Why the Oil from this Tiny Seed is Quickly Becoming a “Must Have” for Health Enthusiasts Worldwide.
You might have heard of it—it’s black seed oil, a natural substance treasured for a multitude of health benefits. The oil from this little seed boasts a rich history that spans thousands of years and numerous civilizations.
The seed, also known as black cumin, is derived from the Nigella sativa plant, a flowering shrub native to Southern Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia, now grown in many parts of the world, including India, Turkey, Pakistan, and the Middle East. The unique oil derived from black cumin seeds has long been recognized for its medicinal properties.
The use of black seed oil can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where it was given as a remedy for a variety of ailments, as well as a component in cosmetic preparations. Its significance is exemplified by the fact that black cumin seeds, from which the oil is extracted, were found in the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
This suggests that the Egyptians not only valued it greatly during their lifetime, but they also saw its potential for benefits in the afterlife. Legend also has it that Cleopatra used the oil from black seed to maintain her famed beauty.
The ancient Greeks recognized the medicinal qualities of black seed oil as well. The renowned Greek physician Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine, was known to have used it to treat certain health conditions.
Throughout the Islamic Golden Age, black seed oil was widely used in various medical applications. Even the Prophet Mohamed acknowledged its beneficial properties, highlighting its considerable value in diverse health customs.
The ancient Hebrews also held black cumin and its oil in high regard, with references to it found in the Old and New Testaments. Similarly, in ancient Latin, these valuable seeds were termed “Panacea.”
Thus, the history of black seed oil is deeply intertwined with the progress of civilization itself, persistently woven into the fabric of traditional medicine across various cultures. Its enduring presence in historical records across the globe is a testament to its long-standing reputation as a potent natural remedy.
And more recently, a growing body of modern scientific research is confirming that black seed oil has medicinal value for improving one’s health due to its numerous beneficial properties.
This is the reason…
Black seed is a treasure trove of minerals and nutrients, including calcium, zinc, iron, thiamin, copper, folic acid, niacin, and phosphorus.
Yet, the story doesn’t end there. Despite the existence of over 32 chemical compounds in N. sativa seed oil, one phytochemical ingredient stands out for its extraordinary properties. This superstar compound goes by the name of thymoquinone (TQ).
TQ is the primary active element in black cumin seed oil, with the majority of its health-promoting effects being attributed to this compound.
Several studies focusing on black cumin and TQ have associated them with their antimicrobial, immune-modulatory, and anti-inflammatory effects. With each new sunrise, scientists are revealing more captivating facts about this time-honored natural marvel.
Now, let’s do a deep dive into some of the scientific evidence that showcases the impressive potential of black cumin seed oil in modern health conditions.
Helps in Weight Loss
A double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial saw the participation of 90 women aged 25–50 years who were dealing with obesity. The study aimed to evaluate the impact of black cumin seed oil in combination with a low-calorie diet on factors related to heart and metabolic health. By the conclusion of the trial, those who were supplemented with black seed oil before meals witnessed a notable reduction in weight and waist circumference compared to the group that received the placebo.
In another recent small clinical trial, supplementing black seed oil in women volunteers with a body mass index in the overweight to obese range for an 8-week period demonstrated appetite suppression, weight loss, and improved body composition.
Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Supplementation of N. sativa (both the powder and the oil forms) has been shown to lower blood lipid levels. A meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials demonstrated the oil’s significant ability to reduce total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C), and triglyceride levels. Powder from the seeds was less effective overall than the oil, although it did show a beneficial increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) levels.
Helps Bring Relief to Achy Joints
There seems to be quite a bit of evidence that black seed oil is an effective addition in treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Both animal and human trials have shown its anti-inflammatory effects on arthritis when taken orally, evidenced by improved pain and other symptoms.
In a study among women with rheumatoid arthritis, a 500 mg dose of black seed oil in a capsule was administered twice daily. After a month of supplementation, the disease activity score was significantly lower for participants taking the oil. The duration of morning stiffness and the number of swollen joints were also noted to have dropped considerably.
Another small study looking at the antioxidant properties of N. sativa in patients with rheumatoid arthritis demonstrated improved markers of oxidative stress and inflammation after 8 weeks of supplementation with black seed oil. The authors concluded the oil might be helpful for these patients to take alongside their conventional therapy.
Interestingly, black seed oil has also been shown to alleviate pain when used topically in patients with osteoarthritis, demonstrating an even greater analgesic effect than acetaminophen.
Helps People with Asthma Breathe Better
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 40 asthma patients received 500 mg of black seed oil twice a day for four weeks, and the other 40 took a placebo. The group that received the oil showed a significant improvement in markers of asthma control compared to the placebo group.
Keeps Hair and Skin Healthy
For thousands of years, the oil from N. sativa seeds has been used to treat various rashes, psoriasis, and other skin irritants. A recent meta-analysis of trials investigating the use of black cumin seed oil in skin conditions found significant improvements in many of the conditions studied. The authors noted that TQ is most active in the oil form of N. sativa, accounting for many of its beneficial effects in the treatment of skin disease.
A primary component in black seed oil is linoleic acid, also known as an omega-6 fatty acid. According to an article published in the journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, linoleic acid is one of the essential components of the ceramides that form the epidermal barrier, helping to protect the skin from environmental stressors.
Additionally, the linoleic and oleic acid composition in black cumin seed oil appears to improve skin permeability to other pharmacologically active compounds, enhancing the penetration of medications applied topically to the skin.
More recently, Hadi and Ashor (2010) found that the use of a lotion containing 20% N. sativa oil extract showed greater effectiveness for the treatment of mild to moderate acne with fewer side effects compared to a 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion.
The oil from N. sativa has been shown to improve the lesions of vitiligo, an autoimmune condition characterized by white patches resulting from the destruction of melanin-producing cells.
In addition to its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects, Nigella sativa oil has also been shown to have anti-aging, wound-healing, hair growth-promoting, and sun (skin) protection properties.
Enhances Hair Growth
A noteworthy study published in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications revealed that black seed oil can remarkably amplify hair growth. The investigators found that it enhanced hair density in 70% of the participants within just three months. This improvement was attributed to the oil’s ability to alleviate inflammation, a known inhibitor of hair growth.
Improves Symptoms in Allergic Conditions
In addition to its anti-inflammatory action, black seed oil has anti-allergic effects. In a study of patients with several allergic conditions, including allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, and eczema, supplementation with N. sativa oil resulted in improvements in blood markers for allergies. Additionally, the participants reported feeling fewer symptoms. The study‘s authors concluded that black seed oil is effective for use alongside conventional medicines for these allergic conditions.
Animal research has demonstrated an improvement in nasal scratching in mice treated with black seed oil, with results similar to those seen with topical steroids.
Supports Liver and Kidney Health
Scientific studies have demonstrated that the antioxidant attributes of black seed oil may help safeguard both the liver and kidneys.
This protective effect operates via multiple pathways. In one critical mechanism, TQ is believed to mitigate the levels of oxidative stress, a condition characterized by increased free radical compounds in our bodies.
Oxidative stress is linked to an array of liver problems, including alcohol-induced liver disease, cirrhosis, liver injury due to the overuse of certain medications, and hepatitis, among others. It’s also connected to kidney-related health issues such as chronic kidney disease and kidney toxicity.
A study involving patients on dialysis with diabetic kidney failure illustrated how black seed oil can mitigate the effects of oxidative stress. With 12 weeks of N. sativa oil supplementation, improvements were noted not only in the markers of oxidative stress in the blood, but the indicators of blood sugar levels were also significantly reduced.
Patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease who were supplemented with black seed oil for three months showed evidence of improvement in their liver disease on blood tests and ultrasound evaluation. They also had lower blood lipid levels, including LDL-C and triglycerides.
Supports Healthy Blood Pressure
A double-blind study was done in 2013 involving patients with mildly elevated blood pressure readings who were randomized to take either black seed oil supplementation or a placebo for eight weeks. The group receiving the oil demonstrated significantly reduced blood pressures (both systolic and diastolic readings) compared to participants on the placebo.
Beyond the already significant health benefits of black seed oil supplements, they can also contribute to boosting mood.
The endocannabinoid system plays a role in controlling inflammation response, brain waves, our reaction to stress, and immune function. Your body makes cannabinoids like CBD on its own, but sometimes it doesn’t produce enough. This can make you feel anxious, depressed, and fatigued.
Consuming black cumin seed oil may help because it contains phytocannabinoids, beneficial plant compounds found in hemp, rosemary, hops, black cumin seed oil, and other plants. This can supplement your body’s natural cannabinoid production and modify interactions between the brain and body.
A study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences discovered that participants who consumed 1,000 mg of black seed oil daily alongside conventional antidepressant medication displayed a remarkable improvement in their depression scores after 10 weeks compared to those on the same antidepressant who did not take the supplement.
What to look for when buying black seed oil
When searching for a secure and beneficial source of black seed oil, always choose a cold-pressed, organic variation that guarantees 100% purity and proudly displays certification from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as proof of its organic status. It is recommended that the oil is sourced from Turkey, a renowned hub for quality black seed oil, and that it has undergone third-party testing for added assurance. The oil should be amber in color and have a characteristic pungent odor.
Black seed oil is typically sold in a liquid form, and some individuals prefer to consume it directly. However, the taste may not be to everyone’s liking. The oil has been characterized as having a bitter and pungent flavor. Feedback on social media platforms isn‘t as forgiving. Consumers seem to liken the taste of black seed oil to substances like kerosene, jet fuel, and gun oil.
Fortunately, black seed oil capsules present a solution to this issue as they don’t engage the taste buds. These capsules contain therapeutic doses that offer significant advantages in convenience without the pungent taste.
Is it safe to take black seed oil capsules?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies black cumin seed under the category of Generally Recognized as Safe. However, it’s worth noting that the FDA doesn’t evaluate supplements for safety or efficacy. Consequently, selecting a product from a trustworthy supplier is of paramount importance.
The recommended dosage of black seed oil may vary based on the type of ailment one aims to address. Individuals are advised to consult with a healthcare professional to ascertain the safety and appropriate dosing of black seed oil tailored to their needs.
While black seed oil can be consumed daily, it’s important to understand that the appropriate dosage may vary among individuals. Hence, initiating intake gradually is advised to prevent unwanted side effects.
One Final Note…
Remember, black seed oil delivers antioxidants and phytochemicals due to its naturally occurring free radical defenders like TQ. The research shows it provides additional benefits for certain medical conditions. Now you, too, can enjoy the same health advantages from the little black seeds that the ancient Egyptian pharaohs treasured enough to take with them into the afterlife.