Black seed oil, which is derived from the seeds of the Nigella sativa plant, may be one of the best-kept secrets of natural remedies. If black seed oil (or black seed powder) is not on your radar or in your supplement cabinet, perhaps it should be, and here’s why.
Nigella sativa is a flowering perennial that is native to south and southwest Asia. The seeds have a bitter, pungent taste and aroma and are a favorite spice in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. As an herbal remedy, it has been credited with effectively treating just about anything and has been used for millennia.
Black seeds, which are also sometimes referred to as black cumin, black caraway, black sesame, and Roman coriander, have been the subject of hundreds of scientific studies for a wide variety of symptoms and conditions. Experts have proposed that the reason for the effectiveness of black seed oil is the presence of three phytochemicals: thymoquinone (TQ), thymohydroguinone (THQ), and thymol. These natural chemicals have demonstrated an ability to destroy or inhibit dozens of common human pathogens, which is a big reason why researchers have been testing its ability to fight superbugs. But fighting superbugs is not the only thing for which black seed oil is valued.
Benefits of black seed oil
Here is a discussion of seven health benefits of black seed oil. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best dose of black seed oil for your needs.
- Diabetes. Some research gives black seed oil a lot of credit when it comes to helping with diabetes. In fact, one study claims that the natural remedy “improves glucose tolerance as efficiently as metformin; yet it has not shown significant adverse effects and has very low toxicity.” In a clinical trial of 114 patients with type 2 diabetes, use of black seed oil for one year resulted in a significant decline in fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c as well as improvements in other factors associated with diabetes when compared with placebo.
- Hair loss. Although there are no published studies to support this claim, anecdotal reports claim that black seed oil may help with the regrowth of hair in thinning areas. Combine 1 part black seed oil with 2 parts olive oil and massage the mixture into your scalp vigorously to encourage hair growth. Rinse with a cleansing condition. Perform this oil massage several times a week. The anti-inflammatory properties of black seed oil, as well as its antioxidant and antimicrobial characteristics, are believed to contribute to promoting healthy hair roots.
- Liver health. The liver is a master detox organ, so it’s critical that it function optimally at all times. Experts have shown that use of black seed oil promotes better liver function and helps prevent damage and disease.
- Skin health. Black seed oil has a beneficial impact on the production of melanin, which is a pigment that protects the skin from damage. Therefore, using black seed oil on your skin can promote a healthy dermis and healing. Use of the oil has been shown to help manage eczema and to be as effective as betamethasone for this purpose. Black seed oil also can help reduce symptoms of psoriasis and acne. The oil can be taken internally, applied as is or is available in various lotions.
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- Super bugs. The growing problem of super bugs has been all the buzz for several years, with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) topping the list of bad guys. MRSA is a significant problem in hospitals and nursing homes, which provide a potentially deadly combination: close quarters, many elderly and frail individuals, invasive procedures, and an ordinary staph infection that has become resistant to generic antibiotics. Some research indicates that various strains of MRSA are sensitive to Nigella sativa, which suggests the remedy may help slow down or stop the superbug infection from spreading.
- Weight loss. In a review of more than a dozen herbal remedies and their ability to help with weight loss, Nigella sativa was noted to have “satisfactory anti-obesity effects.” It appears black seed oil helps us drop pounds by reducing appetite, blood glucose levels, cholesterol, triglycerides, and absorption of glucose in the intestinal tract.
[Editor's Note: North American Herb & Spice offers a raw black seed oil. You can find out more on their website.]
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