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Black Sesame Oil Wash

What’s one thing you can do to keep your immune system healthy and able to ward off illness during cold and flu season? The answer can’t be found on a pharmacy shelf. Instead, search online or visit an Asian grocery store and pick up a bottle of pure, 100 percent black sesame oil. It will deliver health benefits beyond measure.

You may have used sesame oil in cooking. And if you’ve consulted the food energy charts available through Wu’s Healing Center, you know that, taken internally, sesame oil tends to warm the body. But the immune-supporting remedy you’re about to discover calls for the oil of pure black — not white, not roasted or toasted — sesame seed. And instead of consuming the oil, you’re going to apply it externally as a therapy that starts with the body’s largest organ: the skin.

How It Works

1. Before your bath or shower, pour a modest amount of black sesame oil in the palm of your hand and apply it to dry skin, paying particular attention to your face, neck, chest, arms, and legs. If desired, you can warm the oil by letting the bottle sit in a pan of warm water for a few minutes before applying.

2. Shower or bathe as usual, in warm — not hot — water, using a little water to emulsify and distribute the oil.

3. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

Caution: Like any oil used in the shower, black sesame oil may make your shower floor slick, so please step in and out with care.

Do this every time you shower or bathe during the winter months, and like other Wu’s Healing Center clients, you may find the flu passes you by this season.

How and why does this traditional Chinese remedy work? The answer grows from the Five Elements and the way they manifest in nature and in the human body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the skin is related to the immune system. Keeping the skin healthy and hydrated at a time of year when indoor heating can dehydrate the body supports your immune system and your body’s ability to ward off illness.

Why the oil of a seed? And why a black seed, at that? The answer has to do with the time of year — winter — and its connection to the Water, element, symbolized by the color black. Winter is also related to the seed form of life, just as spring relates to the sprout form, summer to the leaves, and fall to the fruit. The oil of a black seed nourishes the body’s own Water element at a time of year (winter) when Water is both at its peak energetically — and most challenged.

Although this TCM wisdom may explain why generations of Chinese grandmothers have advocated a healthy application of black sesame oil in winter, there are other reasons to sing the praises of black sesame oil:

  • Sesame oil contains zinc, copper, and calcium and has known anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure, blood sodium, and blood glucose.
  • As a source of Vitamin E, black sesame oil is an excellent antioxidant, and is high in omega-3 essential fatty acids that are kept at room temperature by two natural preservatives: sesamol and sesamin.
  • A report published in Ayurveda indicated that external applications of sesame oil decreased skin infections, lessened joint pain, and even slowed the growth of melanoma.
  • Sesame oil is a source of Vitamin K, which is essential to healthy blood clotting and bone development. Researchers believe that Vitamin K plays a role in preventing osteoporosis, protecting the heart, and regulating blood sugar.

Please note: When searching online, be sure to choose “black sesame oil,” not “black seed oil,” which is made from a different seeds with its own energetic properties.


Wu’s Healing Center
1014 Clement Street
San Francisco, CA 94118
(Between 11th & 12th Ave)


T (415) 750-5050
F (415) 750-5051

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