Esna’s oil mill is one of the most beautiful historical attractions in the city; it is the first manually operated oil press in Esna and after 500 years of operation it is still running. It is now run by Haj Mohammed Abdel Rady Abo Bakour also known as Am Nasser.
According to Am Nasser, the oil mill is basically a big round marble stone that presses the oil out of sesame and lettuce seeds placed below it on another stone. The oil that is squeezed from the seeds passes through holes in the stone and drips from its sides into a well were the oil is collected to be bottled.
Nasser added: “Lettuce oil contains essentials fat and proteins. It is also rich in iron, phosphorus, calcium, copper, iodine, chlorine, carotene, cobalt, zinc, magnesium and sulfur in addition to Vitamin E whose traces were recently found by researchers. It also contains Lactucarium which can be used safely as a tranquilizer without the side effects of regular sedatives and depressants like sleeping pills.” Lettuce oil can also be used as a moisturizer, an analgesic, a blood cleanser and a laxative. It is an important staple of diabetic diets and can be used to relief Pertussis and menstrual cramps.
For topical uses of lettuce oil, Nasser said: “it can be used for abscesses, cysts and pimples. It has hair strengthening and moisturizing properties since it contains several minerals and vitamins. It is a fortifying supplement and it also strengthens the heart muscle, the nerves and blood capillaries. It regulates blood sugar levels and can be used for insomnia in addition to its use as an anti-inflammatory for the urinary tract and the bladder. It is also used for increasing fertility for women.
As for Sesame oil, Nasser said that it has cancer-fighting properties in addition to at least 7 compounds that relief pain. It is used for gum and dental conditions. It regulates cholesterol levels and prevents arteriosclerosis. It can also be used as a laxative to relief constipation. It is also used for treatment of blurred vision, dizziness and headaches. Finally, it can be used as a sedative and for anxiety relief in addition to its topical use for skin inflammation. Sesame oil has no side effects.