (sunflower oil 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.[18]

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

General claims

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

As with cure-all claims of other folk and therapeutic medicines, it is suggested that regular topical application and/or consumption of sesame oil should mitigate effects[19 ] 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, it is claimed, helps to calm babies and lull them to sleep and improves growth of the brain and the nervous system.[20] These are claims similar to other therapeutic medicines, that its having antioxidants explains beliefs that it slows the aging process and promotes longevity.

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.[21] 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, as a remedy for toothaches and gum disease[22] and in the treatment of blurred vision, dizziness, and headaches. [11]

It is suggested that sesame oil could be used in the treatment of dry nose, reduction of cholestrol levels (due to presence of Lignans which are phytoestrogens), anti-bacterial effects, and even slowing down certain types of cancer (due to the anti-oxidant properties of the Lignans).[23]

Adverse effects

Sesame oil is not known to be harmful when taken in recommended dosages, though the long-term effects of taking sesame-derived remedies (in any amount) have not been investigated. Due to lack of sufficient medical study, sesame oil should be used with caution in children, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, and people with liver or kidney disease.

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.[24]

Oil massage should be avoided immediately after administering enemas, emetics or purgatives, during the first stages of fever or if suffering from indigestion.[19 ]

People who are allergic to peanuts are likely to be more susceptible to sesame allergy. Allergy to peanuts is one of the most common allergies, and can lead to anaphylactic shock which can be fatal. Persons allergic to sesame seeds should be cautious about using sesame oil.


  1. ^ "Fatty acids found in sesame oil". Essential oils. Retrieved 2006-10-07.  
  2. ^ "Origin of Sesame Oil". Vac Industries Limited.  
  3. ^ Graig Farm Organics - What We Offer > Our Range > The Grocery > Organic Cold-pressed Oils
  4. ^ Sesame
  5. ^ Spice Pages: Sesame Seeds (Sesamum indicum)
  6. ^
  7. ^ Growing Sesame: Production tips, economics, and more
  8. ^ Bliss at your Fingertips by Vasu Nargundkar
  9. ^ Hair and Scalp Massage by Shreelata Suresh
  10. ^ a b c Traditional uses of Sesame Oil
  11. ^ a b Food, Industrial, Nutraceutical, and Pharmaceutical Uses of Sesame Genetic Resources.  
  12. ^ Sesame Products and uses in Nigeria.  
  13. ^ Cooking Oils That Are Good For You, From Sesame To Grapeseed What You Need To Know - CBS News
  14. ^ Correlations between Cholesterol, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K1 in Serum: Paradoxical Relationships to Established Epidemiological Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease
  15. ^ Kimchi Healthy
  16. ^ Sesame oil helps reduce dose of blood pressure-lowering medicine
  17. ^ The Daily Routine by Vasant Lad, MASc
  18. ^ Hair Loss Cure For Baldness Remedy Treatment Brahmi Oil Herbs
  19. ^ a b The Therapeutic Value of Sesame Oil
  20. ^ Benefits of Baby Massage
  21. ^ Sesame oil | Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine | Find Articles at
  22. ^ Idhayam
  23. ^ Youthing Strategies Medical References
  24. ^ Sesame oil | Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine | Find Articles at

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