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Sesame seed oil is a vegetable oil extracted from sesame seeds, a plant of ancient origins belonging to the Pedaliaceae family, botanical name Sesamum indicum, originating from India and Africa.
Sesame is an annual herbaceous plant that reaches 50-100 cm in height, with long lance-shaped leaves, white and tubular flowers and small seeds, which are white or black depending on the variety.
White sesame is also widely used in our country, especially in Sicily where it is called "cimino" and added to bread. In Korean cuisine, light seeds are used to prepare typical dishes such as sannakji and bulgogi. Tahina is also derived from these seeds, with its high energy value, which is a characteristic seasoning typical of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Black sesame seeds can be roasted or not, depending on the uses, they have a more intense and oily taste than white sesame and are used mainly in the Far East kitchen, where it is an important ingredient of many Japanese and Chinese dishes.
Sesame oil, extracted from seeds, which when refined assumes a light yellow color with a particularly pleasant taste, is mainly used in the kitchen, but
it also has numerous beneficial properties and for this reason, in addition to traditional food use, it is also used in traditional medicine. In the pharmaceutical sector it is used above all for liposoluble medicines and as a light laxative, it is also used in cosmetics for the production of shampoos, soaps and sunscreens.
Sesame oil is also considered one of the best massage oils.
The main characteristics of this oil are the extreme ease with which it is extracted from the seeds and its capacity of conservation over time: these two advantages have contributed to its success throughout the world and to its widespread use.
In ancient times, in India, during the funeral ceremonies, four sesame vases were prepared in honor of the dead, to help them in the passage to the afterlife, and still today in many countries sesame seeds are considered a symbol of immortality.
There are different procedures for obtaining sesame oil: through the cold pressing of the seeds, hot pressing, or through an extraction and refining process.
As a first step, the seeds must be thoroughly washed, after which they are long soaked and finally dried.
For the production of dark sesame oil, the seeds must be roasted for about half an hour and then left to cool in special containers. Both the roasting and the cooling must take a little time because a too long roasting could cause the seeds to "withdraw" with negative consequences on the quality of the oil.
After this first phase the seeds are passed into an oil mill, finally the crude oil is obtained which must be filtered to remove any possible dirt.
For the production of a lighter sesame oil, the seeds are used raw, subjected to a pressing operation with hydraulic presses, and this characteristic will give the oil a golden color.
As far as the nutritional aspect is concerned, sesame oil is rich in oleic acid and linoleic acid, the latter being particularly important for skin health. Among the saturated fatty acids we find a high content of staerico and palmitico. The presence of vitamin E is also important, even if in a modest percentage, which has remarkable antioxidant properties and is the one that allows the oil to keep for a long time without going rancid.
Sesame oil is also rich in proteins, with a high percentage of tryptophan and methionine, and there is a good amount of iron, phosphorus and calcium, and some vitamins.
In addition to the high nutritional values, it has a very pleasant taste that makes its use at the table excellent. In South Asian cuisines it is currently used to accentuate the flavors of dishes and in Japan it is used for frying, during the preparation of "tempura".
Sesame oil is also widespread in the pharmaceutical field, as well as for slightly laxative properties, because it has a beneficial effect on the blood as it helps the formation of platelets and hemoglobin. It is also an excellent general restorative, ideal for the phase of adolescence and growth, or in the case of both physical and mental exhaustion, for its high content of phosphorus, iron and calcium, and the vitamins of group E and B It is also used as an anti-inflammatory and for many skin diseases, to which it restores elasticity. This is why it can be used in case of burns and as a healing agent to heal wounds quickly.
Sesame oil has the property of strengthening the entire immune system in general and due to its high percentage of calcium it is also good for joint pain and to fight osteoporosis.
Sesame oil is used in the cosmetic field especially for the preparation of soaps and shampoos, furthermore we can find it in creams that combat the dryness and fragility of the skin and in products that provide a slight sun protection.
It is also undoubtedly one of the best oils known for making any type of massage, which is why it is also widely used in Ayurvedic medicine