Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, Vol 75, No 4 (2010)

Nutritional, Medicinal and Industrial Uses of Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) Seeds - An Overview

Kandangath Raghavan ANILAKUMAR, Ajay PAL, Farhath KHANUM, Amarinder Singh BAWA


Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) seeds have been grown in tropical regions throughout the world since prehistoric times. Sesame seed, a rich source of protein, is one of the first crops processed for oil production. Its non-culinary application includes its use as an ingredient in soap, cosmetics, lubricants and medicines. Sesame seeds also contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin known to have a cholesterol lowering effect in humans and to prevent high blood pressure. Both of these were also reported to increase the hepatic mitochondrial and the peroxisomal fatty acid oxidation rate in experimental animals. Cephalin, a phospholipid from sesame seed has been reported to possess hemostatic activity. The oil has wide medical and pharmaceutical applications. It is mildly laxative, emollient and demulcent. The seeds and fresh leaves may be used as a poultice. The antibacterial activity of seeds against Staphylococcus and Streptococcus as well as common skin fungi, such as athlete’s foot fungus has also been well recognized. The oil is also known to maintain high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). Refined sesame oil is rich with antioxidant components like lignans allowing for greater shelf-life of foods plus improving their flavor and taste. In addition to its use as an antioxidant, sesame oil contains a large amount of linoleate in triglyceride form that selectively inhibit malignant melanoma growth. Off -late, the work has also been oriented towards the production of biodiesel from sesame seed oil as a viable alternative to the diesel fuel. The ethno-botanical and medicinal uses of this commercially important, nutritionally rich oilseed need to be explored for better utilization.


Sesamum indicum; health benefits; biofuel; nutraceutical