Black sesame is one of the two varieties of Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum Linn) found in India and China predominantly; the other variety being white sesame seeds which are more well known for common use in preparation of dishes. Both the varieties are popular due to their high nutritional value and also due to the fact that the sesame seeds produce a high volume of oil which is used for many culinary and medicinal purposes.
In Ayurveda, Black sesame seeds aka Krishna Tila are considered to have better medicinal value. In Tila Varga in Ashtanga hridayam, rishi vagbhatt refers to it as Tila taila, and describes it as the best among the group of oils. He says that due to its tikshna and vyavayi guna, it penetrates deep in the channels of the body giving enrichment.
त्वगदोषह्रत् अजचक्षुष्यं सूक्ष्मोष्णं कफकृन्न च ५५
कृशानां बृंहणायालं स्थूलानां कर्शनाय च
बद्धविटकं कृमिघ्नं च संस्कारात सर्वरोगजित ५६
Sesame oil shloka in Ashtanga Hridayam
Ayurvedic Properties, Action Of Sesame Oil (As Described in Ashtanga Hridayam)
Rasa: Madhura, Tikta, Kashaya, Katu
Guna: Guru, Snigdha, Sukshma, Vyavaya
- Tvak Doshahut: Cleanses and detoxifies the skin
- Tvak Prasadana – A skin tonic
- Chakshushya: Good for eyes
- Brmhana: One that promotes strength and bulk
- Prinana: Brings satiety
- Sukshma: Pierces into deep tissues and channels
- Yogavahi: Cleanses and improves the function of srotas; helps in nourishment of tissues.
- Ushna: Hot in potency. Good for balancing Kapha dosha.
- Vrishya: Aphrodisiac
- Medhya: A brain tonic, improves retention power of the brain.
- Krimi: Beneficial For Worm Infestation.
- Relieves constipation
- Improves immunity
- When it is processed with other herbs, it is very beneficial in various diseases.
- Reduces fat in obese people and gives strength to emaciated people.
Black sesame seed is considered a Rasayana drug according to Vagbhata Samhita and Ashtanga Hridayam. It is said to have rejuvnative properties and it nourishes the Asti Dhatu (bone tissue). According to Bhavaprakash Nighantu, black sesame oil is referred to as the best hair tonic, useful for skin problems, wounds, anorexia, dental problems, and galactogtogue.
Black sesame seeds are rich in calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, silicic acid, zinc, Thiamine, Vitamin A, B6, K, E, Fibre, Lnoleic acid, alpha linoleic acid, lecithin.
Black Sesame Oil & Seeds Benefits
Black Sesame Oil For Hair
Ayurveda recognises tremendous krishna tila uses for hair. The seeds contain ample amount of micronutrients like Vitamin B and Iron, the deficiencies of which are major reasons premature greying of hair. It also is full of anti oxidant properties which also contribute to reducing greying. Regular application of the oil can significantly promote hair growth, reduce greying, protect hair from harmful UV rays & pollution. It provide deep moisturization to the strands and hair roots.
How to use black sesame oil for hair?
There are many preparations of tila taila used in Ayurveda. It is generally used as a base for preparation of hair oils and skin oils. You can either purchase pure cold pressed sesame oil and make your own preparation or directly purchase hair oils by renowned Ayurvedic pharmacies. You can directly massage sesame oil on your scalp to increase the hair growth, prevent dandruff, baldness, headache and hair split. You can also make some oils yourself.
Here is an easy recipe you can make yourself:
Black Sesame oil with Coconut oil
You can mix equal quantity (how much every you want to make) of both oils and store it in airtight glass bottle. Coconut oil helps condition the hair and black sesame oil moisturises and gives a blackish tinge to the hair. Massage throughly on head and wash off after 1 to 2 hours. It is also a good idea to wrap a hot towel around your head after massage as it will open up the hair follicles and more oil will reach them to get deep moisturization and conditioning.
Black sesame Oil For Skin Care
Black sesame oil is described as a Tvakprasadana and Tvakdoshahut which means that it detoxifies and cleanses the skin. It also gives nourishment to the skin and acts as a tonic. Sesamin and Sesamolin found in black sesame seeds increase Vitamin E supplies, which is the most important micro nutrient for skin health. Vitamin E and lignans (antioxidants) gives the skin a youthful appearance, improves skin tone and gives it softness.
Due to the presence of linoleic acid, it shows amazing anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties which prevents development of skin issues like eczema, skin infections, wounds and allergies.
Jatyadi Taila which is one of the many Ayurvedic formulations for skin diseases (wounds, burns, hand and mouth disease, sylphillis, eczema, hemorroids, cracked heels, cracked nipples) which contains tila tails as a base oil.
Black sesame Oil For Bones & Teeth
Oil extracted from krishna tila gives deep nourishment to the Asti dhatu / bone tissue. A high calcium and zinc content gives strength to the asti dhatu and prevents diseases like osteoporosis which happen due to elevated vata in the bone tissue. Calcium content helps prevent bone loss which is seen to be a common occurrence in post menopausal women and older men. The black sesame seeds contain 60% more Calcium than the white variety. A high zinc content increases bone mineral density in older population, resulting in prevention of osteoporosis.
Not only bones but teeth are also upadhatu (secondary tissue) of asti dhatu as they are a product of it. Any imbalance in asti dhatu also leaves the teeth weak.
According to Charka, Krishna tila is considered Dantya (good for teeth). There are many ways in which it is used according to the scriptures. Charka recommends it for loose teeth, pyorrhoea, toothache, bad odor.
How to use?
Gandusa is a process where you warm the sesame oil / coconut oil (whichever is suitable for your prakriti), and keep it in your mouth for 10-15 minutes everday. Doing this with tila taila, strengthens the roots of teeth. It also reduces inflammation of gums. The antibacterial properties help in toothaches and dealing with bacterial infections.
Gandusa with sesame seed paste mixed with cold / lukewarm water (called Tilakalkodaka) is good for Dantaharsha (tingling in teeth / hypersensitivity), Dantachala (shaky teeth / loose teeth).
Note: Gandusha is not the same as oil pulling which is popular these days. Oil pulling is same as Kavala which means mouth gargles. In Gandusha, you are just supposed to fill the mouth as much as possible with oil or whatever liquid you are using for the procedure. You are not supposed to move it around in the mouth. Kavala allows swishing and moving around the liquid. Both methods produce different results.
Black sesame Oil For Body Massage / Abhyanga Or For Baby massage
Tila taila is considered the best for Ayurvedic body massage also popularily known as Abhyanga. It is a part of Dinacharya (daily routine) where a person massages his entire body with slightly warm tila taila, and takes a hot bath afterward 30 minutes. This procedure is specially great during the winter as it helps in calming vitiated vata and reduces aches and pains in the body which are more common in winter time of the year. Although other oils like coconut oil is also good but tila taila is considered the best for the purpose.
It is also great for massaging the body of young babies (infants till age of 1 month). Due to the balya property of sesame, the developing muscles of a young child gain strength. Copper present in the oil helps in strengthening the bones, muscles, blood vessels, joints, and bones.
Black Sesame Oil For Respiratory Aid
Tila talla contains a good amount of Magnesium which is good for management of respiratory illnesses like asthma, pneumonia, acute and chronic bronchitis. Even in modern medicine, a compound called Magnesium sulphate is used as a bronchodilator which relaxes the bronchial muscles and expands airways to improve airflow in the lungs. It is used for people suffering with severe case of asthma.
A famous Ayurvedic formulation called Anu taila, which is taken through the nasal cavity for the management of sinusitis, clogged airways, headaches, catarrh, chronic coryza also uses sesame oil as its base.
Black Sesame Seed Benefits For Periods
Tila taila is not used specifically for dealing with menstrual problems but the seeds are used as a remedy in extremely or mildly painful periods or irregular periods.
Remedy: Cook 12gm of tila in 240gm of water till it reduces to 1/4 quantity. Set it aside and let it cool down. Add jaggery and consume regularly in the morning till the problem subsides.
Apart from the above benefits, black sesame seed oil is also considered good for the heart due to its effect of controlling harmful cholesterol level. Good iron content in the seeds help dealing with Anemia if taken regularly in diet.
Rubbing tila taila on your feet before bed, relaxes the mind and gives a restful sleep.
The katu, tikta and ushna virya of krishna tila improves Agni resulting in strengthened digestion and metabolism.
How to eat and how much black sesame seeds to eat per day?
There is a common recipe that is used in south India which you can prepare and keep it in a glass airtight container. Just have 1 tsp (not more!) everyday for constipation, strong bones. It is also recommended for pregnant women after the 4th month.
- 1 cup black sesame seeds
- 3/4 cup jaggery powder (use organic if possible)
- 3 Cardamom pods
- Dry coconut powder (use optionally)
- Dry roast the black sesame seeds for a few minutes
- Take it out of heat and let it cool.
- Blend all ingredients in a blender to make a fine powder.
- Store and consume everyday.
You can check out this video. Although its not in English, you can still follow along
You can consume 5-10 gm/day in powder form and 12-15 gram raw seeds.
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