Black seed or Nigella sativa, has been traditionally used by people of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa for various conditions. Nigella sativa is referred to by many names such as black cumin, onion seed, and Roman coriander. It is also sometimes called black caraway and black sesame. Health experts claim that it is able to help cure everything from allergies to hypertension.
- Botanical Name: Nigella sativa
- Common Name: Black Seed; Black Cumin; Black Coriander;
- Hindi: Kalonji
- Tamil: Karun Jeeragam
Health benefits of Nigella sativa
The black seed oil has many health benefits. Traditionally, it has been used to treat respiratory health, stomach problems, kidney, liver, and intestinal complaints. Due to its miraculous power of healing, Nigella sativa is among the top-ranked evidence-based herbal medicines. This is mainly because it is rich in three important natural chemicals, namely, thymoquinone, thymohydroquinone and thymol.
According to an article “A review on the therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb” published in the APJTB, “extensive studies on N. sativa have been carried out by various researchers and a wide spectrum of its pharmacological actions have been explored which may include antidiabetic, anticancer, immunomodulator, analgesic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, bronchodilator, hepatoprotective, renal protective, gastro-protective, antioxidant properties, etc”. Most scientific articles that have been published about black seed oil benefits, agree on the fact that there are very few ailments that it cannot help heal. It does not seem to have any side effects and its healing power is amazing.
1. Black Seed Oil Health Benefits for Cancer
According to healthimpactnews.com, “Black cumin seed oil inhibits cancer cell activity and can even kill some types of cancer cells. Scientific research has shown that black seed oil (Nigella sativa) is an effective treatment for cancer in animal studies, and can be as effective as anti-cancer drugs for some types of cancer. Black cumin seed oil and its extract thymoquinone have powerful benefits for various inflammatory diseases including liver cancer, melanoma skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, bone cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and brain cancer.”
Experiments conducted, show that both, thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone, display anti-tumour activity. Black seed oil is rich in both chemicals. It is believed to prevent and treat cancer through various mechanisms like anti-proliferation, apoptosis induction, anti-metastasis, and anti-angiogenesis.
Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Centre at Jefferson in Philadelphia have found that thymoquinone, an extract of Nigella sativa seed oil, blocked pancreatic cancer cell growth and killed the cells by enhancing the process of programmed cell death.
2. Black Seed Oil Health Benefits for Diabetes
Black seed oil is said to benefit both Type I and Type II diabetes. Researchers from the Indian Council of Medical Research, found that black seed oil “causes gradual partial regeneration of pancreatic beta-cells, increases the lowered serum insulin concentrations and decreases the elevated serum glucose.” Nigella sativa has been traditionally used for the treatment of diabetes and hypertension in south-eastern Morocco and Jorden. A cross-sectional survey of 310 diabetic patients in Jorden revealed 7.3% of them used Nigella sativa for diabetes. Nigella sativa has also been safely given to human patients in some clinical trials. More on health benefits of the black seed for diabetes.
3. Black seed Oil Health Benefits for Hypertension
In a clinical trial, oral intake of 100 and 200 mg of Nigella sativa extract twice a day by patients with mild hypertension, for 8 weeks, reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It also caused a significant decline in the level of total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
4. Black Seed Oil Benefits for the Skin
The black seed oil has cleansing properties that help to eliminate dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from hair and skin. It softens skin and helps maintain the softness and radiance of skin. It also reduces the appearance of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. It soothes acne and prevents breakouts. It slows down aging by maintaining skin elasticity and suppleness. The black seed oil also promotes moisture retention in the skin.
Black seed oil is very beneficial for those with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of black seed oil help to control and reduce the occurrence of acne. In a randomized double-blind clinical study, patients who applied N. sativa oil to lesions of vitiligo twice daily for 6 months had a significant decrease in the vitiligo area scoring index with no significant side effects.
Regular use of black seed oil is said to make your complexion smoother and brighter.
How to make black seed oil at home
It is very easy to make black seed-infused oil at home. Take about 5 tablespoons of black seed and grind it well to make a fine powder. Place this powder in a glass jar and add 250 ml of oil of your choice. You can add coconut oil or olive oil or almond oil, depending on your hair needs. Mix well and keep in the sun for a month. Filter and store in a glass jar.
You can apply a few drops of this oil as it is on your face and massage for a few minutes and then wash.
Face mask with black seed oil
You can also make a face mask for your skin which will gently exfoliate and nourish your skin.
- 1 tsp black seed-infused oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp finely ground litchi/Lychee peel
- 1/2 tsp veg glycerine
Mix all the ingredients together. Apply on the face and massage lightly in a circular motion and keep for 10 minutes. Rinse your face with warm water and pat dry gently. Now take a few drops of black seed oil and apply it all over your face, and gently massage it in.
This mask helps to purify the skin, reduces blemishes, and helps to achieve an even complexion and healthy glowing skin. Click here to know how to make litchi/lychee peel extract
5. Benefits for hair
Black seed oil is very nourishing for the hair. Black seed has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties which help to manage scalp infections. Black seed oil stimulates the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair and helps to prevent hair fall. It also conditions and protects hair from damage. It softens hair without making it greasy. It helps to eliminate dandruff and moisturizes the hair.
You can easily make a black seed hair oil at home
How to make black seed hair oil
- 200 ml coconut oil
- 50 ml castor oil
- 2.5 tablespoons black seed
- 2.5 tablespoons fenugreek seed
Grind the black seed and fenugreek seed separately. Mix them together and put the powder in a glass jar. Now add the oils to it and mix well. Screw the lid tightly. Now place this in a sunny spot for a month. You can also keep it in a cupboard for 6-8 weeks.
Filter the oil and store it in a glass container. Use this oil twice a week. Massage your scalp with it and keep it for at least 2-3 hours. You can also apply it at night and wash it in the morning with mild shampoo.
This oil helps hair growth, prevents hair oil, and reduces the chances of any infection. Any natural remedy has to be used consistently to see results. You will start seeing results in 2-3 months. More on the health benefits of coconut oil
6. Black Seed Health Benefits for Respiratory Conditions
Nigella sativa has anticholinergic, antihistaminic, and muscle relaxant effects, which have been found useful in patients with asthma in clinical trials. Nigella sativa has also been found to be useful in patients with acute tonsillopharyngitis in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Oral administration of 50% boiled extract of Nigella sativa seeds to human victims of war, resulted in clinical improvement of respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function tests.
7. Anti-bacterial Health Benefits of Black Seed Oil
Most infections are becoming resistant to generic antibiotics. Most infections are due to weakened immunity. When used regularly, black seed can help to improve immunity, particularly in immunocompromised patients. MRSA is a bug that is considered a global public health risk. In a study conducted in Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, researchers set out to determine how effective black seed oil is against some of the superbugs and compared it against several antibiotics such as Amoxicillin, Gatifloxacin, and Tetracycline. According to the study, “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 study discovered that it was especially effective against multidrug-resistant strains of P. aeruginosa and S. aureus.
Other Health Benefits of Nigella sativa
Animal studies indicate that Nigella sativa may improve cognitive function. A study of 40 elderly people showed that Nigella sativa enhanced memory, cognition, and attention without side effects. Researchers believe that Nigella sativa may help in preventing the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. It is also said to aid liver health. A study published in the April 2013 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology found an association between hepatoprotection and Nigella sativa in individuals with hepatitis C. Nigella sativa may also be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis patients because of its immune-modulating effects. An extract of thymoquinone, from black seed, was shown to protect neurons from toxicity associated with Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Nigella sativa Home Remedies
- Take equal quantities of asparagus seeds, fenugreek seeds, and black cumin seeds. Powder them together and store them. One level tsp of this mixture taken every morning relieves painful arthritis
- For pimples and blackheads, grind a tsp of dried black seeds with a little milk. Add half a tsp of fresh lime juice and apply it to the pimples. Leave overnight and wash off in the morning.
- A water decoction made with Nigella sativa seeds is given to mothers from the second day after childbirth, to strengthen the system and fight post-delivery infection. It is also said to cleanse the uterus.
- A paste made with black seed can be applied over the genitals to treat erectile dysfunction.
- For cough and asthma, pour a teaspoon of Kalonji Oil in boiling water and inhale the vapours twice a day. It also helps to relieve nasal congestion.
- Mix half a tsp of ginger juice with half a tsp of black seed powder and take twice a day for relief from vomiting.
- Mix a tsp of black seed oil in a cup of milk and drink it for relief from acidity and dyspepsia.