Ibn al-Qayyim in his Prophetic Medicine described the beneficial effects of oil for health. He said that when oil was applied to the body after washing in hot water, it beautified and moistened the body. He also said that when used on the hair, oil made the hair long and beautiful.
The scholar mentioned that in hot countries oil was one of the best means of preserving health and restoring the body. He said that it was beneficial for measles, and named sesame oil, along with clarified butter (ghee) as examples of simple oils that were useful for health.
There are two classifications for oil; simple oils, which are oils extracted directly from raw materials, and compound oils, which consist of several oils mixed together.
Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned that compound oils, like violet oil were beneficial for headache and insomnia.
Most seeds contain oil, and their composition varies on amount of fats and acids. Sesame oil is made from sesame seeds, which are flat, oval seeds from the sesame plant and come in a variety of colors such as yellow, white, and black.
Sesame seeds are a rich source of lignans (chemical compounds), these may fight many hormonally driven cancers like breast and prostate cancer. sesame seeds, along with pistachios, are the richest nut and seed sources of phytosterols, thought to fight heart disease and help reduce benign prostatic hyperplasia (swollen prostate).
Health Benefits of Sesame
- cancer A study using human lymphoid leukemia cells found that treatment with a sesame extract, sesamolin, led to reduced growth by inducing cell apoptosis (cell death).
- Hypertension and stroke A study using hypertensive rats found that ingestion of sesamin, a phytochemical in sesame seeds, reduced elevated blood pressure, oxidative stress and blood-clotting activity. Using sesame oil as the sole cooking oil for sixty days lowered patients' blood pressure levels.
- Melanomas A cell study using human malignant melanocytes found that sesame oil selectively inhibited malignant melanoma growth.
Tips on Using Oils
References for more information
- Liu Z, Saarinen NM, Thompson LU. Sesamin is one of the major precursors of mammalian lignans in sesame seed (Sesamum indicum) as observed in vitro and in rats. J Nutr. 2006 Apr; 136(4):906-912.
- Miyahara Y, Hibasami H, Katsuzaki H, Imai K, Komiya T. Sesamolin from sesame seed inhibits proliferation by inducing apoptosis in human lymphoid leukemia Molt 4B cells. Int J Mol Med. 2001 Apr;7(4):369-371.
- Noguchi T, Ikeda K, Sasaki Y, Yamamoto J, Yamori Y. Effects of Vitamin E and sesamin on hypertension and cerebral thrombogenesis in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2004 Dec;31 Suppl 2:S24S26.
- Smith DE, Salerno JW. Selective growth inhibition of a human malignant melanoma cell line by sesame oil in vitro. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent fatty acids. 1992 Jun; 46(2), 145-150.