Sesame oil has been used by many cultures around the world including China, Japan, South India and the Middle East in a variety of cooking styles. When it is toasted it has a wonderful roasted, nutty flavour.
Its history goes back thousands of years to ancient Babylon, Assyria and Egypt and the Indus Valley in India, used as a flour, spread on bread, and as a cooking oil.
In Sanskrit, oil means love – what a beautiful way to love yourself by giving a massage from your scalp to your toes.
Some have dubbed sesame oil (Sesamum indicum) the Queen of Oils!
In India sesame oil is used for massage and is a fundamental part of the nurturing Ayurvedic massage tradition. According to Banyan Botanicals self-massage has the following benefits:
- Promotes physical strength
- Nourishes muscles and bones
- Bolsters your ability to handle stress
- Promotes sound sleep patterns
- Supports the intellect and nervous system
- Nourishes your skin and hair
Remember to use the pure sesame oil, not the “toasted” kind used for cooking!
Before special celebrations in India (and there are many), children and adults would massage their scalp and hair with sesame oil.
When done before bed, you can put on a cloth cap and shampoo it off in the morning. Remember to apply the shampoo first before getting your hair wet in order for the shampoo to release the oil. This way you can let the Vitamins B and E, magnesium, calcium, zinc and phosphorous be absorbed as you sleep. Try it once a week and see how much richer your hair looks.
Frazzled nerves, insomnia, cold extremities? Self-massaging with warmed sesame oil is another healthy application that can alleviate these conditions.
Warming the oil and placing a few drops in your ear can also help support ear health. Part of the body massage includes gently rubbing the outside of the ear, that soft cartilage close to your face, the lobes, and behind the ear. This can be very relaxing, especially good as a bedtime routine to help you sleep.
Don’t forget about your feet! Done at bedtime, rubbing a small amount of oil into the soles of your feet can help you get a more restful sleep. Put on a pair of socks so you don’t slip or get your bedding too oily.
Using long strokes for the limbs and circular motions around your joints, chest and abdomen will give your body the extra love and care it deserves. Start at the extremities and move towards the center of the body. Enjoy a warm shower or bath, taking care not to slip with oily feet.
Some people use it to help their teeth and gums by swishing (called oil-pulling) it in the mouth for 1-2 and up to 10 minutes. In one study it was shown to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth. Do not swallow or gargle with this oil. Spit residue into a tissue and place in garbage.
If you aren’t too squeamish, put a couple of drops in each nostril, sniff gently and rub the outside of your nose.
This is an ancient tradition worth exploring. Treat yourself Royally.