Benefits of Sesame seeds/oil in Ayurveda
As I begin with my festive
food preparations for the festival of Makar Sankranti this week ,I thought of sharing the
importance of the sesame seeds which are used in this festive occasion.
Astrologically the festival of Makar
Sankranti marks the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign of Makara
(Capricorn) on its celestial path. Also referred to as "Uttarayana”
(northward movement of the sun begins).
Scientifically, this day
marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights. In other
words, Sankranti marks the termination of winter season and beginning of a new
harvest or spring season.
According to Ayurveda since this Sankranti festival
falls during winter season having sesame seeds provides the body the much
needed heat and keep it warm.
Sweets (Ladoos) made from sesame seeds and jaggery (cane sugar) are prepared for the occasion.The chances of catching cold reduce if we eat these sweets.
Sesame seeds have a greater ability to absorb and emit "Sattva" frequencies because of which having food containing sesame is considered to be spiritual.
Jaggery is a rich source of iron,is considered to be a particularly wholesome sugar and, unlike refined sugar, it retains more mineral salts.
Ayurvedic texts consider jaggery to be beneficial in treating throat and lung infections.
Makar Sankranti is also known as Khichadi (Indian dish made from rice and Moong bean dhal) because on this day the injunction to eat Khichadi, is generally observed by people.
Seasonal crops become available. Ghee and spices are used for making tasty nourishing khichadi.Those who are familiar with Ritucharya,(seasonal regime) may know that Vata problems are exacerbated during winter. Hence khichadi recipe during these days use ghee, tender garlic, whole grains, coriander, spinach, fenugreek etc.which will pacify vata problems.
Sesame seeds have oil in them that generates heat
in the body. The most important specialty of sesame is that
is contains four rasas (flavors), hot, bitter, sweet and pungent ,therefore used
for preparing sweets in winter season.Sesame oil has the potent to balance excess vata along with kapha and pitta deficiency.
Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of copper and a very good
source of manganese, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium,
iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1,B6 Thiamin Folate and Niacin, zinc, molybdenum,
selenium, and dietary fiber, proteins and carbohydrates.
Significant health benefits of sesame seeds include prevention and
control of diabetes; reduction in risks of cancer; improving and support of
bone health; as a strong anti-inflammatory agent; facilitating and improving
colon health, digestion and preventing constipation; boosting oral health
cellular growth and metabolic function.
Sesame oil is immensely
popular in India where its use in massage (Abhyanga) is part of everyday life
and an important aspect of Ayurveda.
- Abhyanga (massage ) with warm
sesame oil helps relieve stress, promotes blood
circulation,promotes physical strength,nourishes muscles & bones,supports
comfortable joint movement,promotes sound sleep patterns,supports the intellect & nervous system,nourishes skin and hair.
- Applying a few drops of sesame oil in the nostrils as nasal drops helps in treating illnesses above
your shoulders. This aids in removing the toxins from the body, alleviate
stress, sinusitis, allergies, headache, cold and wrinkles.
- Sesame oil is completely safe for the use in children and is known to strengthen the
bones, joints and muscles by penetrating deeply into the muscles and the bone
- Massaging your head
with warm Sesame oil stimulates hair growth, controls dandruff, nourishes the
scalp, kills the infestation of lice, and eases anxiety and fatigue.
May cause rash on skin and have severe
reactions for those who are allergic to seeds and nuts. Also, make sure you’re not allergic to sesame seeds before adding them to your dietary habits.