Of the 630 scientific peer-reviewed articles that have been published about the proven health benefits of black seed oil, one fact is clear — there are few diseases that it cannot help the body overcome. With virtually no side effects, the healing prowess of black seed is actually quite unbelievable and boggles the mind that most Americans have never heard of it!
Nigella Sativa is the botanical Latin name for this plant. The black seeds are found within its seed pods, and black seed oil (BSO), which comes from various seed extracting methods, has been consumed as a spice, used as a food preservative, and used in medicine around the world, particularly in Eastern cultures for its immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, traced back to over 3,000 years.
Thymoquinone is the active ingredient isolated from the seeds produced by Nigella Sativa and has been investigated for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities since its first extraction in the 1960’s. Many health experts claim that it is, indeed, a true panacea for almost every known disease throughout history.
The tiny seed that comes from the plant may be small, but it packs a huge punch of beneficial, almost miraculous, effects against almost any diseases it comes in contact with.
This medicinal plant and its oil possess healing properties against many different types of diseases, bacteria, and viruses such as tuberculosis, colds, flu, encephalomyelitis, diabetes, asthma, and cancer, to a host of other ailments and diseases.
Unique Black Seed Oil Benefits
Quite possibly the most promising research has been done connecting Nigella sativa to multi-drug resistant bacteria. This is a big deal because these so-called “superbugs” are becoming a significant public health risk.
According to the National Institute of Health:
- Strains of bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant are becoming virtually impossible to treat, including staphylococcal, tuberculosis, influenza, gonorrhea, candida, and malaria.
- Between 5 – 10% of all hospital patients develop an infection from superbugs.
- More than 90,000 of these patients die every year, up from 13,300 patient deaths in 1992.
- People infected with superbugs typically have longer hospital stays, require more complicated treatment and don’t recover as well, if at all.
A study conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, researchers set out to determine just how potent black seed oil is against some of these superbugs and compared it against several antibiotics such as Amoxicillin, Gatifloxacin, and Tetracycline. “Out of 144 strains tested, most of which were resistant to a number of antibiotics, 97 were inhibited by the oil of black cumin.”, the report stated. (2)
Next to oil of oregano, few things on the planet can boast this type of potency to microbes! The study uncovered that it was especially effective against multidrug resistant strains of P. aeruginosa and S. aureus.
The key to understanding why black seed oils benefit the body in this way is because it is rich in 3 key natural chemicals: thymoquinone (TQ), thymohydroquinone (THQ) and thymol.
The Power Behind Black Seed Oil Benefits
In an effort to offer a solution to the growing antifungal resistant problem people have with yeasts and molds, a recent study was conducted with the purpose of determining if Nigella sativa seed oil could help. Published in the Egyptian Journal of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, scientists tested thymol, TQ and THQ against 30 human pathogens and were surprised to discover that: (3)
Each compound showed 100% inhibition of the thirty pathogens evaluated.
Thymoquinone was the best antifungal compound against all of the tested dermatophytes and yeasts, followed by thymohydroquinone and thymol.
Thymol was the best antifungal against molds followed by TQ and THQ.
What this study tells us is that Nigella sativa oil carries a unique chemical constituency that is not only effective individually, but more importantly also collectively. Essentially proving that fungus and molds cannot exist in the presence of these phytochemicals, it is no wonder why researchers are seeking to solve the superbug problem with the mighty black seed!
Thymoquinone – An active ingredient in black seed, researchers have been investigating TQ since the 1960s. It is well known for its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties that have been reported to help with encephalomyelitis, diabetes, asthma and carcinogenesis. (4)
Interestingly, thymoquinone acts as a free radical or an effective superoxide radical scavenger, in addition to preserving antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase. Both Glutathione peroxidase and S-transferase are heralded for being major detoxifiers and greatly aid in cellular antioxidant defense systems because they protect the liver from toxins. (4,5)
Thymohydroquinone – Akin to thymoqinone, thymohydroquinone is one of the most potent natural acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors on the planet. (6) AChE inhibitors are chemicals that stop enzyme activity, which increases the amount of time and the amount of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine remains active in the brain. To give you an idea of their usefulness, pharmaceutical-grade acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are used medicinally to treat a wide range of conditions including (7)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Myasthenia gravis
- Neurodegenerative conditions
- Postural Tachycardia Syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
Considering that the pharmaceutical approach to these diseases comes at a great cost along with adverse events, sometimes fatal, to the patient, it offers much hope to millions to learn that safe, plant-based solutions are a viable alternative!
Thymol – It is an active constituent of Nigella Sativa. It is also the active ingredient that gives thyme essential oil its medicinal properties. Thymol is a natural monoterpene that holds a number of useful qualities, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (8)
For example Thymol,
- Is commonly used to kill tuberculosis and various other viruses.
- Is used as a medical and general purpose disinfectant.
- Is a rapidly degrading, non-persisting pesticide.
- Is also used in food flavorings, perfumes, mouthwashes, and even cosmetics.
Thymol is among those pesticides for which EPA believes a broadly reduced set of generic data requirements is appropriate for reregistration. The Agency, therefore, has waived most generic data requirements for thymol with the exception of studies that are considered essential, including additional information about chemical purity, and product chemistry studies.
10 Proven Health Benefits of Black Seed Oil
Croatian scientists evaluated the antitumor activity of thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone in mice and discovered that the two phytochemicals in black seed oil resulted in 52% decrease in tumor cells. (10)
Being rich in both chemicals, black seed is unique in that it can help prevent and treat cancer through a variety of mechanisms:
- Apoptosis induction
- Cell cycle arrest
- Reactive oxygen species generation
According to one study,
“The anti-tumor effects of thymoquinone have also been investigated in tumor xenograft mice models for colon, prostate, pancreatic and lung cancer. The combination of thymoquinone and conventional chemotherapeutic drugs could produce a greater therapeutic effect as well as reduce the toxicity of the latter.” (11)
2. Liver Health
The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. Nearly every toxin gets processed through the liver, and the bile from the liver is the key to digesting fats and keeping your mind and body happy and healthy.
For those that have struggled with poor liver function due to medication side effects, alcohol consumption, or disease, black seed oil could greatly speed the healing process. In a recent study, scientists discovered that black seed oil benefits the function of the liver and helps prevent both damage and disease. (12)
Explained in a recent article published by the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers from the Indian Council of Medical Research highlight that black seed oil “causes gradual partial regeneration of pancreatic beta-cells, increases the lowered serum insulin concentrations and decreases the elevated serum glucose.” (13) This is actually quite profound because Nigella sativa is one of the few substances on the planet that is suggested to help prevent both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
In fact, according to the study, black seed “improves glucose tolerance as efficiently as metformin; yet it has not shown significant adverse effects and has very low toxicity!” (13)
This is HUGE because metformin, one of the most commonly prescribed type 2 diabetes drugs, can cause a slew of unwanted side effects including (14)
- Flushing of the skin
- Nail changes
- Metallic taste in mouth
- Muscle pain
- Stomach pain
4. Weight Loss
The Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders published a study last June systemically reviewing the literature for plants that have anti-obesity properties and discovered that black seed oil was amongst the most effective natural remedies on the planet. (15)
Not traditionally believed to treat obesity, Nigella sativa is a marvelous anti-inflammatory agent that is known to help people lose weight in the same way that it helps diabetics. Specifically, by decreasing these weight gain triggers, black seed oil has helped millions shed excess weight, as well as (16)
- Glucose absorption in the intestine
- Liver gluconeogenesis (generation of glucose)
- Blood glucose levels
Probably one of the unique black seed oil benefits is its uncanny ability to help restore hair loss. Black seed oil is rich with β-sitosterol which is a very potent natural DHT blocker. DHT is what is linked to alopecia, (hair loss and baldness). Black Seed Oil with its potential to effectively inhibit DHT, it is fast becoming a favorite treatment for many hair loss sufferers. You can use it either orally in pill form, or massage it on your scalp. If massaged, Black Seed Oil with its good absorption property directly targets the DHT attached with your hair follicles, and if taken orally, it attempts to reduce DHT levels throughout your body. For best results, leave the oil on the scalp for at least 5 hours, then wash regularly.
Produced in the retina, choroid, and epidermis, melanin is a pigment that protects the skin from damage. You probably are most familiar with it being the main chemical responsible for giving our eyes and skin their individual color. Known to promote and inhibit melanogenesis (melanin production), black seed oil benefits on the skin and other cells are profoundly healing. (17, 18)
For example, in a recent study conducted by Iranian researchers, Nigella saliva was found as effective as the skin cream Betamethasone in improving the quality of life and decreasing the severity of hand eczema. (19) When you consider that black seed oil has virtually no side effects, the benefits of Nigella, in fact, far exceed medical intervention!
7. Infections (MRSA)
Of all the superbugs that black seed oil can kill, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most important. MRSA is plaguing hospitals and nursing homes across the globe because ordinary staph infections are becoming resistant to generic antibiotics. The elderly population is especially at risk because it is generally associated with invasive procedures such as surgeries, intravenous tubing, and artificial joints. (20) Primarily due to weakened immunity, the growing population of senior citizens has made MRSA a global public health risk.
Thankfully, one of the strongest black seed oil benefits comes to the rescue. Pakistan scientists took several strains of MRSA and discovered that each one was sensitive to N. Sativa, proving that black seed oil can help slow down or stop MRSA from spreading out of control. (21)
8. Fights Fungal Infections
Fungal infections occur when bacteria grows on top of your skin, resulting in a variety of different diseases and rashes. Research shows that fungus and mold cannot co-exist with the compounds found in black seed oil, leading many scientists to conclude that black seed oil is beyond a powerful herb, but a powerful systemic natural remedy. The results show that black seed has an effective antifungal and antibacterial properties that can extensively treat and cure fungal infections.
9. Reduces Flu’s and Fevers
Another arising issue directly related to a weak immune system is flu or fever can cause serious even more damage to your immune system. Not having a way to help your body can leave you in bed for days if not weeks. Since the black seed is anti-inflammatory, you can use black seed oil for flu and fevers for quick relief. With immediate aid to your immune system, your body will feel the potent antioxidant and antibacterial properties of black seed oil go to work.
10. Reduces High Blood Pressure
Black seed oil for high blood pressure is one of the most common uses of black seed oil today. Although it’s not recognized as an official treatment, many high blood pressure patients noticed a significant drop in their blood pressure levels when taking black seed oil. Studies like these have led many to start taking black seed oil as a natural remedy for reducing high blood pressure.
Treats Symptoms of Pain
Ibuprofen and other painkillers work to kill pain because they are anti-inflammatory. The same is true of Black seed or its oil. In 2001, Dr. Al-Ghamdi investigated the anti-inflammatory, analgesic (a drug to reduce pain) and antipyretic (a drug to prevent or reduce fever) properties of Nigella sativa. He concluded that the evidence supported the use of black seed oil as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent for those experiencing pain.
Black Cumin Seed Oil has shown to be an invaluable asset for anyone who may need to find a natural remedy that treats and prevents a myriad of diseases. If you’d like to get some black seed oils, you can pick up some up here.
The dosage is important to consider if taking black seed oil for any disease or ailment. It has been suggested that a dose between 20 micrograms to 2 grams daily, depending on what one is using Black Seen Oil for, is sufficient in providing a therapeutic result.
Topical application of Nigella sativa may induce a side effect called contact dermatitis. After handling or applying Nigella sativa, you may develop red, irritated patches of skin across the site of treatment. The skin may also become dry or begin to flake or itch. Seek prompt medical care if you experience a severe skin reaction, such as oozing or painful blisters, after using this supplement.
Kidney or Liver Safety Considerations
In going through many peer-review journals and research about Nigella sativa, we could not find any medical reports indicating that there is kidney or liver damage when used in high doses in humans. However, side effects of high dose treatment were observed in rats given 2 grams per kilogram or more of Nigella sativa oil. Considering the body mass difference between rats and humans, one would have to ingest roughly 200,000 grams of (BSO) for any adverse symptoms to occur. Additional human research studies are necessary to further evaluate the effect Nigella sativa may have on the kidneys or liver.
The safety and efficacy of Nigella sativa have not been fully evaluated in pregnant women. Consequently, expectant mothers should not take Nigella sativa unless otherwise instructed by a medical professional, warns Dr. Michael Tierra with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Talk with your doctor about any medication you are currently taking before you begin treatment with Nigella sativa. This supplement is an antioxidant and may protect cells against damage. Use of Nigella sativa in combination with antihypertensive (high blood pressure) drugs may cause a sudden drop in your blood pressure levels. Low blood pressure, also called hypotension, may result in symptoms of dizziness, headache or fatigue.
Note: We contacted no less than six companies to verify the purity and potency of their Black Seed Oil, and the one that we recommend is from Life Extension because they not only sent us a certificate of analysis (COA) as seen below, (which no other company was willing to send us), which shows in detail the purity of their (BSO), they also took the extra step to ensure us of what their strict testing protocols are and the extensive qualification process that is performed with all of their products in an email back to us, as seen below the COA.
Below is the email reply back to us from Life Extension.
“The Thymocid™ [the company trademark of the supplier] organic black cumin seed oil is manufactured with Cold Press Process. It is the extrusion process used to extract the oil from the seed. This process is mechanical only, relying on pressure to “squeeze” the oil out of the seed. At no time are water or solvents of any kind used in this process. The country of origin in the USA. We apologize, but we do not reveal the names of the labs/testing facilities.
Please be assured of our high quality standards. All of our raw material vendors undergo an extensive qualification process conducted by our Product Development, Quality Assurance/Quality Control, and Purchasing departments. The testing procedures include (but are not limited to) identification using infrared spectrophotometry, high-performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC), microbial analysis, physical characteristics, potency/strength confirmation, and heavy metal testing. Only when raw materials meet Life Extension’s specifications are they released for production.
As an extra measure, Life Extension then tests each finished product to ensure their quality, purity, and potency. This extra testing helps confirm that the purity and dose of the ingredients are equivalent to what is on the label of the product and that it meets our finished product specifications.”
If you decide to use black seed oil for any one of its health benefits in liquid form, the taste of the oil is very pungent, somewhat bitter and definitely an ‘acquired taste’ to get used to. We recommend taking it in pill form which may be a better alternative for those who’d like to bypass experiencing the taste of the oil.
If you’d’ like to pick up some Black Seed Oil from Life Extension and see how it works for you, click here. The link is to the pill form of it on Amazon. Read through the reviews and see for yourself just amazing Black Seed Oil is.
Regardless of what form of Black Seed Oil you get, there is no doubt that this is possibly one of the most important natural remedies every person should have in their medicine cabinet.
Here’s to your good health!
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Portions of this article first appeared on Dr. Axe.com.