Sesame seeds may relieve liver damage caused by modern drugs

If you are having trouble with your liver, you should add sesame seeds to your diet. An article in Green Med Info referred to the seeds of the sesame (Sesamum indicum) as one of the best hepatoprotective foods in the world.

Sesame seeds are a staple in traditional cuisine and folk medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine prescribes the healing food for cleansing and healing the liver.

The role of the liver is to remove toxic chemicals from the body. However, it is easily damaged by the hepatotoxic chemicals that make up pharmaceutical drugs.

It doesn’t matter if a patient follows the prescribed dose to a tee. The chemical composition of many drugs will poison the liver, no matter the dose. Those that are found to cause too much liver damage are hastily pulled from the market, although by then the damage is done.

The Journal of The Chinese Medical Association urged the development of a hepatoprotectant that can heal liver injury. The relevant editorial identified sesame seed and the oil derived from those seeds as a natural hepatoprotectant. (Related: Compelling research concludes sesame seed paste can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 39% in only 6 weeks.)

Sesamin, the hepaprotective lignan in sesame oil

Sesame oil contains large amounts of a lignan called sesamin. Lignans are a common polyphenol found in many edible plants.

Sesamin helps regulate the immune system. It does this by preventing excessive inflammation that can harm sensitive cells and tissues.

Other beneficial effects include reducing blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels; lowering the risks of cancer; stopping the formation of potentially dangerous clots inside blood vessels; and providing antioxidants. In particular, sesamin can protect the liver from the damage caused by alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs.

The National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Taiwan conducted a number of animal studies involving the hepatoprotective effects of sesame oil. They found that the oil decreases oxidative stress that can damage liver cells.

Protecting the liver against toxic pain relievers

Furthermore, sesame oil was shown to protect the liver from the injurious effects of acetaminophen. A pharmaceutical drug used to relieve minor pain, acetaminophen depletes the important antioxidant glutathione.

By producing toxic free radicals and oxidizing lipids, acetaminophen can damage the liver to the point of stopping the organ’s functions. More than 450 people die each year due to acetaminophen-related liver failure.

Sesamin prevents this by replenishing the stockpile of glutathione in the liver. The lignan also decreases free radicals and stops lipid peroxidation, thereby preventing acetaminophen from damaging the liver.

Ironically, sesamin can also do the job of pain relievers without damaging the liver. A 2013 study by researchers from the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences reported that 40 grams of sesame seeds were better than Tylenol when it came to alleviating the pain caused by knee arthritis.

To top it all off, sesame seeds also provide plenty of vital nutrients like calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamine, and zinc. Sesame oil is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

How to get the most out of sesame seeds

There are a lot of ways to consume sesame seeds. You can eat them as they are, process them into tahini paste, or get sesame oil.

Sesame oil is excellent for stir-fry and other cooking recipes. Add garlic and ginger to best bring out its flavor. Make sure to get unrefined oil that has not been processed with chemicals.

Toasted sesame oil should not be used for cooking. Instead, use it as a finishing oil for dressing and marinades.

Visit to read more articles on natural hepatoprotectants like sesame seeds.

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