Sesame
Sesame

Background

Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is crop that's grown for the oil in its seed. It's found in tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, Africa, and South America.

Sesame contains chemicals that might help reduce swelling, increase wound healing, and slow how fast sugar is absorbed from food. Sesame seeds are also rich sources of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants.

People use sesame oil for high blood pressure. It is also used for cough, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

As of 2021, sesame is considered a major food allergen in the US. Sesame contents must be labeled on all packaged foods after January 2023.
When taken by mouth: Sesame is commonly consumed in foods. Sesame oil is possibly safe when used as a medicine, short-term. Sesame might cause allergic reactions in some people.

When applied to the skin: Sesame oil is possibly safe. Sesame might cause allergic reactions in some people.

When sprayed into the nose: Sesame oil is possibly safe when used short-term. Sesame oil can cause nasal dripping and blockage when used as a nasal spray.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if sesame is safe to use as medicine when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Children: Sesame oil is possibly safe when taken by mouth as a medicine, short-term.

A gastric obstruction called benign anastomotic stricture: Sesame seeds contain a lot of fiber. This might increase the risk of bowel obstruction in people with this condition.

Surgery: Sesame might affect blood sugar levels, making blood sugar control difficult during and after surgery. Stop using sesame in medicinal amounts at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Effectiveness

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
  • High blood pressure. Taking sesame oil by mouth seems to slightly reduce blood pressure in people with and without high blood pressure.
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
  • Cough. Taking sesame oil by mouth doesn't reduce coughing in children with a common cold.
There is interest in using sesame for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

Sesame seeds and sesame oil are commonly consumed in foods.

As medicine, sesame oil has most often been used by adults in doses of up to 35 grams by mouth daily for 6-12 weeks. Sesame oil has also been applied to the skin. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Sesame might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Sesame oil might lower blood sugar levels. Taking sesame oil along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Sesame oil might lower blood pressure. Taking sesame oil along with medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. Monitor your blood pressure closely.

Medications moved by pumps in cells (P-glycoprotein substrates)

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Some medications are moved in and out of cells by pumps. Sesame might change how these pumps work and change how much medication stays in the body. In some cases, this might change the effects and side effects of a medication.

Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Sesame seed might reduce the effects of tamoxifen. People using tamoxifen should avoid taking sesame in amounts greater than those in food.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure: Sesame oil might lower blood pressure. Taking it with other supplements that have the same effect might cause blood pressure to drop too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include andrographis, casein peptides, L-arginine, niacin, and stinging nettle.
Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Sesame oil might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 29/06/2023 10:00:00 and last updated on 04/10/2022 05:48:54. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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