What is black seed oil, also called black cumin oil?
This oil has enjoyed centuries of popularity across the globe for its health-promoting benefits. In fact, it has more than 3000 years of history backing it up. It is referenced in historical texts and makes an appearance in the Bible.
Even King Tut seems to have been a fan: black cumin seeds were found in his tomb, a strong testament to the importance they placed on these little seeds.
Described in an ancient text as “a cure for every disease except death,” black seed oil has a long history of many uses. The seeds are a traditional Middle Eastern spice used in pastries, dairy products, salads, and other foods. And for thousands of years, the oil has been applied topically and taken internally for virtually any ailment, from bruises, bad hair, colds, and snake bites to headaches, indigestion, and a variety of skin conditions, including leprosy.
Since 1965, nearly a thousand scientific articles have been published on Nigella sativa, the Latin name for black seed, documenting anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, and immune-enhancing properties. In the past few years, human studies have pinpointed some specific benefits.
What are the health benefits of black seed oil?
In either seed or oil form, black cumin has been associated with a wide range of health benefits, both ancient and modern. It has been studied and researched in everything from maintaining already-healthy blood pressure to supporting against seasonal immune challenges to occasional digestive discomfort.
Many of the health benefits of black cumin seed oil are connected to its antioxidant and immune-supporting properties, as well as its ability to help inhibit inflammation to support whole-body health. One active component of black seed oil, thymoquinone, has been shown to support the activity and longevity of immune T-cells, which helps maintain a healthy immune response.
Promoting both a healthy immune and inflammatory response goes a long way toward maintaining your health for the long haul—you may not quite reach the longevity of a well-preserved mummy, but your quality of life will definitely trump theirs. And you'll look better, to boot: the oil also has numerous topical cosmetic benefits. It can be used to hydrate your hair or as part of a moisturizer for your skin, among other uses.
While black seed oil is also known as black cumin, it shouldn’t be confused with the spice cumin, which comes from a completely different family of plants. Black cumin is also different from curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. However, they can be paired together for impressive health support. Curcumin is also known for helping promote a healthy immune and inflammatory response, which makes it a great complement to black cumin seed oil benefits.
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10 Benefits of Black Seed Oil
1. Fights Bacterial Infections
Black seed oil has an unusual ability to fight bacterial infections, even drug-resistant ones such as MRSA. “Certainly not all oils or supplements are going to have that kind of antimicrobial benefit,” says Trevor Cates, ND, author of Clean Skin from Within. “We’re always trying to look at ways that we can reduce the use of antibiotics and just use them when they’re specifically indicated,” she says. “And a lot of times we can get by using natural things that have antimicrobial benefits.”
2. Reduces Scars
To prevent scarring from a minor cut, Cates recommends applying the oil topically once the cut has started to heal. “It’s not something you would put on when you have an open wound, but once it starts to heal, to make sure it heals properly,” she says.
3. Relieves Allergies
In studies of 152 people suffering from various allergies, black seed oil relieved both respiratory symptoms and eczema. Effective doses ranged from 18–36 mg per pound of body weight per day.
4. Enhances Weight Loss
A study of 90 obese women found that adding black seed oil to a low-calorie diet produced more weight loss than the diet alone. And a study of 250 men found that black seed oil by itself, or in combination with turmeric, produced some weight loss and reduced risk factors for diabetes.
5. Relieves Breast Pain
Cyclic mastalgia—breast pain that may be a symptom of PMS—can be relieved with the topical use of black seed oil, according to a study of 52 women. The oil, applied to painful areas twice a day, was as effective as diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug.
6. Reduces Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Taking 500 mg of black seed oil in capsules, twice per day, reduced swollen joints and morning stiffness in a study of 40 women suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The disease is an autoimmune reaction, and the oil helps modulate the immune system.
7. Relieves Indigestion and Heartburn
Black seed oil can relieve dyspepsia, a combination of symptoms that can include indigestion and/or heartburn. A study of 70 people suffering from the condition found that 5 milliliters of the oil daily brought relief and reduced infection from H. pylori, a bacterium that can lead to ulcers.
8. Improves Memory
A study of 20 healthy volunteers found that taking black seed oil daily improved memory and attention. The dose was 500 mg, twice daily. Researchers concluded that it should be studied for its potential to prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
9. Enhances Men’s Fertility
Black seed oil is a traditional treatment for male infertility and a study found that it is, indeed, effective. In a group of 64 men with fertility problems, the oil significantly improved sperm count and other fertility markers.
10. Lowers Cholesterol
Black seed oil lowered cholesterol in a study of 88 adults with levels above 200 mg/dl, with total cholesterol dropping by an average of 4.78 percent, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 7.6 percent, and triglycerides by 16.65 percent. The dose was 2 grams daily.
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The information provided on the pages of this web site are intended as information only and are not a substitute for diagnosis and treatment by a physician or health care provider. If you have a health concern, please seek advise from a physician or health care provider specialized in your area of concern. Do not take if you are pregnant or nursing. These products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health condition or disease.