Our use of black seed oil extends back into distant history. It is said that Cleopatra used it to take care of her silky tresses, while followers of the Egyptian boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun made sure that it accompanied him into the afterlife. If you’ve decided to try it for yourself, let’s look at how much black seed oil to take and when to take it during the day.February 03, 2021 6:55 pm January 18, 2021 2:00 pm
A quick recap on black seed oil
Black seed oil is extracted from Nigella sativa seeds. You might know them better as black cumin seeds.
However, this precious oil goes by many other names, such as shonaiz, kalajira and kalonji. This is perhaps because it has been around for thousands of years and many different cultures have used it for its healing powers.
The benefits of black seed oil are thought to include taking care of your skin, scalp and hair, boosting immunity and helping to support the liver. Of these, its effects on the immune system have sparked the most scientific interest.
It has a strong, peppery and aromatic flavour.
How much black seed oil to take
At Erbology, we recommend taking up to three teaspoons of black seed oil per day.
Taking more than three teaspoons a day won’t produce any additional health benefits. As its taste is quite pungent, this amount is quite enough for many people!
You can take it neat, or you can mix it into your favourite recipes. Again, make sure that if you’re including it as a recipe ingredient, you’re not going over the recommended amount.
While many people enjoy the flavour of the oil, others can find it a bit too strong to take neat. Luckily, it blends well into many recipes. It’s a brilliant addition to olive oil-based salad dressings, or drizzled over finished dishes.
You can also try more traditional methods. For example, it’s very common to mix it with a little honey or lemon juice to help balance the strong flavour. To turn it into a drink. simply stir in as much hot water as you like.
Others like to take a teaspoon of black seed oil mixed into warm milk, often with a bit of honey too.
If you’re new to black seed oil, it’s sensible to start with a smaller amount (around half a teaspoon per day) and work your way up when you feel ready.
"Black seed oil contains natural compounds which have an antibacterial effect.(3) This makes it a great choice for people suffering from skin problems."
Black seed oil for hair
You can also follow Cleopatra’s lead and use black seed oil for its hair benefits.
There is anecdotal evidence for its hair benefits; people who use it report that it helps make their hair look shiny and smooth.
There have also been a small number of scientific studies into black seed oil’s effects on your hair. Two studies in particular have suggested that, when combined with coconut oil, it might help to slow down hair loss.(1)(2)
To treat your hair, you can create a hydrating mask by mixing coconut oil and black seed oil together. Smooth it onto your hair and allow it to sit for half an hour before shampooing and conditioning as normal.
It’s important to dilute it with a carrier oil, such as coconut, as it can cause a reaction if applied directly to your skin.
You can play about with the quantities that work for you, but generally speaking one part black seed oil to two parts carrier oil is a good rule of thumb.
Black seed oil for skin
Black seed oil contains natural compounds which have an antibacterial effect.(3) This makes it a great choice for people suffering from skin problems such as acne and vitiligo.
In fact, one study found that it was just as effective as benzyl peroxide, the standard treatment for mild to moderate acne. What’s more, the study’s participants seemed to tolerate it better.(4)
Fans also claim it can help to unclog pores, so it may be a good addition to anyone’s skincare arsenal!
Many people like to apply a few drops of black seed oil directly to their skin after cleansing. However, it can cause reactions such as rashes or redness when applied direct. We suggest diluting it in a non-comedogenic carrier oil such as our Organic Hemp Seed Oil.
This combination won’t clog your pores, and it will allow you to get the benefits of the oil without irritating your skin.
Simply mix a few drops of each oil together in the palm of your hand and gently pat into your skin before bed.
Remember to start with a very small amount and work your way up. Some people may experience an allergic reaction; if you’re concerned about this, you could try a ‘test patch’ of the oil mixture on a different part of your body to see if you experience any discomfort or redness.
When to take black seed oil
There isn’t any golden rule here; in all likelihood, it will have the same effects whenever you take it.
That said, we can look to its traditional use for some inspiration about when to take black seed oil.
For example, some people like to take it mixed with warm water and honey before breakfast. Others, who are hoping that it will help with their insomnia, like to mix it with warm milk and honey and take it before bedtime.
Many also believe that its effects will be greater when taken on an empty stomach.
However, we can’t find any scientific evidence to support the theory, or to suggest that the time of day has any effect whatsoever.
At Erbology we always encourage people to find a way to work health-promoting foods into their diet in whichever way works best for them.
So, if you are interested in trying it out, but don’t particularly like taking it neat, you could easily incorporate it into your cooking. Including it in recipes is also an easy way to slowly start introducing black seed oil in your routine. Just avoid heating it; this can damage the valuable nutrients in the oil.
In a nutshell, it’s fine to take black seed oil whenever works best for you.
How long to take it for
How you use black seed oil depends on the results you’re hoping to get from it, and your own lifestyle. For example, if you suffer from breakouts, you may want to just apply it topically when the need arises. On the other hand, you may want to include it in your diet on a daily basis.
While it is generally thought to be safe, it’s important to know that the scientific studies on its safety record is based only lasted for a maximum of three months. After this point, there is very little scientific data available on its safe use.(5)
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll experience an adverse reaction after this point, it’s important to recognise the limitations of the data available.
Can you take too much?
As mentioned, black seed oil is considered safe. Many studies state that their participants experienced no side effects whatsoever while taking it.(5)
However, there are a few reasons not to go over the recommended dose of three teaspoons per day.
Too much of this oil may cause stomach irritation, nausea and digestive issues in some people.(5) You might also experience these symptoms if you’re simply not used to taking the oil, so start with half a teaspoon per day and work your way up to a larger dose if needed.
It may also cause rashes, redness and irritation if applied directly to skin without a carrier oil.
When not to take it
If you suffer from a medical condition, or are taking prescription medication, you should speak to your doctor before taking black seed oil.
This is because there is some evidence that it interacts with some types of medication and may stop them working effectively.(6)
This is especially true if you have a blood condition, as there is some evidence that it may cause thinning of the blood and inhibit clotting.
There is no conclusive research on the safety of taking black seed oil for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or children. Your safety is the most important thing, so we don’t recommend that you take it if this applies to you.
This precious oil is a potent substance, and while that gives us a good reason to be optimistic about its benefits, it’s important not to take it if your doctor advises you not to.
Try it for yourself
If you’d like a bit more inspiration, try our recipe for this delicious macro bowl with a black seed oil dressing.
Deep, peppery and intriguing, its flavour complements the fresh vegetables and protein perfectly. We love this dish as a satisfying, healthy lunch.
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