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Sesame seed is an important ingredient in culinary traditions of many countries, especially the countries in West Asia. Sesame seed carry 55% of oil content. Sesame oil is used for cooking, cosmetics, paints and lubricants. The byproduct obtained after extracting oil is used as feed for livestock.
Global output of sesame seed is estimated at around 3 million ton per year with India and China dominating production. Global sesame output occurs mainly around few countries in Asia and Africa. Global sesame seed trade is estimated 500,000-600,000 ton per year.
India accounts for nearly 30% of global output and plays an important role in global sesame business. Mainly cultivated in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa and West Bengal, sesame seeds come in three varieties in the country -- yellowish, red and black seeds.
The eastern region comprising West Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Andhra Pradesh mostly produce red and black variety sesame which is inferior to the white sesame grown in Maharashtra and other western states. In the eastern region sesame is normally sown after the potato crop with mild doses of fertilizers. Not much irrigation is required.
The total global production of sesame seed sums up to around 30 lakh tons annually, China being the highest seed producer. The production as well as consumption of sesame seeds has been in the up trend since the last decade and both the figures are rising steadily.
Sesame seed oil has been used as healing oil for thousands of years. Sesame oil is mentioned in the Vedas as excellent for humans. It is naturally antibacterial for common skin pathogens, naturally antiviral and a natural anti inflammatory agent.
In recent experiments in Holland by Ayurvedic physicians, the oil has been used in the treatment of several chronic disease processes, including hepatitis, diabetes and migraines.