Black cumin, or Nigella Sativa, is known as ‘The Seed of Blessing’ in the Middle East. Part of the buttercup family, black cumin has been used for over 3,000 years, since its discovery in Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb. These powerful anti-inflammatory seeds have been used in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and India for everything from minor headaches and skin irritations to ailments deemed untreatable. Black cumin seed oil has also been used by Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine practitioners for thousands of years. Black cumin is just one of the black seed oils. There is also black caraway, black sesame, onion seed and Roman coriander.
There have been 630 scientific peer-reviewed published studies involving black seed oil benefits since 1964. This age-old remedy is becoming popular again because of its numerous medicinal properties including: anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antiviral, anti-hypertensive, hypotensive and insulin sensitizing.
Black Cumin Seed Oil Health Benefits
- Taking black cumin seed extract has been shown to reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Black seed oil taken orally may help reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
- Its anti-inflammatory effects in the airways may help improve asthma and bronchitis symptoms.
- Because they are carminative, bating black seeds or taking black seed oil can relieve stomach pains, cramps and bloating and can help to reduce gas.
- Black seed oil benefits the function of the liver and helps prevent damage and disease.
- Black seed may improve glucose tolerance as efficiently as metformin, without the adverse effects and toxicity. Nigella Sativa is suggested to help prevent both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- There is promising research on the use of black cumin seed oil for autoimmune disease.
One of the active ingredients of Nigella Sativa, thymoquinone, has been effective in reducing the size of existing tumors in lab rats. Thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone in black seed oil resulted in 52% decrease in tumor cells. These results haven’t been studied in humans. Thymoquinone helps induce cell death in leukemia cells, breast cancer cells and brain tumor cells. Black seed oil can offer natural protection against some of the danger from radiation. Promising research has connected Nigella Sativa to multi-drug resistant bacteria. In one study, out of 144 strains of superbugs tested, most of which were resistant to antibiotics, 97 were inhibited by black cumin oil.
My Experience with Black Cumin Seed Oil
Personally I find this stuff incredible. Black cumin seed oil has been shown to decrease inflammatory pathways (specifically one called NF-kB). It must have done that for me because about a month after I started taking this miracle oil, my blood tests showed a large drop in inflammation. Now I am sure there are other factors involved in lowering my inflammation, however I feel that the most significant piece of the pie comes from the black cumin seed oil. Inflammation markers such as HS-CRP, ESR, ferritin and HDL cholesterol are ALL significantly lower. And interestingly, my allergy symptoms also diminished in a noticeable way – less congestion and mucus. This stuff really works for me. The other things black cumin seed oil does is balance out Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver function. One of my challenging genetic issues is that I am what is called a Pathological Detoxifier, meaning that I have a fast Phase 1 liver function and a slow Phase 2 (glutathione pathway) liver function. This essentially means that my detox pathways are not in balance, creating oxidative stress. Thus I have to forevermore support my detoxification processes in order to prevent onset of disease. With virtually no side effects, the healing prowess of this oil is for me has been remarkable and has far exceeded any medical intervention I could have undertaken (not that I would take pharmaceuticals for inflammation, but hypothetically speaking).
Safe Use of Black Cumin Seed Oil
Black cumin seed is a nutritionally potent food that should be consumed in moderation. A few teaspoons a day is considered safe for culinary use. Anyone with a medical condition or who is pregnant / nursing should check with a doctor before using black seed oil. It is important that black cumin seed oil is extracted, processed and packaged correctly in a dark, glass bottle. It should be organic, pure pressed without chemical extraction and from a quality source that contains no additives or diluting oils. The oil form is the most absorbable and concentrated way to consume black seeds.
I take black cumin seed in 500 mg softgels (from New Roots) – about 2,000 mg per day. Also, once or twice weekly I add one tablespoon of black cumin seed organic oil (by Lekithos) to my salad, along with olive oil. Black cumin oil has a slight peppery taste, so I prefer to mix it with the olive oil. On the days when I combine this oil on my salad, I reduce the softgels to about 1,000 mg per day. Black cumin seed oil is also considered to be beneficial for hair and skin – I have yet to do this, but I will in the near future!