We are well into the new year, but the pandemic is far from over. The coronavirus outbreak came to the limelight last year in January when the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a global health emergency after a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases around the world.
A year on, we are still grappling with conflicting epidemiological projections, intermittent lockdowns, and a lot of uncertainty. But one thing is for sure - the pandemic has made us all realise that it has never been more vital to take care of ourselves, stay in good health and take steps to boost our immunity.
Perhaps it is this concrete realisation coupled with a genuine concern for our health and that of our loved ones or the fact that the pandemic is here for the long haul that most of us have been paying keen attention to what we are nourishing our bodies with.
It is under this context that the demand for black seed oil products has skyrocketed around the world. Market analysis indicates that despite economic adversity, the black seed industry has grown favourably during the pandemic because of the rising demand for natural health-boosting products.
What’s more, is that the demand for this miracle herb is also expected to grow steadily in the years to come. Let’s take a moment to understand why black seed oil is gaining traction all over the world.
Global Market Estimates for Black Seed Products During COVID-19
Market analysts were already expecting black seed products to do well in the global market before the pandemic hit. The demand for this ancient remedial oil and its byproducts was already on the rise in the West.
That’s because while black seeds and their extracts were considered a culinary staple with many health-promoting properties in the East, the West was still new to its aromatic taste, versatile uses, and miraculous health benefits.
As more and more people became aware of this remedial oil, the market demand for black seed products (both oral and topical) began rising. This phenomenon was further amplified during the pandemic.
A report by Technavio, a leading market research company, published in April 2020 (right after COVID-19 had the world in its grips) stated that the black seed oil market was set to grow by a staggering USD 23.74 million during 2019-2023 at a steady CAGR of 2%.
Another report. tracking the market growth of black seed oil and related products across many regions of the world (North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific) also confirmed that the future is promising for Nigella Sativa products.
This report predicted that the global black seed market would grow from USD 15 million to USD 25 million between 2018 to 2025. The forecast also stated that black seed oil would see a popularity boom in various countries including the US, UK, Germany, France, India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.
According to the report, this rise in demand can be partially attributed to a greater focus on health and well-being across the world. As consumers become more health-conscious, they are more likely to make purchase decisions based on the quality and health benefits of the products they buy and use.
But with the pandemic leading to demand shocks and severe economic crisis across the world, it is worth asking what shielded the black seed industry and why black seed products remained in vogue all this time.
For that, we will have to take a closer look at black seed oil and its properties.
Why Black Seed Oil?
Off late, there has been a growing demand for remedies with natural ingredients in the West. In a world rife with synthetic chemicals and pharma, more of us have been turning to herbal health products owing to their healing properties, benefits, and non-toxic nature.
So, when we were hit by COVID-19, a completely novel virus with no cure and no vaccine to date, many people turned to natural products to boost their immunity and stay in good health.
And while black seed oil does not cure COVID-19, there is ample evidence that its source (Nigella Sativa plant) contains a range of active compounds with health-promoting properties. That’s exactly why these little black seeds were an integral part of the ancient Ayurvedic scriptures.
Black seeds are loaded with unsaturated fatty acids (good fats) that boost the immune system and improve our digestion. They also contain a range of vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals that the body needs to remain healthy and function at its best.
Black seeds or Kalonji are also packed with three powerful compounds with major anti-inflammatory properties: thymoquinone, thymohydroquinone, and thymol. These compounds have many benefits but they are renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties and anti-microbial effect.
It is because of these nutrients that black seed oil gets its powerful healing properties. The oil is especially effective at soothing the throat, reducing inflammation in the airways, and relieving respiratory symptoms. Other benefits range from topical relief against burns and bug bites to pain relief in conditions like arthritis.
There is also some evidence that a combination of black seed oil and raw honey can offer a measure of relief against COVID-19 symptoms and hasten up the recovery of patients.
A research article published in the Food and Nutrition Journal also included black seed oil in the list of therapeutic food for COVID-19 prevention and medicine. However, more evidence is required to say anything conclusive about the effect of black seed oil on the coronavirus.
Be that as it may, one thing is very clear; now it is more important than ever to focus on our health, adopt an active lifestyle, and take steps to build our immunity.