Family • Pedaliaceae - Sesamum indicum - SESAME - Hei Chih-ma

Scientific names

Sesamum orientale Linn.
Sesamum indicum Linn.
Sesamum triboliatum Mill.

Common names

Ajonjoli (Span.)
Gingely-oil plant (Engl.)
Lañga (Bik., Tag., Ibn., Bis.)
Lañgis (Pamp.)
Leñga (Ilk.)
Liñga (Tag.)
Linga (Sbl.)
Liñgo (Tag.)
Loñgis (If.)
Luñga (Bis., Sul.)
Hei Chih-ma (Chin.)
Benne seeds (Engl.)
Gingelly (Engl.)
Sesame (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

ARABIC: Sim sim. LAOTIAN: Man nga, Nga.
ARMENIAN: Shooshma. MALAY: Bijan, Wijen.
BURMESE: Hnan zi. POLISH: Sezam indyjski.
CHINESE: Hu ma, Zhi ma (Taiwan). PORTUGUESE: Gergelim, Sésamo.
CZECH: Sezam. RUSSIAN: Kunzhut indiiskii, Sezam.
DANISH: Sesamfrø. SANSKRIT: Tila.
DUTCH: Sesamzaad. SINHALESE: Thel.
ESTONIAN: Harilik seesam. SLOVAKIAN: Sezam.
FINNISH: Seesami. SLOVENIAN: Sezama.
FRENCH: Graines de sésame, Graines de sésame blanc, Graines de sésame blanches, Sésame. SPANISH: Ajonjolí, Semilla de ajonjolí, Sésamo.
GERMAN: Sesam. SWAHILI: Ufuta.
GREEK: Sesami. SWEDISH Sesam.
HEBREW: Shomshom, Shumshum, Sumsum. TAMIL: Cirrel, El, Ellu, Illu, Tilam.
HINDI: Gingli, Safed til, Til. TELUGU: Tillu.
HUNGARIAN: Szézámfi, Szézámmag. THAI: Nga, Nga dam, Nga khao.
ICELANDIC: Sesam, Sesamfræ. TURKISH: Susam.
JAPANESE: Goma, Shiro goma. URDU: Til.
KOREAN: Cham kkae.

Liñga is an erect, annual, hairy herb, 50 to 80 centimeters in height. Leaves are oblong or ovate, 3 to 10 centimeters long, the lower ones lobed, the middle ones toothed, and the uppermost subentire. Leaf stalks are from 1 to 5 centimeters long. Sepals are lanceolate, 6 to 7 millimeters long and imbricate. Corolla is about 3 centimeters long, hairy and whitish, or with purplish, red, or yellow marks. Stamens are 4, inserted. Fruits are capsules, 2- or 4-celled, oblong, about 2.5 centimeters long, erect, and splitting halfway or quite to the base at maturity. Seeds are small and black.


– Cultivated here and there throughout the Philippines.
– Often occurs in open waste places as an escape plant.
– Native of tropical Asia.
– Now pantropic.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings


(1) Presence of acetylcholine-like substance(s) in Sesamum indicum / Anwar-ul Hassan Gilani et al /Archives of Pharmacal Research / Volume 15, Number 1 / March, 1992 / DOI 10.1007/BF02973992

(2) Wound Healing Activity of Sesamum indicum L Seed and Oil in Rats / Kotade Kiran and Mohammed Asad / Indian Journ of Experimental Biology • Vol 46 November 2008, pp 777-782

(3) The health effects of Sesamum indicum (sesame oil) / Sankar D, Rao MR, et al / J Med Food 2006; 9: 408–12.

(4) Investigation of the Analgesic and Antioxidant Activity from an Ethanol Extract of Seeds of Sesamum indicum / L Nahar and Rokonuzzaman / Pakistan Journ of Biological Sciences ª 12 (7): 595-598, 2009

(5) Antioxidant Components as Potential Neuroprotective Agents in Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) / Si-Hyung Park et al / Food Reviews International, Volume 26, Issue 2 April 2010 , pages 103 – 121 / DOI: 10.1080/87559120903564464

(6) Efficacy of vitamin C and ethanolic extract of Sesamum indicum in promoting fertility in male Wistar rats / EA Ashamu, EO Salawu et al / Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences / Year : 2010 | Volume : 3 | Issue : 1 | Page : 11-14

(7) Handbook of African medicinal plants / Maurice M. Iwu / Google Books

(8) Physicochemical Properties of Oil Extracts from Sesamum Indicum L. Seeds Grown in
Jigawa State – Nigeria 
/ Mohammed M I and Hamza Z U / J. Appl. Sci. Environ. Manage. June, 2008, Vol. 12(2) 99 – 101

(9) Sorting Sesamum names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 – 2020 The University of Melbourne.

(10) Antihyperlipidemic Effects of Sesamum indicum L. in Rabbits Fed a High-Fat Diet / Sedigheh Asgary, Mahmoud Rafieian-Kopaei, Somayeh Najafi, Esfandiar Heidarian, and Amirhossein Sahebkar / The Scientific World Journal, Volume 2013 (2013) /

(11) Ardeh (Sesamum indicum) Could Improve Serum Triglycerides and Atherogenic Lipid Parameters in Type 2 Diabetes Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial / Parvin Mirmiran PhD, Zahra Bahadoran MSc, Mahdieh Golzarand MSc, Asadolah Rajab MD, Fereudiyn Azizi MD / Arch Iran Med. 2013; 16(11): 652 – 656

(12) HEPATOPROTECTIVE ACTIVITY OF SESAMUM INDICUM LINN. AGAINST CCL4-INDUCED HEPATIC DAMAGE IN RATS / Munish Kumar / International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archive, Vol 2, No 2, 2011

(13) Formulation and in vitro release properties of a plant gum obtained from sesamum indicum (Fam. pedaliaceae) / Ekaette Akpabio, Clement Jackson*, Peace Ubulom, Musiliu Adedokun, Romanus Umoh, Calister Ugwu / Int J Pharm Biomed Res 2011, 2(3), 166-171


– The white or yellow-seeded varieties provide the best grade of oil, while the dark red, brown, or black-seeded varieties give an inferior grade of oil.
– Has a high percentage of fixed oil which can be used as an antirheumatic in massage treatment.
– Sesame oil, also known as pil or gingelly, has a pale yellow color, a pleasant odor and taste.
– Neither warming nor cooling.
– Seeds are considered emollient, nourishing, tonic, diuretic, and lactagogue.
– Oil considered demulcent, emollient, diuretic, emmenagogue, lactagogue and laxative.

• Seed contain fixed oil, 47-59%; saccharose, pentosan, lecithin; choline; phytine; globuline, 22%; sesamin.
• The oil consists of olein, linolein, palmitin, and stearin; fatty acids consist of oleic, linoleic, linolenic, palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic, eicosenoic.
• Study on the chemical constituents of the flowers of Sesamum indicum yielded six flavones: apigenin, ladanetin, ladanetin-6-O-beta-D-glucoside, apigenin-7-O-glucuronic acid, pedalitin, and pedalitin-6-O-glucoside.
• Seeds yield lignan, lignan glycosides, and sterols; phenylethanoid glycosides from the whole plant, and phenolic acids from the leaves and seeds.
• A petroleum ether fraction of an alcoholic extract yielded sesamin, sesamolin, stigmasterol, ß-sitosterol, and stigmasterol-3-O-ß-D-glucoside. A butanol fraction yielded ferulic acid, rhamnetin, verbascoside, kaempferol-3-O-ß-D-glucorunide, and mequelianin (quercetin-3-O–D-glucuronide). .


Parts used and preparation
· Seeds
· Collect seeds as soon as the fruits ripen, harvest the above ground portion, sun-dry and collect the seeds, dry again.

Edibility / Culinary
· Whole seeds used by bakers in making cakes and sweetmeats.
· Used for cooking; for margarine; also used to adulterate olive oil.

· For chronic constipation, roasted seeds are taken alone, with honey, or mixed liberally with other foods.
· Oil extracted from seeds used as antirheumatic in massage therapy.
· Burned stalks applied to hemorrhoids.
· Leaves, which abound in the gummy matter, mixed with water to form a bland mucilage used for infantile cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, catarrh, cystitis, and strangury.
· Plaster of ground seeds applied to burns and scalds.
· Leaves with equal parts of sesame oil and lime water are a popular dressing for burns and scalds.
· Decoction of seeds with linseed used for coughs and as aphrodisiac.
· Lotion made from roots and leaves used as a hair wash; also used to promote hair growth and make it black.
· Decoction of seeds laxative for children.
· The oil of seed used for treatment of ulcers and suppurating wounds.
· White seeds promote menstruation.
· Diseases of the kidney or liver associated with dizziness, tinnitus, and haziness of vision: get see preparation from 8 to 14 gms and mix with equal volume of Morus leaf preparation. Powder, add honey and water and drink.
· Seeds ground to a paste with water, given with butter, for bleeding piles.
· In large quantities, seeds capable of producing abortion.
· Alopecia (baldness) due to prolonged illness: fry seeds, crush and add sugar, then eat 1 to 2 tbsp daily.
· In Sierra Leone the mucilaginous juice of the plant is used by women to destroy headlice.
· In India, seeds used for wound healing.
· In Yucatan, seeds given as laxative to children.
· Seeds and oil used as emmenagogue.
· Malays use the oil in tonics.
· In Africa, decoction of leaves used as aphrodisiac. Decoction of plant used for malaria. Leaves chewed as alternative to tobacco. Powdered leaf applied to snake bites. Decoction of seeds used for hemorrhoids and regulation of the menstrual cycle.
· In European medicine the oil was once used pulmonary tuberculosis.


· Perfumery: Oil use in perfumery in Europe, North America and India.
· Lotion from leaves and roots used for healthy hair growth and color restoration.

Study Findings
• Free Radical Scavenging / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the free radical scavenging capacity of antioxidants from sesame cake extract using a DPPH kinetic model.
• Antioxidant / Analgesic: Study observed antioxidant and analgesic activity of the ethanol extract of seeds of SI with inhibition of writhing response comparable to ibuprofen. Study also showed an antioxidant activity compared to standard antioxidant ascorbic acid.
• Antioxidant / Neuroprotective: Lignans and tocopherols, identified as major antioxidants in Sesamum indicum have also been reported to have protective effects against neurodegenerative disease. Sesame seeds and its antioxidants may be a potent natural agent with both therapeutic and preventive applications in neurodegenerative diseases in humans.
• Lipid Effects: Effect of Sesame Oil on Serum Lipids in Rats: Sesame oil increased S cholesterol and LDL-C in hypercholesterolemic diet fed rats, with no significant effects on serum lipids of normocholesterolemic rats.
• Acetylcholine-like Substance: Alcoholic extract of seeds of Sesamum indicum caused hypotensive effects in anesthetized rats. It also caused decreased rate and force of atrial contractions; contractile responses in rat uterus. The results indicate that the alcoholic extract of SI contain acetylcholine-like constituents that explains its folkloric use.
• Wound Healing: Sesamum indicum seeds and oil applied topically showed wound healing activity with significant reduction in period of epithelization and wound contraction.
• Health Effects of Sesame Oil: Study on the effect of SI in hypertensive diabetics on atenolol and sulfonylurea showed reduction in systolic and diastolic BP, decrease in glucose, HbA1C, LDL and TC, with increase in activities of enzymic and non-enzymic levels of antioxidants.
• Fertility Effects: Study of the ethanolic extract of Sesamum indicum, vitamin C and SI+VC promote fertility from their testosterone-increasing effects and their antioxidant effects.
• Insecticidal: Sesamin has been shown to be insecticidal and is synergistic to pyrethrum.
• Physiochemical Properties of Sesame Oil: Study showed the acid value which is the index of free fatty acid content due to enzymatic activity was very low (2) No potential for soap making High peroxide value seed oils were cyanide free seeds are a good source of oil, with a seed content of 50% light yellow crude oil with a pleasant smell.
• Residual Aerial Parts Composition / Antihyperglycemic / Antioxidant: A petroleum ether fraction of an alcoholic extract yielded sesamin, sesamolin, stigmasterol, ß-sitosterol, and stigmasterol-3-O-ß-D-glucoside. A butanol fraction yielded ferulic acid, rhamnetin, verbascoside, kaempferol-3-O-ß-D-glucorunide, and mequelianin (quercetin-3-O–D-glucuronide). Tested extracts exhibited a reductive effect on blood glucose of diabetic rats, attributed to possible inhibition of free radicals and inhibition of tissue damage induced by alloxan. ß-sitosterol and ferulic acid may have contributed to the hypoglycemic activity of the alcoholic extract. The alcoholic extract has a potential as an alternative natural antioxidant, antihyperglycemic and anticoagulant.
• Antihyperlipidemic: Study investigated the anti-hyperlipidemic effect of sesame in a high-fat fed rabbit model. Results showed supplementation with sesame oil, but not sesame seed, can ameliorate serum levels of lipids and hepatic enzymes in rabbits under a high-fat diet.
• Toxicity Study: Study investigated the toxic effect of an ethanolic leaf extract of Sesamum indicum on the histomorphology of adult Wistar rats liver. The leaf extract caused an ephased architectural pattern with atrophic hepatocytes and dilated sinusoid suggesting toxicity to the liver of Wistar rats.
• Ardeh/ Anti-Atherogenic / Decreased CVD Risks: Study investigated the effects of Ardeh, paste of ground unhulled sesame seeds, on lipid profiles and atherogenic lipid parameters on 41 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Results showed significant decrease in serum triglycerides and atherogenic index of plasma (AIP) with slight decreases in other atherogenic lipid parameters and a mild increase in HDL-C. Results suggest Ardeh could have favorable effects in decreasing CVD risk factors in T2DM
• Hepatoprotective / Seeds / CCl4-Induced Hepatic Damage: Study of ethanolic extracts of S. indicum seeds showed potent hepatoprotective action against carbon tetrachloride induced hepatic damage in rats.
• Plant Gum / Formulation and In Vitro Release Properties: Study evaluated the properties of a plant gum obtained from S. indicum. Moisture content was found to be low. All formulations released the drug in the hydrated matrix through polymer relaxation. The findings suggest the gum can be used for intestinal drug delivery.
• Antioxidant / Seeds: Study evaluated ethanol extracts of white and black varieties of S. indicum. Results showed sesame seed extracts possess high antioxidant activity and that the white variety elicit better antioxidant activity than the black one.

Cultivated for culinary use.