“Taking black sesame seeds can heal all the chronic illness after 100 days, improve skin tone on body and face after 1 year, reverse gray hair after 2 years, and regrow teeth after 3 years.” says the Compendium of Materia Medica, the largest and most comprehensive medical writings in the history of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This herb is also known as Semen Sesami Nigrum and Hei Zhi Ma and related experiments show that the content of vitamin E contained in this herb is the highest in all foods of plant origin. It is well known that vitamin E can promote cell division and delay cell senescence. Long-term use can counteract or neutralize the accumulation of cell senescence substance of “radicals” and then delay aging and extend life expectancy. Of course, its health benefits are far more than just providing vitamin E. So, what is black sesame good for? Are black sesame seeds better than white ones? How to eat it to maximize its health benefits? All the questions related will be answered in this article soon.
What are black sesame seeds?
Actually it refers to dry mature seeds of Sesamum indicum L., a plant under the genus Sesamum of the family Pedaliaceae. It plants are usually harvested during autumn when the fruits at the peak of their ripeness. And next dry them in the sun, knock out of the seeds, remove impurities, and then dry in the sun once again.
It is flat oval, about 3mm long and 2mm wide. Surface is black and smooth or with netted wrinkles. Tip has brown punctate hilum. Seed coat is thin. Cotyledons are two, white, and rich in oil. It has slight odor, sweet taste, and oil aroma.
Main chemical constituents are up to 55% fatty oil, sesamin, sesamolin, sesamol, vitamin E, phytosterols, lecithin, pedaliin, protein, oligosaccharides, planteose, sesamose, and mall amounts of phosphorus, potassium and cytochrome C, folic acid, nicotinic acid, sucrose, pentosan and large amounts of calcium content. In addition, fatty oil mainly contains approximately 48% oleic acid, approximately 37% linoleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, arachidonic acid, and glycerolipid of lignoceric acid.
Black sesame seeds benefits
As mentioned above, there are two types of sesame seeds – black and white sesame seeds. Both of them contain almost the same composition. So, what is the difference between them? By comparison, white sesame seed is better for edible purpose but the black version is preferable if used for medicinal purpose. To be specific, as the tonic black one is good at nourishing the liver and kidney and improving hair growth and hair color while white one is expert in relaxing bowel, nourishing yin and moisturizing to the skin. Besides, black sesame has high nutritional value. It also contains extremely valuable sesamin and melanin. As a result, it is widely used in treating hair loss and grey hair, inhibiting the growth of skin cancer cells from UV rays, lowering blood pressure, helping weight loss, improving fertility, and so on. And its pharmacological actions can reflect these effects well.
Modern pharmacology of black sesame seed
1. It has anti-aging effect, which can postpone the aging phenomenon in experimental animals;
2. Linoleic acid contained can reduce blood cholesterol level and prevent and treat atherosclerosis;
3. Linoleic acid can inhibit the adrenal cortex function to a certain degree in experimental animals;
4. Linoleic acid can reduce blood sugar, increase glycogen content in liver and muscle, but decrease glycogen content in large doses;
5. Fatty oil contained can lubricate intestines and relieve constipation.
Proven black sesame herbal remedies
Based on Chinese Materia Medica, it is sweet in flavor and neutral in properties. It covers three meridians of liver, spleen, and kidney. Basic functions are tonifying liver and kidney, enriching blood to boost essence, and loosening bowel to relieve constipation. Key black sesame seeds uses and indications are liver-kidney deficiency induced dizziness and tinnitus, flaccid lower back and knee, premature graying hair, dry skin, intestinal dryness and constipation, less milk during lactation, carbuncle and eczema, leprosy, scrofula, ulcers, infantile scrofula, burns, and hemorrhoids. Recommended black sesame seeds dosage is from 9 to 15 grams in decoction, tea pills, or powder.
This is a nutritional herb that can boost essence and nourish blood. It is neutral, sweet, delicious, and good for food therapy. One of its representatives is Fu Sang Zhi Bao Dan, or Sang Ma Wan, which comes from Shou Shi Bao Yuan (Protection of Vital Energy for Longevity). This formula combines it with Sang Ye (White Mulberry Leaf) for the treatment of dizziness, premature graying, and weakness of limbs due to kidney essence and blood deficiency or liver and kidney deficiency.
Simple but effective black sesame seeds recipes
As you can see, this is a good healthy vegetable for food and medicine at the same time. Here are some useful tips and convenient cooking recipes for your reference.
1. Sesame walnut porridge. Ingredients: black sesame seed 50g, walnut 100g, and right amount of rice. Directions: smash them together, add in rice and water, and then cook congee. This recipe nourishes liver and kidney and has therapeutic effect for secondary brain atrophy.
2. Sesame fungus tea. Ingredients: raw sesame 30g, fried sesame 15g, and fried black fungus 30g. Directions: grind them into powder and fill the powder into a bottle for future use. 5 grams each time for making tea with boiling water is highly recommended. This tea has therapeutic effect on hemafecia due to blood heat or dysentery as it can cool blood and stop bleeding.
3. Sesame honey. Ingredients: honey 15g, black sesame seed oil 5g, and warm boiled water. Directions: blend them well and take them before breakfast. This recipe works for constipation.
Black sesame seeds side effects and contraindications
Good as black sesame seeds are for hair, overdose or misuse may speed up the hair loss rate and lead to endocrine disorders, manifested as oily scalp, withering hair follicles, or even baldness. And because it can cause diarrhea, its oil cake after oil expression is toxic to livestock and can cause adverse reactions such as cramps, tremors, difficulty breathing, flatulence, cough and suppression. Excessive feeding on calf can cause eczema, hair removal and itching. TCM wise, use it with care in the case of poor appetite and loose stool.