Black Seed Oil

Black seed oil is obtained from black cumin (botanical name Nigella sativa). The oil is extracted from the seeds of the black cumin plant which belongs to the Ranunculus family.

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Black cumin is widely used in Asian, African and Mediterranean cuisines for its aromatic properties. In fact, black cumin is best known to most people for its use in culinary. However, the therapeutic properties of black cumin are much more beneficial compared to the flavour of the seeds. In the above mentioned regions as well as the traditional medicines practiced in the east such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, black cumin seeds are used even today in the form of herbal medicine.

The therapeutic properties of black cumin are attributed to three phytochemicals it contains - thymol, thymohydroquinone (THQ) and thymoquinone (TQ). These natural chemicals possess very potent antifungal properties, which have been proven to successfully eliminate an assortment of fungus as well as molds.

In fact, black seed oil is also called black cumin seed oil. However, it is different from true cumin, black sesame, black pepper or black cohosh.

In the ancient texts, black seed oil has been described as "antidote for all ailments barring death". In fact, black cumin oil has been used for therapeutic purposes for several centuries. Black cumin seeds have been traditionally used as spice in the Middle East and it is widely used in dairy products, pastries, salads and many other foods. This oil has been known for its versatile attributes. For thousands of years, black cumin seed oil has been applied externally as well as taken internally for treating almost all diseases and health conditions, ranging from colds, headaches, indigestion, various skin conditions - even leprosy, bad hair, bruises to snake bites.

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Health benefits

It has been found that black cumin oil aids in curing cancer naturally, as it encloses very potent phytochemicals. Some of the phytochemicals present in black cumin oil are antioxidants that possess both anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

It has been established that thymohydroquinone (THQ) and thymoquinone (TQ) - the two important phytochemicals found in black cumin seeds - have the ability to decrease the size of tumours by 52 percent. Thymoquinone works as a scavenger of free radicals and this phytochemical has shown that it is capable of inducing apoptosis (cell death) in the cells inflicted by leukemia. Similarly, thymohydroquinone is among the most potent inhibitors of acetylocholinesterase (AChE) found naturally on the Earth. Collectively, these two vital phytochemicals work in synergy to combat cancer.

You can also use black seed oil along with a traditional Western medicine perspective to combat cancer because these properties help to safeguard the body against several damages caused by radiation.

Moreover, Nigella sativa or black cumin seed is the only substance that is known to mankind that is capable of preventing the development of type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes.

One study involving black cumin seed showed that the oil obtained from these seeds (black cumin seed oil) was equally effective in improving glucose tolerance as Metformin. Moreover, use of black cumin seed oil does not have any adverse side effects. Metformin is one of the most crucial prescription medications for treating diabetes, but it is reported to have several side effects making the drug a suboptimal or substandard solution to the problem.

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When used externally, it has been found that black cumin seed makes the hair and skin soften and stronger. This is partially due to the presence of elevated concentration of nigellone in black cumin seeds. Nigellone is a potent antihistamine that effectively fights a number of alopecia forms. As it possesses anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, black cumin oil also hydrates, nourishes and cleanses your skin as well as the scalp. It is said that in ancient Egypt, Cleopatra used black cumin seed oil to maintain her smooth skin and beautiful hair.

Black cumin seed oil is applied topically to the skin for treating conditions such as eczema. It has been found that the results of applying this oil to treat such skin conditions are much better than using the over-the-counter drug Betamethasone. Different from Betamethasone, the benefits of using black cumin seed oil are many and, most importantly, it does not cause any side effects. On the other hand, applying the pharmaceutical cream has many adverse side effects. Actually, you can also use black seed oil on wounds to treat conditions such as scarring.

Black cumin seed oil is also beneficial for healthy weight loss and this property of the oil is also documented in scientific texts. In fact, Nigella sativa encloses one of the most effectual phytochemicals that possess potent anti-obesity properties. Taking black seed oil supplements helps to reduce weight and also the body mass index (BMI).

Black cumin seed oil offers several other benefits too. Aside from the above mentioned health benefits of this oil, it also improves semen volume, sperm motility and male sperm count. This was established in a double-blind placebo-controlled study. However, the mechanism by which black seed oil achieves the above is yet to be understood completely. A meta-analysis of all other studies undertaken on the health benefits of black cumin seed oil vis-à-vis the oil’s effect on male fertility undertaken over a period of 14 years came to the conclusion that this oil definitely has a beneficial impact on sperm parameters, Leydig cells, semen, sexual hormones and reproductive organs.

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Hippocrates, who is known as the father of modern medicine, recommended the use of black cumin seed oil for treating digestive problems. Black cumin oil possesses carminative properties. In other words, intake of this oil helps to get relief from gas, bloating and cramps. Moreover, this oil can also be employed for curing digestive problems and also support the healthy and smooth digestion in general.

Nigella sativa or black cumin seed encloses a phytochemical known as thymoquinone, which protects the heart from various ailments. When taken with black seed oil, Nigella sativa helps to maintain a healthy balance of cholesterol levels in the blood stream and, at the same time, reduces high blood pressure. In fact, these black seeds help to protect our heart in various ways.

Nigella sativa or black cumin seed possesses potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It has been found that when taken orally black cumin seed oil also lowers the incidences of fungus, Candida and parasites in the digestive tract. In addition, you may also use this oil topically to combat persistent infections of the skin and nail, including ringworm, athlete's foot and nail fungus.

Presence of elevated amounts of essential monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in black cumin seed oil, mainly oleic acid, myristic acid, linoleic acid and palmitic acids possess the ability to maintain a healthy balance of the cholesterol levels in your body and also improve circulation. This, in turn, helps to lower high blood pressure and lessen the chances of developing heart attacks, stroke and atherosclerosis.

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Since the liver's primary role is to filter out all waste products, toxins, uric acid and excess water from the body, it is very important that this organ functions optimally all the time. In addition, the liver has a crucial role in digesting the ingested foods, as bile secreted from the liver works to break down and digest the fats.

Animal studies undertaken with black cumin seed oil showed that this oil helps to heal as well as prevent the liver from diseases and damages. Therefore, including black cumin seed oil in your daily regimen will go a long way in supporting and regenerating the liver. Especially, these days when we regularly intake so many harmful chemicals such as alcohol and medications.

Black cumin seeds possess anti-inflammatory properties, which are especially beneficial for people enduring asthma. These seeds work as a natural remedy for asthma. Findings of several studies have shown that black cumin seed oil as well as Nigella sativa work to relax the airway not only in the case of asthma patients, but also in people suffering from bronchitis or various allergies. It has been found that black cumin seed oil also helps to get relief from various symptoms associated with allergies, such as runny nose, itching and nasal congestion and sneezing. The study found that all these symptoms were eased after using black cumin seed oil for two weeks.

Black seed oil is a very potent anti-inflammatory agent and using it to heal the symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis has shown very promising results. A study undertaken on 43 women suffering from rheumatoid arthritis revealed noteworthy positive results for the subjects who were given black cumin seed oil compare to others who were given placebo. It was noticed that women who were administered black cumin seed oil experienced reduced symptoms related to arthritis. At the same time, their number of swollen joints and inflammatory markers in blood too had reduced.

It is worth mentioning here that black cumin seed oil also boosts the immune system. This is achieved through a wide range of phytochemicals and nutrients such as B-vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial acids. Different from various other plants such as elderberry or Echinacea which also work to boost the immune system, even people enduring autoimmune issues can use black cumin seed oil. Actually, black cumin seed oil is generally used as a part of a natural remedy regimen to fight against various autoimmune conditions such as HIV or thyroid disorders.

It has been found that applying black cumin seed oil eases inflammation and also eliminates bacteria, thereby speeding up healing of wounds. Although this oil is possibly not useful in growth of new collagen fibers, black cumin seed oil stimulates various other growth aspects that help the body to generate new as well as healthy skin.

Side effects and cautions

Although black cumin seed oil offers us several health benefits, it needs to be used with caution. This oil may enhance the effects of other medicines processed by the body via the cytochrome P450 pathway. Various enzymes present in this pathway assimilate or metabolize about 90 percent of all common medicines. Some examples of such common medicines include beta-blockers like metoprolol (Lopressor) and the blood thinning medication warfarin (Coumadin).

Hence, in case you are already taking any prescription drugs on a regular basis you need to consult with your physician before you start taking black cumin seed oil. It is also important that you do not stop taking any medicine you are taking regularly without consulting your physician.

Black cumin seed oil is also capable of improving the functioning of your liver. However, it is important to note that taking black seed oil in excess may prove to be harmful for your liver as well as kidneys. In case you are already suffering from any problem related to the liver or kidneys, you need to consult your physician to fix a safe dosage of this oil for you, if needed. At the same time, topical application of black cumin seed oil may result in allergic reactions. You need to undergo a patch test prior to applying black cumin seed oil to a large part of your skin.

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