Black seed oil or black cumin oil has a long holistic and culinary history. The traditional Middle Eastern spice is used in pastries, dairy products, and salads, and for thousands of years, the phytochemical-rich oil has been both applied topically and taken internally to treat a wide variety of health conditions.
What are Phytochemicals?
Black seed oil gets its benefits from the presence of three natural chemicals: thymoquinone, thymohydroquinone, and thymol. These phytochemicals are a powerful triple threat, and studies show together or individually they have impressive effects against many pathogens, diseases, and inflammatory conditions. Also, black seed oil may help protect the health of many of our organs.
Helps Fight Cancer
The phytochemicals in black seed oil may help naturally treat cancer by acting against invading tumor cells. In particular, the thymoquinone in black seeds can promote cell destruction in tumors. The oil also contains antioxidants that research shows have cancer-fighting properties. Antioxidants reduce the number of free radical molecules in the body that damage healthy cells and inhibit new cell growth, allowing cancerous cells to grow and spread.
Promotes Liver Health
The liver works hard, removing toxins, producing bile, and processing fats. Compromised liver function due to the side effects of medication or alcohol consumption impacts the organ’s filtering capabilities. Black seed oil has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent and protect the liver from damage. Black seed oil may also reduce the risk of liver disease and fatty liver due to viruses and toxins.
Reduces Complications from Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, and diabetes may be reversible, and some of the symptoms mitigated, by the consumption of black seed oil. These conditions are typified by insulin resistance, which prevents the cells from receiving proper nourishment. Studies show black seed oil both reduce blood glucose levels (blood sugar) and increase available insulin.
Helps Weight Loss Goals
A study of 90 women with obesity found that subjects who added black seed oil to a low-calorie diet experienced more weight loss than those who simply adjusted their diets. Studies show a decrease in BMI due to the ability of black seed oil to regulate metabolism and decrease cravings. Naturally regulating the appetite can help those on reduced-calorie diets to eat less.
To prevent scarring, some physicians suggest applying black seed oil to minor cuts and abrasions once the wounds begin to heal. The oil can also alleviate symptoms in people who experience rashes due to allergic reactions and eczema due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities. Topical application can ease itching and reduce redness and irritation.
Promotes Strong, Shiny Hair
Black seed oil contains an antihistamine called nigellone, which research shows can help with androgenic alopecia or alopecia areata, conditions that result in hair loss. Black seed oil may improve scalp health, reduce inflammation, and increase the strength of the hair follicles. In addition, the skin-calming effects may ease the itching and flaky skin of dandruff.
Black seed oil has the ability to fight bacterial infections, even drug-resistant ones such as MRSA, a staph infection that resists traditional antibiotics. Black seed oil is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial. Studies show that black seed oil has an inhibitory effect on MRSA. It can also destroy unhealthy cells such as bacteria and tumors.
Black seed oil is a traditional treatment for male infertility, and a systematic review of several studies found that it is, indeed, effective. The antioxidant effects of the oil significantly improved sperm count and other fertility markers in male subjects with fertility problems. The studies included in the review indicate that black seed can positively influence sperm and semen production, enhance the health of the reproductive organs, and regulate sex hormones. Infertile men should speak to a physician before choosing black seed oil as a fertility treatment, as there is insufficient evidence that black seed oil can cure infertility completely.
Helps Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Studies suggest regular consumption of black seed oil can help lower LDL cholesterol — the bad cholesterol. Black seed powder, as opposed to the oil, was shown to increase HDL cholesterol — the good cholesterol. This is good news for those with high blood cholesterol, as reduction of LDL and an increase in HDL, correlates with a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
Black seed oil may help relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Countless studies show black seed oil assists in rebalancing inflammatory reactions. The recommended dose of black seed oil for rheumatoid arthritis is 500 mg twice daily to reduce joint swelling and stiffness. However, the optimal dose has yet to be established. Studies also suggest black seed oil has few side effects compared to over-the-counter pain relievers. Yet, it could alter the breakdown of some medications, so speak to your doctor before taking it. Also, black seed oil may not be safe if you have kidney or liver problems.
Candida albicans is a common cause of vaginal and oral thrush, but the antifungal properties of black seed oil may keep yeast from overgrowing in the body. Research shows it produces intense antifungal activity when taken orally or applied topically. For topical applications, a doctor or naturopath may suggest using black seed essential oil. However, there’s not enough evidence yet to support its use routinely to treat Candida albicans.
For people who have asthma, black seed oil may improve the condition. Research shows the anti-inflammatory effects reduce inflammation in the airways. For this reason, black seed oil may also treat bronchitis. Always speak with a doctor first to assess whether alternative therapies may be a safe option. While black seed oil may not replace prescribed medications, it may provide soothing benefits.
Studies show that taking black cumin seed extract for as little as two months may reduce blood pressure. It can also help lower cholesterol thanks to its high levels of healthy fatty acids. Always talk to a doctor before taking black seed oil for elevated blood pressure or high cholesterol and don’t use it as a replacement for prescription therapy without getting your doctor’s okay
People who suffer from headaches may find relief with black seed oil. This natural remedy has been a go-to for centuries and has fewer side effects than many over-the-counter medications. Research shows black seed oil may be beneficial for sinusitis, a common headache trigger, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. The same study found it to be an effective natural remedy for neck pain, and ear and toothaches that cause headaches. Black seed oil has been used historically for these purposes, but there’s little research is available to support its effectiveness. More studies are needed in this area.