TILA (Sesamum Indicum)
Tlla enjoys the cardinal place among medicinal herbs in India since ancient times. It was held in high esteem by the ancient scholars of Ayurveda. Indeed, this nature’s gift is a divine herb. It has various synonyms in Ayurvedic scriptures like pavitra, homadhanya, pitrtarpana, papaghna, vanodbhava, jartila etc. Charka, the great sage, has categorized tila as snehana (oleating), swedopaga (adjunct to sweating therapy) and purisa virajaniya (gives color to the stool). Charka has mentioned its properties, that, it promotes longevity and preserves youth; it strengthens the body and boosts its resistance. Maharishi Susruta has adored tila taila (sesame oil) as one of the best amongst all herbal oils and described it as brmhana – bulk promoting, suksma (subtle), prinana (endows satiety), vrishya (aphrodisiac), tvakprasadana (skin tonic), medhya (enhances retention power).
The plant is cultivated all over India in the plains and upto an altitude of 1200 meters. It is an erect, pubescent annual, reaching 30 cm to 1 meter in height. The leaves numerous, alternate, very variable in form. Ovate or oblong-lanceolate, usually tapering at the base. The flowers are white, pink or purplish, shortly stalked, solitary in the axils of the leaves and hairy. The fruits, quadrangular compressed capsules, narrowly oblong, with rounded angles. The seeds numerous, flattened, rounded triangular or oval in outline. Ayurvedic Samhita mention that the white seeds yield more oil, where as, black seeds have better medicinal value.
The botanical name of tila is Sesamum indicum and it belongs to family pedaliaceae. The tila seeds (Sesame seeds) contain many vitamins like thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, nicotinic acid, pantothenic, folic and ascorbic acids, choline, inositol, pyridoxine, vitamin A, and tocopherol. Sugars present are glucose, sucrose, galactose, planteose and raffinose. The fatty acids in the seeds are myristic, palmitic, stearic, arachidic, oleic, linoelic, hexadecenoic and linoceric acids. Sesamin isolated from seed oil and three stereoisomeric forms of sesamin, viz. sesamin, asarinin and epiasarinin. The leaves afforded a new flavone glycoside pedalin. A new antioxidant sesamol and tocopherol were obtained from seeds.
Tila is pungent, bitter, astringent and sweet in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It alleviates all the three doshas, predominantly, vata. It possesses heavy and oily attributes. It has special potency as a hair tonic. The chief properties of tila oil are a hair tonic, galactogtogue, an appetizer general tonic digestant and it is used in skin diseases, wounds, anorexia and dental diseases (Bhavaprakash Nighantu)
The seeds and seed oil is used for medicinal purpose. As the seed oil (sesame oil) has various properties, it is the most widely used oil, by Ayurvedic practitioners and pharmacy. Externally, the massage with tila oil reduces the dryness of the skin and alleviates the vata dosha. The local application of the pulp of tila seeds promotes the wounds healing and relieves the pains in hemorrhoids also. The roots and leaves are emollient and a decoction of them forms a good hair wash, which promotes the hair growth, blacken them and bestows texture. To strengthen the teeth and gums and to help receding gums the tila oil is massaged on gums or the seeds are chewed. The paste of ground seeds of tila can also be used as a face pack in dry skin. Tila oil is widely used in Panchakarma therapy for snehana (oleation), basti (enema) and nasya (nasal therapy). In medicated oil sesame oil forms a fat soluble medium. In Ayurvedic pharmacy, tila oil shares the major portion of oil preparations as the base. The massage with the combination of sesame oil and nutmeg oil is effective in swollen joints. The whole body massage with tila oil is salutary in obesity as well as in emaciation. It is extremely beneficial in vata diseases like paralysis, facial palsy etc. Internally, tila oil is used in vast range of diseases. In bleeding piles, the seeds are given along with butter. The sees powder, butter and rock candy is recommended in nonspecific ulcerative colitis. The seeds mashed with milk are given to nourishing mothers to augment the quantity of breast milk. The same preparation given along with rock candy is benevolent in Dysurea. In urinary calculi, the burnt ash of tila plant is given along with honey. Tila oil is a valuable remedy for dysmenorrheal and amenorrhea. It is also salutary in general, mental and sexual debility. It works well in hiccup and asthma as a snehana (oleation).
Classical Ayurvedic Preparation
Many more oil preparations having tila taila as a base.