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;
Tamil: Karun Jeeragam
Health benefits of Nigella sativa
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 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, hepato-protective, 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.
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.
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 Reasearch, 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 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 black seed for diabetes.
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 of 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.
Black Seed Health Benefits for Respiratory Conditions
Nigella sativa has anticholinergic, antihistaminic and muscle relaxant effects, which has been found useful in patients of asthma in clinical trials. Nigella sativa has also been found to be useful in patients of acute tonsillo-pharyngitis 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.
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. 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 on 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 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 oil in a cup of milk and drink it for relief from acidity and dyspepsia.