Sesame (Sesamum indicum) (pronounced /ˈsɛsəmiː/) is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum. Numerous wild relatives occur in Africa and a smaller number in India. It is widely naturalized in tropical regions around the world and is cultivated for its edible seeds, which grow in pods. The flowers of the sesame seed plant are yellow, though they can vary in colour with some being blue or purple.
Food features:It is an annual plant growing to 50 to 100 cm (1.6 to 3.3 ft) tall, with opposite leaves 4 to 14 cm (1.6 to 5.5 in) long with an entire margin; they are broad lanceolate, to 5 cm (2 in) broad, at the base of the plant, narrowing to just 1 cm (0.4 in) broad on the flowering stem. The flowers are white to purple, tubular, 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) long, with a four-lobed mouth.
Place of origin:Despite the fact that the majority of the wild species of the genus Sesamum are native to sub-saharan Africa, Bedigian (1984, 1988, 1998, 2000, 2003) demonstrated that sesame was first domesticated in India, citing morphological and cytogenetic affinities between domesticated sesame and the south Indian native S. mulayanum Nair., as well as archeological evidence that it was cultivated at Harappa in the Indus Valley between 2250 and 1750 BC, and a more recent find of charred sesame seeds in Miri Qalat and Shahi Tump in the Makran region of Pakistan.
Nutrition:The seeds are exceptionally rich in iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, and calcium (90 mg per tablespoon for unhulled seeds, 10 mg for hulled), and contain vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin E (tocopherol).
Dietotherapy function:They contain lignans, including unique content of sesamin, which are phytoestrogens with antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Among edible oils from six plants, sesame oil had the highest antioxidant content.Sesame seeds also contain phytosterols associated with reduced levels of blood cholesterol. The nutrients of sesame seeds are better absorbed if they are ground or pulverized before consumption, as in tahini.