The oil is prepared from large, round, black sesame seeds, which have a sweet taste. Chinese medicine practitioners often prescribe the oil, sometimes called hu ma you, for constipation. They also use the sesame seeds as a laxative. Traditional Chinese medicine characterizes sesame oil as sweet and neutral.
Sesame seeds or oil is available at Chinese pharmacies, Asian markets and Western health food stores. The seeds are also available in tablet form. A tablespoonful of the oil by itself in the evening is considered effective for constipation.
Combinations: Sesame oil is also mixed with therapeutic oils that contain other medicinally useful herbs. One remedy for constipation combines the seeds with chicken eggs; another formula mixes sesame seeds, dong quai and biota seeds. Chinese medicine practitioners prescribe a combination of sesame seeds and white mulberry leaf for dizziness, blurred vision, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and headaches. For information on dosages and other preparations, check with a Chinese medicine practitioner.