Sesame oil (also known as gingelly oil or til oil) is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil in South India, it is often used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and to a lesser extent Southeast Asian cuisine.
The oil from the nutrient rich seed is popular in alternative medicine – from traditional massages and treatments to modern day fads. The traditional Indian medical practice of Ayurveda uses sesame oil to pacify stress related symptoms. Ongoing research also indicates that the rich presence of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats in sesame oil could help control blood pressure.
The oil is popular in Asia and is also one of the earliest known crop-based oils, but world-wide mass modern production continues to be limited even today due to the inefficient manual harvesting process required to extract the oil.