sesame seeds

Q. You often suggest anti-inflammatory foods as alternatives to pharmacy pain relievers. Why not consider sesame? An ingredient in this seed, sesamin, blocks the inflammatory activity of insulin.

A. Thank you for the suggestion (and the further details below). Although we have been collecting home remedies for decades, we have not encountered any using sesame seeds. That said, we just discovered a clinical trial comparing ground sesame seed plus acetaminophen to acetaminophen (APAP, Tylenol) alone for knee arthritis (International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, Oct., 2013).

The researchers divided 50 people with arthritic knee pain into two groups. One received 2,000 mg of APAP and 500 mg glucosamine daily while the other got the same amount of APAP plus 40 grams of sesame daily.

After two months, those who had taken the sesame seed had significantly less pain and better function than those taking the drug. (Some people may wonder how to measure out 40 grams of ground sesame seeds. This comes to approximately 4 tablespoons, if you don’t have a kitchen scale.) Other scientists have found that sesamin has a beneficial effect on cartilage (Glycoconjugate Journal, online, Dec. 12, 2013). 

Your reasoning might explain why elevated insulin levels, such as occur in pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes, might have a pro-inflammatory effect. This could also explain why excess fat tissue seems to stir up whole-body inflammation.

We discuss many other foods and food products that fight inflammation naturally in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. It reviews many of our favorite foods as well as home remedies.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Karen S.

    I was online and just about to purchase sesame seeds when I realized I needed more info. Do they need to be hulled? I have a coffee grinder but not sure if that will do the trick or not if they are not hulled – or if it even matters. Is there a type that is better (black) etc? Thanks

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.