Black seed or black cumin is a flowering plant from the ranunculus family (Ranunculaceae), scientifically known as Nigella sativa.
It has been used for centuries in South and Southwest Asia to treat all sorts of health conditions, but remains largely underappreciated in the Western world. It’s time to change that.
So, are you excited to learn how you can benefit from black seed oil?
11 Amazing health benefits of black seed oil
Black seed oil can be used for dozens of health conditions, but are its most interesting effects.
Serves as an antidote against various toxins
One of the main active phytochemicals of black seed oil is thymoquinone, a monoterpene with numerous amazing effects on human health. For example, it may serve as an antidote for toxins, heavy metals, and many conventional medications. Most likely, this effect is based on the compound’s antioxidative and anti-inflammatory action.
May decrease blood pressure
A study on 70 healthy volunteers reported that taking 2.5 ml of black seed oil twice per day for 8 weeks resulted in a significant decrease in their blood pressure levels. No side effects were observed. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke, so it’s great that black seed oil can help to keep it healthy!
Has anti-diabetic properties
Taking 3 g of black seed oil per day for 12 weeks may result in a significant improvement in body weight, fasting blood glucose levels, and blood lipid profile in people with type 2 diabetes. These changes could be extremely beneficial for preventing or managing diabetes complications, and could even be useful for those people who want to avoid getting diabetes in the first place.
May boost fertility in men
Some studies reported that the antioxidative compounds of black seed could be beneficial for male fertility. Specifically, thymoquinone was reported to improve sperm quality and enhance the function of male hormone-producing cells. These effects were observed after taking 2.5 ml of black seed oil two times per day for 8 weeks.
Alleviates chronic inflammation
In 2012, a study on 40 women with rheumatoid arthritis reported that taking black seed oil capsules (500 mg twice per day) significantly improved their condition. The oil effectively reduced local inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Most likely, this effect is based on the oil’s outstanding content of antioxidants and may be useful for other inflammatory conditions as well, not just rheumatoid arthritis.
May help with acne
A clinical study from 2010 reported that a topical lotion with 10% of black seed oil applied to the skin for 2 months significantly reduced local acne. The scientists highlighted that this effect is most likely based on the anti-inflammatory action of thymoquinone. Since this phytochemical also has antibacterial properties, it’s clear why it helps with acne!
Is extremely beneficial for the gastrointestinal tract
Black seed oil could seriously boost the health of your digestive tract. For instance:
- May the lower risk of developing colorectal, pancreatic, and liver cancer
- May protect the liver from toxic and inflammatory damage
- Kills or weakens a wide range of bacteria (including H. pylori, the primary cause of peptic ulcers and gastritis), as well as some worms like schistosomes
- Calms down local inflammation and reduces oxidative stress, prevents ulcers
Most of these effects are based on the action of thymoquinone, so you can imagine just how powerful this phytochemical is!
May boost brain power and emotional stability
Taking black seed oil capsules (about 500 mg per day) for 4-9 weeks has been reported to improve memory, reduce anxiety, and stabilize mood. The same study highlighted that black seed may have potential as a treatment for different neurodegenerative disorders and brain injury, when cognitive decline is especially evident.
Can be used to treat wounds
Black seed oil is able to kill or significantly weaken a whole lot of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, including those that can be found on the skin. Studies also show that this natural remedy can enhance wound healing and reduce inflammation. Together, these effects mean you can put black seed oil on wounds to prevent infection and speed up healing!
Can help in balancing the immune system
Thymoquinone, the primary active compound of black seed, can fine-tune the function of the immune system. Besides reducing inflammation levels, this may enhance the effectiveness of the immune cells in fighting off various threats ranging from bacterial infections to cancer and autoimmune disease. By the way, black seed seems to be effective in alleviating allergic conditions as well.
Effectively reduces pain
In 2016, an interesting study compared the effectiveness of black seed oil and acetaminophen (paracetamol, a common OTC painkiller) in reducing knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Turns out that applying 1 ml of the oil to the knee every 8 hours for 3 weeks was more effective than paracetamol. The best part? It didn’t come with any side effects at all, while paracetamol has quite a few!
Black seed has been widely used for centuries throughout the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Its amazing health benefits earned the plant the name ‘Habbatul barakah’ in Arabic, meaning the seed of blessing.
Did you know that archaeologists found black cumin seeds in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen? It seems the pharaoh’s healers believed the plant to be a reliable remedy for their ruler to take with him into the afterlife!
Modern studies confirm that the traditional medical uses of black seed could be warranted indeed—thanks to the action of thymoquinone, a unique phytochemical.
Remember that the easiest way to enjoy the potential health benefits of black seed is by taking it in oil form, but some people prefer brewing them as a tea or sprinkling the seeds over oatmeal and yogurts. The choice is up to you!