People have been using sesame oil as a remedy for nasal dryness since ancient times. For example, ayurveda, the traditional medicinal system of India, recommends sesame oil for this purpose. Modern research also supports using sesame oil for nasal dryness. It's an all-natural way of relieving a problem that can cause noticeable irritation.
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Sesame oil -- as might be obvious -- is derived from sesame seeds. It adds nutty flavor and fragrance to meals when used in cooking and in salads, and it's a common addition to Asian foods. Sesame oil also is useful for combining with essential oil for massage. Essential oils are too strong to use without diluting them first with a carrier oil, such as sesame.
Nasal dryness can develop due to dry weather and dry conditions in buildings. It occurs during winter, for instance, when the outside air is low in humidity and the inside air is made even drier by heat from furnaces and wood stoves. Nasal dryness also can occur with a broader group of symptoms defined as rhinitis, or inflammation of the nasal mucosa. Other symptoms of this condition include congestion, runny nose, postnasal drip, coughing and sneezing.
Irrigating the nasal passages with a saline solution is safe and effective for decreasing nasal dryness, according to an article published in "Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology" in 2010. The technique also helps clear away thick mucus. The basic process involves pouring a stream of warm saline solution into one nasal passage and allowing it to drain out the other nasal passage. Commercial solutions are available, and you also may simply use a bit of salt dissolved in water. Saline sprays are available as well. A 2001 study, however, found that sesame oil nasal irrigation works even better.
Saline Solution Vs. Sesame Oil
The authors of the 2001 study, which was published in the "Archives of Otolaryngology," compared the effectiveness of saline and pure sesame oil for relieving nasal dryness. The saline solution was an isotonic sodium chloride solution, which has the same salt concentration as normal body cells do. The outdoor environment was a low-humidity winter climate in Sweden. Pure sesame oil proved significantly better at relieving nasal dryness than the saline solution. Sesame oil also had better results at improving nasal congestion.