The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Sesamum indicum L.
  • Sesamum orientale L.
  • Pedaliaceae
  • Pedalium family

Common Names

  • Hei-chih-ma (Chinese name)
  • Sesame seed
  • Tila (Sanskrit name)

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Parts Usually Used

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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Sesame is a strong, slender annual growing to 1 1/2-3 feet tall, with slender, dark-green leaves, 5 inches long, and inch-long, pale pink flowers, resembling foxglove, which lie along the square stem. The seeds vary in color: red, black, brown, or creamy white seeds. Seedpods will not develop without adequate moisture; requires watering during dry periods. It is a warmth-loving plant which will only mature its seeds in our southern states and Hawaii, though it may be started early in pots in the north and planted in the garden for decorative purposes. Full sun. Zones 8-10.

Another variety: The Chinese use a plant called sesame (Sesamum indicum) that they name Hu-ma. The famous general, Chang Chien, took the seed from the West to China when he made his famous tour in the time of the Han dynasty.
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Where Found

A native to Africa and the warmer parts of Asia. Naturalized from Florida to Texas, it is happiest in its native tropics and will grow in warm climates. Requires full sun and rich, moist soil.
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Medicinal Properties

Demulcent, digestive, excretory, emollient, laxative, nutritive, tonic
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Biochemical Information

Over 50% fatty oil, (including olein, linolein, palmitin, stearin and myristin), lecithin, choline, 1% oxalate acid, choroginic acid, vitamins E, A and B and appreciable amounts of calcium.
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Earliest records show that sesame seed was a staple food and oil source in China, Japan, and India, and was used in ancient Greece. The Egyptians and Persians of Biblical times ground it into a kind of flour, from which they made bread. The Romans crushed the seed and used it like butter for a spread on bread. Today it is still used as a bread spread, the oil being used in the manufacture of some oleo-margarines.

Each plant produces only 1 tbsp. of seed, often none in cool climates.

One source claims that the halva candy is an aphrodisiac. It contains a rich supply of potassium and magnesium salts of aspartic acid. In addition, you get a bonus of vitamin E (called the fertility vitamin), calcium, phosphorus, and unsaturated fatty acids (vitamin F) as well as lecithin, and 50% more protein than meat. The hormone hypophyseal produced by the pituitary gland is basically protein in nature and obviously needs this nutrient in the diet for its development. This hormone is a key factor to healthy activity of the sex glands. So that is why some people call halva the Sex Candy.
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Nourishes the liver and kidneys, lubricates dry intestines, darkens prematurely graying hair. Treats backache, tinnitus, blurry vision, migraines, vertigo or dizziness, chronic constipation, hemorrhoids, dysentery, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, receding gums, tooth decay, hair loss, weak bones, osteoporosis, emaciation, dry cough, blood in the urine, weak knees, stiff

Because of its easily assimilated calcium content, it nourishes the blood, calms nervous spasms, and alleviates headaches, dizziness and numbness caused by deficient blood. Its a good tonic, particularly for the aged.

The oil of sesame will help burns, boils, ulcers, sunburn, remove freckles, age spots.
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Formulas or Dosages

The seeds are thoroughly ground into powder and mixed into a paste with honey; take 2 tsp. daily. In the Middle East this mixture is eaten as a candy called halva. If you make your own, for variety add a dash of vanilla or maple flavoring, or add chopped nuts or dates. Shape into 2 tsp. balls or patties and refrigerate. Eat one patty per day. It has the consistency of fudge.

For dry cough, asthmatic and lung conditions, combine the powdered seeds with a pinch of black pepper, ginger juice, and honey. Take 1 tbsp. 3 times a day.
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Nutrient Content

Carbohydrates, phosphorus, niacin, protein, calcium, vitamins C, E and A, and unsaturated fatty acids.
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How Sold

Halva or Halvah bars can be obtained in health food stores but be sure to read the label, some are fortified with large amounts of sugar or corn syrup instead of honey. There are various flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and marbled, or with chopped nut covering.

You can buy sesame seeds at health food stores, mail order health food companies, herb companies, and even at some supermarkets or corner grocery stores.
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Care should be taken in obesity.
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Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! The Magic of Herbs in Daily Living, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Co. (1988).

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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