For thousands of years, plants have been used as medicine in many indigenous tribes. One such plant was Nigella Satvia, commonly known as black seed.
Nigella sativa is a small flowering shrub with purple or white-tinged flowers that grows in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and western Asia. This shrub produces fruits that have tiny black seeds.
Black seed has been widely used for various ailments in Ayurveda medicine and to the Muslims, it is considered one of the greatest forms of healing. It is recorded in hadith that it is a cure for everything except death and is recommended for regular use in the book, Medicine of the Prophet ﷺ. Archaeologists have even found black seeds in King Tut’s tomb, emphasizing their importance in history for healing and protection.
Due to extensive studies that have been carried out by various researchers, a wide spectrum of black seed’s pharmacological actions have been explored which may include: anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, immunomodulator, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, bronchodilator, hepato-protective, renal protective, gastro-protective, antioxidant properties, anti-hypertensive, liver tonic, diuretic, digestive, anti-diarrheal, appetite stimulant, analgesics, anti-bacterial and skin disorders.
Now being dubbed as “ A Miracle Herb” because it can cure multiple ailments and disorders, black seed has become the top herbal medicine based on evidence in the science world. This may be due to its therapeutic properties from the presence of thymoquinone which is a major antioxidant and anti-inflammatory component of the essential oil.
Let us now explore deeper into the major benefits of black seed.
1. Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Black seed has proven to reduce inflammation and relax smooth muscles, easing the symptoms of people with asthma in clinical studies. Combined with its antioxidant properties, these effects help prevent gastrointestinal disorders and relieve related symptoms. Black seed may even help with neuro-inflammation, or inflammation of brain tissue, which may contribute to the development of diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s.
2. Metabolic Disorders and Weight Loss Support
When taken as a supplement, black seed oil could help people combat obesity and metabolic disorders. Recent studies have suggested that its use as a supplement may reduce body weight.
Women consumed black seed oil or a placebo while following a low-calorie diet for eight weeks. At the study's end, weight, waist circumference, and triglyceride levels had decreased more in the group that took the black seed oil.
3. Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Initial research has found that black seed may help lower blood pressure in healthy people.
It also lowers cholesterol. Women who combined black seed supplements with a low-calorie diet lowered their cholesterol more than women who didn’t take the supplements.
4. Lower Blood Sugar
According to an article in the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, black seed oil may have anti-diabetic properties and improve blood sugar levels. People with type 2 diabetes who take black seed supplements have shown lower blood sugar levels, putting them at less risk for future diabetes related complications.
5. Cancer Prevention
Black seed oil is also thought to have anti-cancer properties. It may help fight against skin cancers when applied topically. Recent studies have shown that the thymoquinone in black seed oil can influence programmed cell death, or apoptosis, in several types of cancer cells. These include brain cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer cells.
Thymoquinone was also able to reduce the growth of tumors in lab rats. The oil also may help to reduce the tissue damaging effects of radiation that is used to kill cancer cells. But these results haven’t been studied in humans. Black seed oil shouldn’t be used as a substitute for conventional cancer treatments.
According to the Journal of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery, applying a lotion prepared with 10% black seed oil significantly reduced the incidence of acne after two months. Those who participated in the study reported 67% satisfaction.
7. Hydrating hair
Black seed oil contains antihistamine. Antihistamines are often prescribed to patients with alopecia to help with hair regrowth and any thinning spots. So there are ways it can help with growing out your hair and keeping it soft, hydrated, and shiny.
Applying black seed oil has been shown to reduce psoriasis plaques. The most appealing benefits of black cumin seed oil is its antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which work to reduce clogged pores and control oil, as well as tame redness and soothe irritation, including eczema.
9. Softening skin
Black seed oil has been added to oils and moisturizers to improve skin moisture and hydration. You'll be hard-pressed to find an oil more nourishing than black cumin seed, which contains over 100 vitamins and minerals. These include vitamins A, B, and C, which help the skin retain moisture, maintain elasticity, and fight the damaging free radicals that age you faster. Plus, the product boasts gobs of fatty acids, which reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
10. Fades dark spots and discoloration
Use the product regularly and it can help fade dark spots caused by aging, hormones, and sun damage. This is thanks to the vitamin A, amino acids, and fatty acids, which collaborate to regenerate skin cells, reducing the appearance of that discoloration over time.
11. Wound healing
Application of black seed oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and the presence of bacteria to aid in wound healing. While it doesn’t seem to be helpful in growing new collagen fibers, it does stimulate other growth factors to help the body create new, healthy skin.
12. Liver and kidney function
According to a 2013 study, black seed oil may reduce liver and kidney disease complications and improve the organ structures. Studies also show that it can boost liver health and kill antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”, which may contribute to the development of diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson’s.
Infertility can have a variety of different causes, however it’s been proven that black seed oil has helped many improve their fertility. For those that are suffering from infertility, know that black seeds have been used to improve the reproductive health of men and women for over two thousand years. To date, it is still one of the best natural remedies for boosting fertility.
A placebo-controlled clinical trial on men with abnormal sperm and infertility has found that black seed oil can improve sperm movement and increase sperm count and semen volume.
Not to mention, it’s also been proven to increase sex-drive and can act as a natural aphrodisiac. Its strong anti-inflammatory compounds help circulate blood flow and oxygen to sex organs of both genders.
14. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Taking oral black seed oil may help to reduce inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. A study of 43 women with mild-to-moderate rheumatoid arthritis took black seed oil capsules or a placebo every day for one month. Treatment with black seed oil led to a reduction in arthritis symptoms (as assessed by a clinical rating scale), blood levels of inflammatory markers, and the number of swollen joints.
15. Nasal Inflammation
Black seed oil shows promise in the treatment of allergies. In a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology, black seed oil was found to reduce the presence of nasal congestion, itching, runny nose, and sneezing after two weeks.
Another report published in 2018 analyzed data to determine if black seed oil could help in the treatment of sinusitis. Study authors concluded that the oil has therapeutic potential in the treatment of the condition due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antihistaminic, immune-modulator, antimicrobial, and analgesic effects.
The anti-inflammatory effects of black seed oil may extend to improving asthma symptoms. Its effect in reducing inflammation in the airways may also help with bronchitis symptoms. A study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2017 found that people with asthma who took black seed oil capsules had a significant improvement in asthma control compared with those who took a placebo.
17. Reducing upset stomach
Eating black seeds or taking black seed oil is associated with relieving stomach pain and cramps. The oil can help to reduce gas, stomach bloating, and the incidence of ulcers as well.
18. Promotes Heart Health
An unhealthy heart can be a result of a variety of reasons, but they all stem from a common denominator; not giving the heart the nutrients it needs. The rich and unsaturated Omega 6 & 9 acids as well as the phytosterols that black seeds contain offer amazing heart benefits and help reinforce elasticity in your blood vessel walls, thereby aiding in the prevention of blood clot formation and arterial pressure.
Fungal infections occur when bacteria grows on top of your skin, resulting in a variety of different diseases and rashes. Research shows that fungus and mold cannot co-exist with the compounds found in black seeds, leading many scientists to conclude that black seed oil is beyond a powerful herb, but an excellent natural remedy. The results show that black seed has effective antifungal and anti-bacterial properties that can extensively treat and cure fungal infections.
20. Immune Booster
Infections of all types are fought off by the immune system, specifically white cells. By targeting the immune system directly, black seed oil helps your body fight off infections from head to toe. This is a unique property that black seeds were known for throughout history, and they stood the test of time to be one of if not the most powerful natural remedies today. Not only does black seed pack anti-bacterial properties but also anti-fungal, a great one two combo that can treat and cure infections.
Since most diarrhea is a result of a viral infection, the anti-inflammatory properties of black seed makes a perfect home remedy for it. It balances your digestion and intestines, allowing your body to become less constipated.
22. Helps Eliminate Insomnia
Studies have shown that taking black seed oil for insomnia and other sleep disorders can be very effective. Many have claimed that it has helped them eliminate their sleeping disorder altogether.
23. Prevents Muscle Cramps and Spasms
The antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory agents in black seed oil make it very helpful in preventing and easing muscle cramps/spasms. You can either consume it orally or rub some oil on the affected areas to see near instant results.
24. Treats Toothaches
An effective remedy for toothaches is black seed oil. To relieve the pain and soreness, all you do is rub the oil on your gums for 20 seconds. Then sit back and feel the anti-oxidants go to work.
25. Opiate Addiction Treatment
Using black seed oil to treat opiate addiction and withdrawal is another proven effective benefit of black seeds. In studies it has proven to rapidly improve the symptoms of acute opiate withdrawals. Additionally, it was observed that black seeds prevented relapse in some cases as well.
26. Treats Earaches
Black seed oil mixed with olive oil (1/2 teaspoon each) that’s warmed and dripped into the affected ear is a natural way of getting quick relief from ear pain. You should place a hat or scarf over the ear for 2 minutes and let it sit.
27. Relieves Headaches and Migraines
Another more notorious benefit of black seed oil, using it to treat headaches and migraines is one of it’s most praised uses. For centuries, Arabs and Europeans have used it by applying it around their eyes, nose, and forehead. This gave them immediate relief from the throbbing pain, and it can do the same for you.
28. Energy and Chronic Fatigue
Many of us experience emotional and mental lows in our lives, on top of the physical ones. For a boost in spirit, energy and overall mood and health, nothing beats black seed oil. It’s one of the most potent natural remedies known to improve overall state of health, both mental and physical.
29. Prevents Anemia
Many of us are at risk of iron deficiency, and it can put our bodies and health at serious risk. Once again, black seeds come to the rescue; they’ve been known to prevent and treat anemia, removing it completely in many cases and studies.
30. Detoxifies Body
Toxicity is a major concern for many, and finding a natural way to do it can seem impossible. Luckily, black seed oil has been used for detox for years, and studies prove that it can lower toxicity levels throughout the body significantly.
The story of black seed doesn’t end here. The benefits are overwhelming but you get the point.
It is so sad to see pharmaceutical companies raking in billions in developing long treatment cycles for most of the ailments discussed above. While you might think it’s impossible for a natural herb to provide such treatment for so many different diseases, the facts speak for themselves.
This seed truly is blessed.
Ways to Use Black Seed
If you’re looking to expand your palate, you can incorporate black seeds into your dishes. Suggestions on foods to add black seeds include:
toasted and sprinkled on flatbreads, bagels or biscuits
add to soups, curries, stir-fries, pastas and salads
grinding them and mixing them with other seasonings like mustard, fennel, cumin seeds and herbs de provence.
It’s also sold as an oil that can be applied topically to the skin and hair or taken by the spoonful. The oil is sometimes packaged into capsules as well for daily consumption.
Talk with your doctor before you start taking black seed oil, and include it on your home medicine cabinet today!