CLICK: Color Control   Color Choice

sesame ink

An Herb, Sesame

"HECATE....Her sacred herbs: willow, henbane, aconite, yew, mandrake, cyclamen, mint, cypress, date palm, sesame, dandelion, garlic, oak, onion." Perhaps it was the Goddess whose powers led women to perceive that the divine power in Sesame would stimulate their milk, feeding their babies. And even before the time of Moses, the wonderful seed had provided oil for lamps and, in China, when charcoaled, an ink pigment forink blocks used for so many centuries on scrolls and in the type of fine art that only the Chinese have perfected.....

The Sesame Seed Market

The sesame seed market is divided into three sections,the largest part is the Far East, dominated by the huge Japanese demand for sesame seed oil used for cooking. The main Western market features the use of sesame seeds on hamburger buns, which calls for a very high-grade, white seed.

Guatemala has specialised in growing and processing this type of seed for the US . The Middle East is a large producer of sesame and some countries, especially Arab nations, still need to import, mainly from India, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Eritrea1 and Nigeria.

(Crops are harvested in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal, as well as in the US (see Agronomy, in the next column). 

The chief constituent of the seed is its fixed oil , which usually amounts to about 44 to 60 percent. Noted for its stability, the oil resists oxidative rancidity. It is used as a salad or cooking oil, in shortening and margarine, and in the manufacture of soaps, pharmaceuticals, and lubricants,also cosmetics. 

1Agrarian GNP in Eritrea reaches 12%, annually.. Though there has been severe drought in this region, "in the south of Gash Barka sesame is locally important." READ THE REPORT: Eritrea


ink blocksBefore the time of Moses, the Egyptians used the ground seed as grain flour and as lamp oil. The Chinese used it 5,000 years ago, and for centuries they have burned the oil to make soot for the finest Chinese ink blocks.

The Romans ground sesame seeds with cumin to make a tasty spread for bread.

Halvah is a confection made of crushed and sweetened sesame seeds.Check the link below for an interesting site on types of Halvah made in Greece. vintage ink bottle


Depending on conditions, varieties grow from about 0.5 to 2.5 m (2 to 9 feet) tall; some have branches, others do not. One to three flowers appear in the leaf axils. The hulled seeds are creamy or pearly white and about 3 mm (0.1 inch) long and have a flattened pear shape.

The seed capsules open when dry, allowing the seed to scatter. Considerable hand labour is needed in harvesting to prevent loss of the seeds. With the development of a nonscattering variety of the plant in the mid-20th century, mechanized harvesting of the crop was made possible.

vintage sesame botanical


"Most capsules split open at maturity but the indehiscent capsule will not.
Indehiscent, seamless, and shatter resistant lines will not have the seed drop out when the plant is inverted. There are approximately 50 to 80 seeds per capsule. With the first capsule located 1 to 2.5 feet from ground, depending on moisture, fertility, variety, and temperatures.

Shattering varieties are used in countries where sesame is harvested manually. In the United States, shattering types are used to attract wildlife, particularly doves, quail, and pheasants. It is highly drought resistant and grows best in areas where cotton does well. It will grow in all parts of Texas, but frost may injure it on the North Plains (when planted late). Sesame is a very leafy plant that terminates and self-defoliates without a frost."

Click this link: or the image of sesame seed to see a vintage Botanical description

Home of the above notes on Texas Sesame Production :


NAME: Dr. Billy E. Warrick

Texas A&M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center 7887 U.S. Highway 87 North San Angelo, TX 76901

What is sesame seed?

  Sesame is a member of the Pedaliaceae family.The name sesame is derived from Middle English sisame and from the Latin sesamum.


This is a small bush found throughout India. There are three varieties; black, white, red (or brown). White has most oil, black is best for healing.

It is also native to tropical Asian countries. The sesame plant can grow to a height of three feet and is an annual herb. It is an erect plant covered in fine hair and has a square stem.

The leaves are flat, lanceolate in shape and grow in clusters of twos and threes. The flowers are pinkish purple in color or white and are bell shaped. Sesame is planted in the month of May and is harvested by fall or autumn.

Also known as arbenne and formerly classified as Sesamum orientale L., the herb is cultivated extensively in many regions of the world, including the People's Republic of China, India, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sudan, Mexico, Guatemala, and the United States.The plant grows erect and reaches a height of 1 to 2 meters, with fine pubescent leaves, pale rose or white flowers, and a capsule-type fruit from which seeds are obtained (14.1-4). The reported life zone for sesame is from 11 to 29 degrees centigrade with an annual precipitation of 0.2 to 0.4 meters and a soil pH of 4.3 to 8.7 (4.1-31). The crop does best in a warm temperature with a long growing season.

Sesame is used in China to redress afflictions of the liver and kidneys. The seeds are prescribed for problems such as dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and blurred vision.

Owing to their lubricating effect within the digestive tract, the seeds are also considered a remedy for constipation. Sesame seed oil benefits the skin and is used as a base for cosmetics. A decoction of the root is used in various traditions to treat coughs and asthma.  

Sesame oil is also used as a pharmaceutic solvent, and sesamolin is also used as a synergist for pyrethrum insecticides (14.1-35).


The Goddess Hecate

"Granddaughter of Uranus and Rhea, Hecate- who had three bodies and three heads (those of a lion, a dog and a mare)- was the only Titan to retain power after Zeus had overthrown her father Cronus.
She is a mysterious, sinister goddess, connected variously with Demeter, Rhea and Persephone. In her attendance upon Persephone, the goddess of the underworld, she became a spirit having to do with ghosts and witchcraft.
[Hecate is one of the "secret, black and midnight hags" to whom Macbeth goes after "the blood boulter'd Banquo" had appeared at his solemn feast.
Here she is "the close contriver of all harms" and dominant over the Weird Sisters. Lear, in his first explosion of rage, swears by "the mysteries of Hecate and the night"- though Kent's "Now by Apollo, King,/ Thou swear'st thy gods in vain" indicates that she was not regarded as a common fiend or deity."

Her sacred herbs: willow, henbane, aconite, yew, mandrake, cyclamen, mint, cypress, date palm, sesame, dandelion, garlic, oak, onion.

from Mystical Dawn:Goddesses, link no longer available.

Sweets, Sweeties and Where it's Happening  in the US.

Useful links below offer very diverse areas of research

 Photo of Halvah Wikipedia page about Halvah



Make Halvah: You tube video

The Many Faces of Halvah: Kurma Cooking

Hello Poetry

A blessing for your marriage, by Rumi

Your Childs' Intelligence

Sesame Non-Profit Workshop for Parents.


Sesame Production Guide




   Unhulled seeds contain more calcium then hulled seeds. The oils extracted from pressed seeds are used as cooking oil, as a salad oil and in making margarine. The seeds are sprinkled on top of breads and other baked goods. Dried sesame powder is mixed with hot water and sugar to form a congée that is eaten as a dessert

Medicinal uses:

Black Sesame Seed

Six Important Reasons for Eating Black Sesame Seed

 Sesame is supposed to tonify kidney, liver and relax the bowel. It is used for the treatment of constipation due to hard stools, tinnitus, anaemia, clizziness and poor vision.


Mix powdered toasted sesame seeds with ground tuckahoe. Stir one to two teaspoonful into warm water and take in the mornings. Infuse the leaves in some hot boiling water and use this to gargle and treat inflamed membranes of the mouth. Use only after tea has cooled down.

This info was available from The Purple Hedge Shoppe, link not available.



What is indehiscence, again?

Main Entry: in·de·his·cent
Pronunciation: "in-di-'hi-s&nt
Function: adjective
Date: 1832
: remaining closed at maturity <indehiscent fruits>
- in·de·his·cence /-s&n(t)s/ noun

 ( Merriam Webster Online Dictionary)


'When the seed-bearing capsules inside the flowers become ripe, they burst open suddenly with a loud "pop," and the seeds scatter.
This unusual style of auto-harvesting is most likely the inspiration for the phrase "Open Sesame" in the famous story, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves....'


Culinary Facts about Sesame Use:

Sesame seeds are available hulled, unhulled, or ground and are employed as a condiment in breads, pastries, crackers, and confections.
The seeds are also used in stews for the sweet nutty taste they develop upon cooking.

Sesame oil , important because of its low cholesterol and high proportion of polyunsaturated fats, is used in oleomargarine, salad oils, and cooking oils.

Sesame paste or tahini is a popular and nutritious spread in the Middle Eastern countries.

Sesame seed residues have been used as a livestock feed.

"Sesame is generally recognized as safe for human consumption as a spice and natural seasoning (21 CFR section 182.10 [1982]). [Note: References listed above in parentheses can be found in full in the original reference]."

Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Index | Purdue Guide to Medicinal and Aromatic Plants  

interest source/WICCA:

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001. sesame (ss´m) (KEY) ,

....yield an oil that resists turning rancid. The oil (known also as teel oil) is used extensively in India for cooking, soap manufacture, food, and medicine and as an adulterant for olive oil.
........Sesame was introduced by African slaves to the U.S. South, where it sometimes becomes a weed.
Sesame is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Serophulariales, family Pedaliaceae.

Massage Oil

The seed, from Sesamum indicum, Aillu, or sesame is often offered in Hindu religious ritual as it is believed to remote all sin. Sesame oil is used in daily professional massage.

Sesame oil, with the accompanying massage , provides an effective means of reducing fatigue and stress.  

Ayurveda and Massage: quite extensive site


"Archeologists have unearthed the remains of an Assyrian pharmacy that stocked 230 herbs, including almond, anise, caraway, coriander, juniper, saffron, sesame, turmeric, and willow.The Ayurveda ....... "

Explore Nutrition:

Today, the oil remains the primary source of fat in many Middle Eastern and Far Eastern cuisines.

These sites have articles on vegetarianism  by professional nutritionists:

"Sesame seeds are high in protein, vitamin E, calcium, and other minerals. They also contain a good-for-you type of monounsaturated fat.
The oil is stable and highly resistant to oxidation (rancidity), due to the presence of sesamin, a lignan, which is a natural preservative, stabilizer, and antioxidant.

Although nutritious seeds are not easily digested.. It is much more efficient to consume sesame seeds in the form of sesame butter or tahini."

 Fresh sesame seeds should be white or light yellow.

<"Old and rancid seeds acquire a muddy, grayish look. Store sesame seeds in sealed plastic bags in the freezer. Store sesame oil, sesame butter, and tahini in refrigerator."

Unrefined sesame oil

is dark yellow to amber in color. Be sure not to confuse plain, unrefined sesame oil with the Chinese type...

Gomasio: A nice way of incorporating sesame seeds into your daily diet is to keep a shaker jar of gomasio on the table. This is sesame salt, made by :

Information can be obtained from: Mollie (write the contact URL). is linked here to a Sesame Stars cookie recipe, since the nutrition page is off the net. at:

Nutrition: Mollie  (Sesame Stars Cookies)

Historic Bird Sculpture     And, last but not least - I can't believe it!

Women in the Andes seek bird feathers to stimulate breast milk production!

In other areas of the Andes, sesame seeds ("ajonjilí"; Sesamum indicum), heath ("brezo"; Erica vulgaris),
and a broth of beef lung may be served to help a woman's milk comes in.

A paper on a South American bird and breast milk production by:

  Steve Froemming

Ethnobiol Ethnomedicine. 2006; 2: 23.   
(Published online 2006 May 6. doi: 10.1186/1746-4269-2-23.

Copyright © 2006 Froemming; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.)

SESAME Family: Pedaliaceae, Sesamum indicum L. Source: Simon, J.E., A.F. Chadwick and L.E. Craker. 1984.
Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography. 1971-1980.
The Scientific Literature on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate Zone. Archon Books, 770 pp., Hamden, CT. Sesame, Sesaum indicum L.



index ] text-only directory ] column ] herb directory ] moonphase] links] contact ] copyright] credits] dictionary ]

copyright Sue Risk, Northdays Image 2004 - 2015