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Cancer treatment complications can be prevented with topical sesame oil, researchers find

Chemotherapy-induced phlebitis (CIP) is an inflammatory response to chemotherapy drugs that can cause vein damage, pain, erythema (skin redness), fever and swelling at the site of injection. It is one of the most common complications suffered by cancer patients who undergo cancer therapy. CIP can last for weeks or months and is usually treated with NSAIDs. However, these drugs also cause unwanted side effects, so interest in more natural, complementary methods to alleviate phlebitis symptoms has grown in recent years.

Sesame oil is a versatile natural product that’s used for medicinal, cosmetic and culinary purposes. Numerous studies have lauded its excellent antioxidant properties, which make it a good inhibitor of oxidative stress and consequently, inflammatory diseases. In a recent study, researchers from Iran evaluated the effects of using it topically to treat CIP. They found that massaging the affected area with sesame oil regularly results in a significant reduction in pain severity. This led the researchers to conclude that sesame oil is a natural remedy that can offer patients with CIP pain relief.

Topical application of sesame oil reduces pain caused by phlebitis

Published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, the randomized clinical trial to assess the pain-relieving effects of sesame oil involved 60 colorectal cancer patients with CIP.

The researchers divided the patients into two groups. The control group received five-minute massages twice a day for seven consecutive days, while the experimental group received the same, but with the addition of 10 drops of sesame oil applied within a 10-centimeter radius of the affected site. The researchers evaluated the severity of pain using the visual analog scale on the first, third, fifth and seventh day of intervention.

The topical application of sesame oil yielded positive results. For the third and seventh day, the researchers reported that mean changes in the severity of pain compared to baseline were significant for the experimental group. Although both groups experienced significant reductions in pain severity, the experimental group enjoyed a considerably greater decrease.

Based on these results, the researchers concluded that topical application of sesame oil is effective in reducing the severity of pain caused by CIP in cancer patients.

Other health benefits of sesame oil

Sesame oil is a cooking oil widely used in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is made by pressing the raw, edible seeds of the sesame plant Sesamum indicum. There are two varieties of sesame oil used for cooking: The light oil, which has a neutral flavor that blends easily into any dish, and the toasted seed oil, which has a rich, nutty taste. Both oils contain high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — beneficial and functional fats that are considered heart-healthy.

Sesame oil can often be found in cosmetic products because it has properties that benefit the skin. While its antioxidant activity protects skin cells from oxidative damage, its antimicrobial properties help kill bacteria and stop their growth. Meanwhile, the anti-inflammatory properties of sesame oil help reduce skin inflammation and swelling.

Sesame oil can help regulate blood sugar levels, according to studies. Researchers from Pakistan found that consuming sesame oil regularly helped decrease the fasting blood glucose levels of Type-2 diabetics. Sesame oil also increased the particpants’ insulin levels significantly. (Related: Research: Sesame oil delivers big benefits for type-2 diabetics.)

Sesame oil accelerates wound healing. Research shows that it can increase the production of collagen, an essential building block of the skin. Collagen supports the skin’s structural integrity and works as a natural promoter of healing. Besides helping wounds heal, sesame oil can also soothe minor burns, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Sesame oil is a great addition to any type of diet. This versatile oil can spice up your dishes with its load of healthy fats and its distinctly unique flavor. Sesame oil is also effective against pain and other health issues, so having this natural remedy in your medicine cabinet or pantry is well worth it.

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