By Syed Akbar Sesamum indicum or gingelly is one of the oldest herbs known to man. In fact, man started cultivating this herb almost 4500 years ago. Sesamum has been associated with a number of civilisations including the Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and Indus Valley. The medicinal properties of Sesamum have been exploited to their fullest in almost all systems of medicine. It is believed that the plant had its origin in Africa and then spread to various parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, China, and Indian sub-continent. Sesamum is known to induce abortion if consumed in large quantities. It's better that pregnant women avoid using Sesamum in large quantities. Sesamum seed and leaves are used in medicinal preparations. Seeds can be used raw, roasted or in the form of oil extracted from them. Leaves are grounded to obtain paste and used for external applications. The medicinal properties of Sesamum are many. But it is valued for its cholesterol lowering property. Other medicinal uses are treatment of piles, skin troubles including burns and wounds, loose motions, dandruff, low haemoglobin content in the blood (anaemia), rheumatoid arthritis and tooth decay. It also promotes hair growth and helps in keeping the hair black for a longer period. It can be used as a general health tonic. =================== Home Remedies =================== If you are bothered by dried ear was, you can get relief by pouring two or three drops of pure Sesamum oil into the ears. The wax gets softened and it can be removed easily. Anaemia or low haemoglobin levels in the blood can be over come by regularly taking Sesamum seeds with a pinch of jaggery. Pregnant women should avoid Sesamum and jaggery as a precautionary measure. Since it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, chewing a tablespoon of Sesamum seeds will help in keeping the stomach and digestive tract free of harmful organism, and keeps the skin glowing. Since it is rich in vitamin E, Sesamum oil if gently massaged on the head helps in promotion of hair growth. It also fights dandruff. Take only a few drops of oil and massage on the scalp. Crushed leaves of Sesamum can also be applied. Take Sesamum seeds, ground them into power, take a teaspoon of this powder, mix it with a little quantity of honey and consume it twice a day to keep the body in good health. Decoction obtained from the leaves of Sesamum can be massaged on the head to prevent premature greying of hair. A few drop of lime juice mixed with a few drops of Sesamum oil can be applied as natural ointment for relief from burns, and to beat dry skin. Make Sesamum seed paste and mix it with butter. Consume it twice a day for relief from painful piles.