Sesame seed oil has been around for thousands of years, so long that scientists are unable to agree on which country first used it for its many healing properties and health benefits.
Sesame oil originates from the Sesamum indicum plant. It is made by pressing the plant’s seeds to obtain the oils.
Sesame oil contains healthy, unsaturated fatty acids including linoleic, palmitic, oleic and stearic acids. These are easily absorbed and digestable. It also contains vitamins A, B, and E.
There are many health benefits of sesame oil when taken with food. Sesame oil has been proven to:
- Lower the risk of the high blood pressure and reduce plaque in artery walls
- Slow down the aging process (anti-aging)
- Improve immune system functioning by increasing levels of vitamin E, iron, and calcium
In addition, sesame oil is a fantastic tool for getting rid of toxins when used for oil pulling.
In ayurvedic practices, oil pulling is a method of detox recommended to be incorporated into your daily routine. You basically swish your mouth with an oil and allow it to pull out all the toxic waste in your body. Oil pulling with sesame oil has many health benefits including:
- Releasing bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites from the body
- Reducing heavy metals in the blood stream
- Improving the health of gum tissue, including fighting the bacteria that cause gum disease
- Whitening teeth
- Encouraging the blood and lymphatic systems to cleanse by stimulating the production of saliva
- Encouraging the release of toxins from the organs and balances the three ayurvedic doshas (pitta, vata, and kapha). In Ayurvedic Medicine, it is held that dis-ease is caused when the balance among the three doshas in a human body are unbalanced. (Read more about Ayurveda below.)
It is a wonderful alternative to chemical-filled mouth washes or teeth whiteners. And a great every-day cleanser you can add to your morning routine.
How to use sesame oil for detoxing and oil pulling:
The best time of day to use sesame oil is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, ideally before brushing your teeth. You can do it while you shower, while you cook breakfast, however or whenever works for you.
Place 1 TBSP of plain sesame oil in your mouth and swish for at least 10 minutes, but aim for up to 20 minutes. You will notice the oil turning to a light white color as it fills with residues and toxins from your body. This means it is important to completely spit the oil residue out into the garbage (not down your drains or you will block your plumbing!) and then rinse your mouth with water thoroughly, being sure not to swallow the used oil.
And lastly, sesame oil can also be used for a moisturizing and grounding full body massage. It is wonderful for achieving glowing, healthy-looking skin and protecting skin from the harsh effects of the sun and pollution.
To perform a self-massage (which most people will find easiest to do), apply 1-2 TBSP of sesame oil all over the body, paying special attention to the head, face, and feet, before getting into the shower. These areas are especially sensitive, and are places where we can fully receive the grounding, warming effects that sesame oil massage has to give. (It is helpful for balancing the vata dosha, for example.)
First, massage the body from the head, down, while focusing on sending healing and loving energy to your body. Most of us tend to ignore our bodies, and all that they do for us, so take this time to be grateful for all that it does to support us in life.
Then to stimulate the body’s circulation, you may take a turn rubbing the sesame oil vigorously, paying special attention to areas with cellulite or toxin (ama) buildup that you want to release.
Enter into the shower and allow the oils to soak into the skin by rinsing with warm, hot water for about 5-10 minutes.
You may also want to try ending your showers with a quick blast of cold water. (Switching from hot to cold temperatures has many health benefits, including weight loss, improving blood pressure, balancing the life force flow, and waking you up!)
What kind of sesame oil is best to buy?
The best sesame oil for health benefits, and especially for cleansing is an organic, cold-pressed sesame oil. Refined or unrefined will be okay to use, but refined tends to be lighter.
To learn more about the basics of Ayurveda, visit this article on Ayurveda 101.
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