- Sesamum indicum L.
- Sesamum orientale L.
- Pedalium family
Parts Usually Used
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
Sesame is a strong, slender annual growing to 1 1/2-3 feet tall,
with slender, dark-green leaves, 5 inches long, and inch-long, pale
pink flowers, resembling foxglove, which lie along the square stem.
The seeds vary in color: red, black, brown, or creamy white seeds.
Seedpods will not develop without adequate moisture; requires watering
during dry periods. It is a warmth-loving plant which will only mature
its seeds in our southern states and Hawaii, though it may be started
early in pots in the north and planted in the garden for decorative
purposes. Full sun. Zones 8-10.
Another variety: The Chinese use a plant called sesame (Sesamum
indicum) that they name Hu-ma. The famous general, Chang Chien, took
the seed from the West to China when he made his famous tour in the
time of the Han dynasty.
A native to Africa and the warmer parts of Asia. Naturalized from
Florida to Texas, it is happiest in its native tropics and will grow
in warm climates. Requires full sun and rich, moist soil.
Demulcent, digestive, excretory, emollient, laxative, nutritive,
Over 50% fatty oil, (including olein, linolein, palmitin, stearin
and myristin), lecithin, choline, 1% oxalate acid, choroginic acid,
vitamins E, A and B and appreciable amounts of calcium.
Legends, Myths and Stories
Earliest records show that sesame seed was a staple food and oil
source in China, Japan, and India, and was used in ancient Greece.
The Egyptians and Persians of Biblical times ground it into a kind
of flour, from which they made bread. The Romans crushed the seed
and used it like butter for a spread on bread. Today it is still used
as a bread spread, the oil being used in the manufacture of some oleo-margarines.
Each plant produces only 1 tbsp. of seed, often none in cool climates.
One source claims that the halva candy is an aphrodisiac. It contains
a rich supply of potassium and magnesium salts of aspartic acid. In
addition, you get a bonus of vitamin E (called the fertility vitamin),
calcium, phosphorus, and unsaturated fatty acids (vitamin F) as well
as lecithin, and 50% more protein than meat. The hormone hypophyseal
produced by the pituitary gland is basically protein in nature and
obviously needs this nutrient in the diet for its development. This
hormone is a key factor to healthy activity of the sex glands. So
that is why some people call halva the Sex Candy.
Nourishes the liver and kidneys, lubricates dry intestines, darkens
prematurely graying hair. Treats backache, tinnitus,
blurry vision, migraines,
vertigo or dizziness, chronic
gums, tooth decay, hair loss, weak bones, osteoporosis, emaciation,
dry cough, blood in the urine, weak knees, stiff
Because of its easily assimilated calcium content, it nourishes the
blood, calms nervous spasms, and alleviates headaches,
dizziness and numbness caused by deficient blood. Its a good tonic,
particularly for the aged.
The oil of sesame will help burns,
sunburn, remove freckles, age
Formulas or Dosages
The seeds are thoroughly ground into powder and mixed into a paste
with honey; take 2 tsp. daily. In the Middle East this mixture is
eaten as a candy called halva. If you make your own, for variety add
a dash of vanilla or maple flavoring, or add chopped nuts or dates.
Shape into 2 tsp. balls or patties and refrigerate. Eat one patty
per day. It has the consistency of fudge.
For dry cough, asthmatic and
lung conditions, combine the powdered seeds with a pinch of black
pepper, ginger juice, and honey. Take 1 tbsp. 3 times a day.
Carbohydrates, phosphorus, niacin, protein, calcium, vitamins C,
E and A, and unsaturated fatty acids.
Halva or Halvah bars can be obtained in health food stores but be
sure to read the label, some are fortified with large amounts of sugar
or corn syrup instead of honey. There are various flavors: vanilla,
chocolate, and marbled, or with chopped nut covering.
You can buy sesame seeds at health food stores, mail order health
food companies, herb companies, and even at some supermarkets or corner
Care should be taken in obesity.