Erbology
Black seed oil benefits

Black seed oil benefits

Team ErbologyErbology

Black seeds or Nigella sativa make appearances in an impressive variety of traditional curries, pickles, breads, and more. They are also found in liquors and candies. Besides their culinary use, these little seeds can have an impressive effect on your health, particularly when it comes to your immune system. Let's take a look at black seed oil's benefits.

November 23, 2020 12:03 pm

The seed with many names

They may be known by many names (black seed, black cumin, black caraway, shonaiz, kalajira, kalonji among them). But, however they are known to you, black seeds have a rich history when it comes to health.

They are tiny, elegantly shaped, matte black in color, and the delicate pale blue and white flowers of the mother plant can be found growing in regions worldwide from Eastern Europe, to Western Asia, and then to the Middle East. → View Related Products

Black cumin has been used in natural healing for thousands and thousands of years. Throughout the Islamic and Arabic worlds, black seed is thought to be a universal healer. It was even  mentioned by none other than the Prophet Mohammad, who claimed that it could cure ‘anything except death itself.’

Many other famous historical figures have also extolled the power of this special seed. Among them are the Greek physician Hippocrates, the natural philosopher Pliny the Elder and the pharmacologist, physician, and botanist Pedanius Dioscorides. The latter is the author of “De Materia Medica”, a five-volume encyclopaedia covering herbal medicines, which was referred to for over 1,500 years.

If that weren’t enough splendour and distinction, the Holy Bible also mentions black seed as a remedy. And, archeologists found it in the tomb of the boy Pharaoh, Tututankhamun.

organic black seed oil

Research

Over the last fifty years, researchers have been conducting extensive scientific studies to investigate the health benefits of black cumin. One count estimates the number at more than 630 peer-reviewed studies. They have determined that black seed contains over 100 elements and that a special combination of proteins, alkaloids, saponins, and fine strains of various constituents gives black seed its extraordinary medicinal properties.(1)

Modern research has also provided the data to back up what traditional users of black seed oil have known for generations. Recent studies have provided a scientific basis for black seed’s use as a painkiller, antifungal, antihistamine, contraceptive, anti-inflammatory and diuretic, among a host of other health benefits.(2)

Among the various ingredients found in black cumin, the phytochemical compound thymoquinone is thought to be involved in many of black seed’s healing properties. Thymoquinone is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

How do I use black seed oil in food?

Aside from its powerful potential in healthcare and wellbeing, black seed oil is wonderfully versatile as a household staple. In the kitchen, you can add cold-pressed black seed oil to a wide variety of dishes. Its incredible potency means that one to three teaspoons per day is a sufficient dosage. If you’d like to apply it directly to your skin, you should dilute it in a carrier oil. → View Related Products

Black seed oil benefits for hair and skin

As a cosmetic ingredient, black seed oil may be effective in fighting acne, unclogging pores, and combatting inflammation. It can help regulate facial oil, as well as reduce redness. A favourite homemade mask of ours combines black seed oil, ground apricot kernels, and honey. We regularly add this oil into our massage oils as well.

As for hair, Cleopatra is said to have used it on hers! Just add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner to boost your hair and scalp.

Numerous scientific studies back the benefits of black seed oil to the hair and scalp in two main areas. Firstly, it can feed and nourish the hair and scalp, and secondly, it combats the environmental causes of hair loss. This is mainly thanks to its spectacular emollient, antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties.(4)

With its peppery scent, black seed oil is also lovely as a base note for homemade fragrances made with essential oils.

Black seed oil benefits for the immune system

To add the testimony of one more luminary of the ages, we cite Avicenna, the Persian father of early modern medicine. In his Canon of Medicine, written in 1025 A.D., he writes that black seed oil supports physical vigour and aids recuperation from exhaustion. Today, we interpret that to mean black seed boosts the immune system.

Fight microbes, moulds, and fungi with black seed oil

Given that the increase of antibiotic resistance and the rise of ‘superbugs’ has occupied the headlines in recent years, black seed oil’s potential as an anti-microbial is welcome news.

‘Superbugs’ are strains of bacteria and viruses which have become resistant to antibiotics and other drugs. They are often new bugs which, because of their ability to fight off normal medications, are very difficult to treat.

These unusually hardy pathogens present a real problem for those who are already sick. In the US, between 5% and 10% of all hospital patients will come down with an infection. Today, hospital deaths in the US as a result of infection are up to 90,000 from 13,300 in 1992.(5)  

Research done at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College tested the effectiveness of black seed oil, as well as a number of antibiotics, on 144 varieties of superbugs. The study found that most bugs were indeed resistant to antibiotics, but that black seed oil succeeded in stopping the growth of 97 out of 144.(6)

It is thought that black seed oil is effective in this way thanks to a special triad of substances naturally present in black seeds. Alongside the previously mentioned thymoquinone is  thymohydroquinone, an incredibly potent acetylcholinesterase (AChe) inhibitor which helps to halt or slow enzyme activity in the brain. Pharmaceutical-grade AChes are used to combat diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, and glaucoma.

The final member of the trio is thymol, a natural disinfectant which can be used against viruses and as a pesticide.

Research has shown that individually, each of these phytochemicals is quite effective against fungi and moulds.(7) All three showed full inhibition of the 30 pathogens included in the research. Working in tandem, they provide black seed oil with powerful anti-microbial properties.

Black seed oil benefits for liver

The liver takes care of nearly all of the contaminants that we ingest through diet and environmental pollution and pollutants. It is also responsible for assimilating fats. Keeping this organ healthy is one of the best things that we can do for ourselves.

Unfortunately, the liver is quite sensitive. Factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, medication or disease can easily damage the liver.

This presents another way that black seed oil benefits us. Research has found that, in rats, black seed oil boosted liver function and protected it from further damage.(8) Although the liver is an important part of the immune system, it is also involved in digestion and enzyme activation. That makes it incredibly important for your overall health.

Taken together with the effect of black seed oil on moulds, fungi and superbugs and its overall boosting of the entire immune system, it becomes clear why black seed oil is traditionally used to detoxify the body.

"Throughout the Islamic and Arabic worlds, black seed is thought to be a universal healer."

Erbology Black Seed Oil

Erbology Black Seed Oil is organic and cold-pressed. It is vegan, gluten-free and clean of any preservatives or genetic modifications. Black seed oil has a quite strong, piquant flavour that awakens all of the senses whether ingested or applied externally. → View Related Products

 

Buddha bowl with black seed oil

Side effects of black seed oil

This oil is so potent that it may irritate. That’s why, we encourage a patch test when using black cumin oil on the skin. For some, it may cause upset stomach, constipation or vomiting when taken internally.

Anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding, on medication, or has surgery scheduled within the next two weeks should not ingest black seed oil. If you are diabetic, have low blood pressure or a bleeding disorder, consult your doctor before taking black seed oil.  

Key black seed oil benefits

  • Shore up your immune system
  • Nourish skin and hair
  • Remarkably effective against microbes and fungi
  • Cleanse and boost liver function
  • Excellent for general wellness and detoxification

Black seed oil recipes

If you’ve been following our products and the dishes that we enjoy showcasing them in, you probably know that we love a Buddha Bowl!

Often, we lean towards keeping the flavours as clean and simple as possible. Sometimes though, you long for zingy, energising flavours to bring you back to life after a tiring few days on the go. .

Our Buddha bowl recipe with Black Seed Oil is made with a susbtantial base of bright, nutritious vegetables and filling pulses. Kimchi and black seed oil bring strong, unexpected flavours to reinvigorate a classic recipe. Both ingredients are of course renowned for their ability to cleanse the body and restore balance.

Finally, agave nectar and apple cider vinegar tie everything together with an appealing sweetness.

Our Black Seed Buddha Bowl is definitely one to keep in the arsenal for these days when you want to shake things up just a bit.

Related reading

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  • (1) Khader, Mohannad and Eckl, Peter M, “Thymoquinone: an emerging natural drug with a wide range of medical applications”, Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 2014.

    (2) Tariq, Mohammad, “Nigella Sativa Seeds: Folklore Treatment in Modern Day Medicine”, The Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology, 2008.

    (3) Racoma et al, “Thymoquinone Inhibits Autophagy and Induces Cathepsin-Mediated, Caspase-Independent Cell Death in Glioblastoma Cells”, PLOS One, 2013.

    (4) Various studies.

    (5) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2014.

    (6) Salman et al, “Antimicrobial activity of Nigella sativa Linn. seed oil against multi-drug resistant bacteria from clinical isolates”, Natural Product Radiance, 2008.

    (7) Taha et al, “Antifungal effect of thymol, thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone against yeasts, dermatophytes and non-dermatophyte moulds isolated from skin and nails fungal infections”, Egyptian Journal of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 2010.

    (8) Hamed et al, “Effects of black seed oil on resolution of hepato-renal toxicity induced bybromobenzene in rats”, European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 2013.

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