The West may be new to the amazing health benefits of black seed oil but the East has been using it as a remedy for centuries now. Black Seed Oil, owing to its replenishing properties, was a key medicinal ingredient in Southwest Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa. It was also liberally used in cooking and seasoning as an aromatic spice. Let's take a look at black seed oil, its natural compounds and its health benefits:
What is Black Seed Oil?
Black Seed is extracted from Nigella Sativa, a tiny plant that blossoms with mellow purple, blue or white flowers in various regions of the world including Southwest Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
Black seed oil, as the name suggests, is derived from the seeds of Nigella Sativa or black seed shrub. Black seeds are also called ‘Kalonji’, ‘black cumin seeds’, ‘black caraway’ or ‘black onion seeds.’
Because of its enriching content, black seed oil is commonly used as a health supplement, a topical ointment and a flavor enhancer for food, beverages, and drinks. It is also used in cosmetics, skincare and haircare products due to its antioxidant properties.
Black seeds are loaded with useful natural compounds but applying too much pressure on them or exposing them to excess heat can denature the oil and significantly reduce the potency of its content. That is why this amber-hued oil should only be derived from black cumin through gentle and careful cold-pressing.
Benefits of Black Seed Oil:
Black seed oil is packed to the brim with beneficial compounds and essential nutrients. Chemical analysis of black seeds has revealed that they are a vital source of essential fatty acids, particularly unsaturated fatty acids like Linolenic acid and omega 3 and 6 fats. Since essential fatty acids (EFAs) are not produced by the body and are essential for our body functions, we rely on external sources for them. The fat-rich content of black cumin oil makes it the ideal moisturizer for hair, scalp, and skin.
Moreover, Black seed oil contains various types of vitamins including vitamin A (the anti-aging vitamin), B1, B2, and vitamin C. Vitamins promote good health by bolstering our immunity and helping us heal. Vitamin A and C are required for skin health and repair as well. In addition to these nutrients, black cumin oil also contains traces of essential minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium, and potassium. These minerals are required by our body to function properly.
The antioxidant, anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties of black seed oil come from three powerful natural phytochemicals present in it; Thymoquinone (TQ), thymohydroquinone (THQ) and Thymol. TQ can reduce inflammation and swelling while Thymol is a disinfectant and anti-microbial. Another compound called nigellone is an antihistamine agent that gives the oil its anti-allergenic properties.
Top 8 Benefits of Black Seed Oil:
Black seed oil may have been late to reach us here in the West but it is never too late to embrace it and reap its numerous health benefits. That is why we have listed 7 wonderful benefits of this ancient botanical remedy. Black seed oil can:
1. Improve your digestion
Hippocrates of Kos, one of the most well-known ancient physicians, was right when he recommended black seed oil as a remedy for stomach upsets and digestive issues. Black seeds have carminative properties that are beneficial for our digestive tract.
Black seeds also have an anti-spasmodic effect on our intestines. The result? Relief against stomach cramps, bloating, gas and other such digestive problems.
2. Boost your immunity
Two studies conducted to verify the effects of black seed supplements on our immune system showed that black cumin bolstered the immune system by 72 percent within a short timeframe of 4 weeks. The potent antioxidants and essential nutrients present in the oil strengthen our immune system and promote good health.
3. Black seed oil for your face and skin
Due to its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, the black seed oil is a choice pick for your skin. Studies found that black seed oil supplements were beneficial in reducing the severity of skin conditions such as eczema. Research conducted on dermatological uses of black seed oil found that it was also helpful in combating skin conditions such as Acne.
Black seed oil is great for face and neck area because it aids in regulating your melanin levels. It can also help counter dark spots, prevent scarring and give you a fresh complexion. The pure black seed oil contains a cocktail of skin-nourishing nutrients that keep the skin supple.
4. Black Seed Oil for Diabetes
According to a systematic review published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2015), black seed oil may help people with Type-2 Diabetes. In preliminary studies conducted on mice, black seed oil was found to boost pancreatic function, control blood sugar levels and increase sensitivity to insulin, all of which is good news for people with diabetes. However, more research is required to verify these findings.
5. Guard against inflammation
Due to TQ, black seed oil can aid body’s natural anti-inflammatory responses and reduce swelling regardless of whether it is directly ingested or simply rubbed onto skin. Black seed oil may offer momentary relief against inflammation-based problems such as joint pain and even arthritis.
6. Potent against asthma and allergies
Studies found that black seed may provide relief to people suffering from asthma, allergies, nasal congestion and other respiratory issues. Another study found that participants who ingested black seed supplements were better at dealing with asthma compared to the control group. The antihistaminic properties of black seed oil make it a good relaxant during allergic reactions.
7. Black seed oil for weight loss
If you are planning on losing weight, it might help to include black seed oil in your diet plans. That is because Nigella Sativa was found to have anti-obesity properties. Black seed oil helps in weight loss by decreasing weight gain triggers such as appetite, blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.