Black sesame seed, dry eyes and blurred vision

Black sesame seed, dry eyes and blurred vision

Many people have experienced blurred vision or times when their vision is not quite clear, sometimes to the extent that it is as though the eyes are looking through a dirty window that cannot be cleaned.

This may also occur with tired or dry eyes. These symptoms can come and go or last for longer periods of time. It can be a very uncomfortable feeling and have an effect on the person’s quality of life.

Usually in these cases the eyes should first be checked by an optometrist or by the GP or specialist. Sometimes it is found that nothing is wrong with the eyes.

According to Chinese medicine, blurry eyes can be the symptoms of an unhealthy state of the internal body, specifically a Liver syndrome imbalance. This does not only happen to the elderly but can effect all age groups, children and adults, male and female. It is important to understand the signs so you can seek early treatment or prevention.

Healthy Eyes & Liver Function

Traditional Chinese medicine believes there is a strong relationship between the internal organs and the external parts of the body. When there is disorder of a certain internal organ system it will have an effect on certain parts of the external body. This is a very important aspect of traditional Chinese diagnosis theory.

The Liver and the eyes have a strong relationship both physically and functionally.  The Liver stores blood and a branch of the Liver meridian goes to the eyes, so the Liver can send Blood & Qi to the eyes to support their function.

If the Liver has an imbalance, the Liver can fail to support the functions of the eyes resulting in symptoms. For example, if the Liver overheats then the eyes can become red and itchy with a hot or burning sensation. When there is a deficiency of Liver Blood the eyes become tired and dry and the vision may become blurred.  When the Liver has Qi & Blood stagnation the eyes may become sore.

I suggest when you have blurry eyes or other symptoms mentioned above, along with your treatment, you can choose to eat certain foods that will benefit the Liver and Black Sesame Seed is one of these foods.

The Health Benefits of Black Sesame Seed

Black sesame seed is a very popular diet therapy food in Chinese medicine diet therapy and also traditional Chinese culture. In shops and restaurants you can buy many products or foods with Black Sesame Seeds, such as Black Sesame cake, Black Sesame porridge, Black Sesame sweets. Black Sesame Seed is even in found in some traditional Chinese herbal formulas.

Black Sesame Seed is not cold and not hot, but rather balancing and mildly sweet. The properties benefit the Liver and Kidney channels and can be used to help in the treatment of disorders of these channels.

Benefits to Liver & Eyes
Black sesame seed can Tonify or increase Liver Blood and nourish the eyes.  These therapeutic effects may assist with symptoms of blurred vision and tired, dry eyes while you are receiving treatment.

Nourish & Balance Internal Organs
Many traditional Chinese herbal medicine books mention that black sesame seed is very good for the middle and older age group. It can increase energy, tonify the brain and slow ageing. Regularly eating certain amounts of black sesame seed can be of benefit for the following symptoms: low back ache, painful or tight and stiff joints, weakness in the joints and constipation.

Beauty, Hair & Skin
Hair loss and dry skin is quite often a worry for people. Often people spend a lot of money on hair and skin products which never completely solve the problem.  Chinese medicine considers the hair and skin to be an external reflection of the body’s internal state of health.

For example, the hair is nourished by the body’s Blood and the skin receives moisture from the body’s Yin. When the Yin and the Blood are deficient, it will affect the hair and the skin. It may cause symptoms of hair loss, dry skin or itchy skin.

Black sesame seed can nourish the organs, the Blood and the Yin, improving Blood and nutrition to the hair and skin. While using lotions and creams and having treatment, regularly eating a certain amount of black sesame seeds may also be beneficial.

How to eat black sesame seeds

Black sesame is best eaten cooked. You can roast your own black sesame seeds at home, or use a good quality black sesame seed oil in your cooking.

Roasted Black Sesame Seeds

3 cups of black sesame seeds in a saucepan cooking slowly on low heat with regular stirring for 10 minutes.

After cooked, cool the black sesame seeds and store in a container, avoiding damp and hot conditions. These can last for up to two months.

Eat 2 teaspoons of the cooked black sesame seed 2 to 3 times each week. They can be added to your porridge, salad, yoghurt, milk or other foods as you like.

If you like to cook your own bread, biscuits or cakes, you can add 2 tablespoons of raw black sesame seeds to the mixture to be cooked together.


If you are experiencing diarrhoea, fever or infection please avoid eating black sesame seeds.

If you are not sure whether or not black sesame seed is suitable for you, ask your traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.

Food as medicine (A disclaimer)

Our “food as medicine” articles share knowledge about health foods in the context of traditional Chinese medicine diet therapy and practices often dating back thousands of years. We also support this knowledge with references to published scientific research. Please keep in mind that scientific research into the health benefits of foods is still emerging and human research is limited.

Consuming a wide variety of natural foods as part of a balanced diet is most beneficial for health, however, we don’t advise using food alone to treat diseases. Please consult with your doctor or health professional about which foods are suitable for your body or health issues.

What Does The Research Say?

The following insights are obtained from scientific studies, systematic reviews and analysis of clinical trials investigating the efficacy of Black Sesame Seeds.

Scientific References

Browse our collection of scientific research on Black Sesame Seeds. It includes recent and reputable papers published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years.

Journal of Functional Foods

2018, Oct

Do sesame seed and its products affect body weight and composition? A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials
Journal of Functional Foods

Sesame products consumption did not significantly affect body weight and BMI. Only sesame oil significantly decreased the body weight and BMI. The body fat percent and the BAI were significantly reduced after sesame consumption. Sesame consumption did not affect other body composition indices. The present study provided some evidence regarding the beneficial effects of sesame on body adiposity indices. Further studies are still required to confirm our results.

Hamidreza Raeisi-Dehkordi, Mohammad Mohammadi, Fatemeh Moghtaderi, Amin Salehi-Abargouei Full Article


2018, May 15

Identification of Nutritional Components in Black Sesame Determined by Widely Targeted Metabolomics and Traditional Chinese Medicines

This analysis identified that black sesame seeds has phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, tyrosine metabolism, and riboflavin metabolisim pathways. This indicated that it can be used to improve cardiovascular function, chronic liver injury, anti-inflammatory diseases and also anti-cancer. Thus making it a safe and nutritional ingredient for Chinese medicine health related products

Wang D, Zhang L, Huang X, Wang X, Yang R, Mao J, Wang X, Wang X, Zhang Q, Li P. Full Article

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

2017, Jun 28

The effect of dietary intake of sesame (Sesamumindicum L.) derivatives related to the lipid profile and blood pressure: A systematic review
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

Of the 7 clinical trials included, five evaluating individuals with hypertension observed a significant reduction in systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure. The two articles that evaluated individuals with dyslipidemia showed improvement in lipid profile. The mechanisms of action are still being studied. Regarding the bias risk analysis, clinical trials included showed few descriptions of the methods applied. There are few studies about sesame ingestion, and it was observed high risk for bias in the selected studies. More standardized methods with attention to the design of studies are needed to improve the level of the evidence.

Carolina Alves Cardoso, Gláucia Maria Moraes de Oliveira, Luciana de Almeida Vittori Gouveia, Annie Seixas Bello Moreira & Glorimar Rosa Full Article

Journal of Medicinal Food

2016, Apr 13

Effects of the Intake of Sesame Seeds (Sesamum indicum L.) and Derivatives on Oxidative Stress: A Systematic Review
Journal of Medicinal Food Korean Society of Food Science and Nutrition

This article indicated that sesame oil is highly effective for hypertensive individuals.

Gouveia Lde A, Cardoso CA, de Oliveira GM, Rosa G, Moreira AS. Full Article

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Dr Ping Wang is the clinic founder and senior practitioner of Ping Ming Health. She has over 30 years of experience in traditional Chinese medicine teaching and practice. Dr Ping especially enjoys sharing her knowledge of Chinese medicine through our popular clinic articles, seminars and clinical training of students and practitioners.