Extensive studies on this seed 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, hepatoprotective, renal protective, gastro-protective, and antioxidant properties. How could one little seed do so much?
The name of this little seed is Nigella sativa or Black Seed. It is widely used as a medicinal plant throughout the world. It’s popular in various traditional systems of medicine such as Unani, Tibb, and Ayurveda. Seeds and seed oils have a long history of folklore usage in various systems of medicines. But what does the science say?
The National Institute of Health has published a research article from the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine entitled, A review on the therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb. The conclusion of this very extensive research article states, “The original research articles published so far have confirmed the pharmacological potential of N. sativa seeds, its oil and extracts and some of its active principles, particularly TQ and alpha-hederin, possess remarkable in vitro and in vivo pharmacological activities against a large variety of diseases and found to be relatively safe.
Since 1964 there have been 656 published, peer-reviewed studies referencing this little seed.
While frequently referred to among English-speaking cultures as Roman coriander, black sesame, black cumin, black caraway, and onion seed, it is known today primarily as black seed, which is at the very least an accurate description of its physical appearance. The earliest record of its cultivation and use comes from ancient Egypt.
I belong to GreenMedInfo for access to thousands of research articles and they have indexed research on over 40 health conditions that may be benefited from the use of this herb, including 20 distinct pharmacological actions it expresses such as:
- Analgesic (Pain-Killing)
- Gluconeogenesis Inhibitor (Anti-Diabetic)
- Hepatoprotective (Liver Protecting)
- Insulin Sensitizing
- Interferon Inducer
- Leukotriene Antagonist
- Renoprotective (Kidney Protecting)
- Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Inhibitor
I think of the reference in the Bible to “faith the size of a mustard seed” and it makes me think of this little, humble black seed. Ancient wisdom is so often profound. The reference to a seed, the “Genesis” of life, is not lost on this writer.
In a study conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in India, researchers determined just how potent black seed oil is against some of these superbugs and pared 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.”
What Is In Black Seed Oil That Makes It So Powerful?
The key to understanding the health benefits of black seed oils lies in the presence of three key natural phytonutrients: thymoquinone (TQ), thymohydroquinone (THQ), and thymol. These incredible phytochemicals lead to all kinds of amazing black seed oil benefits.
Thymoquinone is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. Reported to help with asthma, carcinogenesis, and encephalomyelitis.
Thymohydroquinone one of the most potent, natural acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors found on the planet. AChE is an enzyme that catalyzes the breakdown of acetylcholine and of some other choline esters that function as neurotransmitters. Anticholinesterases are a class of drugs that decrease the breakdown of acetylcholine (a chemical messenger in the brain) and can be used in conditions whereby there is an apparent lack of this messenger transmission such as in Alzheimer’s disease
Thymol a natural monoterpene. Monoterpenes are found in oils of plants and herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Monoterpenes such as limonene and perillyl alcohol have been shown to prevent mammary, liver, lung, and other cancers. Thymol is a medical and general-purpose disinfectant. It’s commonly used to kill TB and virus’s.
I think one of the most exciting areas of research with Black Seed oil is in the field of cancer. Because it’s so high in phytochemicals and antioxidants it has been extensively researched.
Croatian scientists evaluated the anti-tumor activity of thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone using an animal model study and discovered that these two phytochemicals found in black seed oil resulted in a 52 percent decrease in tumor cells.
In vitro research in recent years also revealed that thymoquinone, the most abundant bioactive component in oil from black seed, helps induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in leukemia cells, breast cancer cells, and brain tumor cells.
Additionally, researchers from the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health found that not only can black seed kill off pancreatic cancer cells, but it also appears to inhibit the development of pancreatic cancer, this is huge!
Cell studies have found that black seed extract compares favorably to the chemo agent 5-fluorouracil in the suppression of colon cancer growth, but with a far higher safety profile. Animal research has found that black seed oil has significant inhibitory effects against colon cancer in rats, without observable side effects.
I could list study after study researching Black Seed oil and cancer. You can access some of the database on www.greenmedinfo.com without a membership if you want to go look around.
This is a shortlist, but here are a few areas Black Seed oil has been shown to benefit.
- Helps fight cancer
- Promotes liver health
- Combats diabetes
- Supports weight-loss
- Protects skin
- Benefits hair
- Improves fertility
- Fights infections, powerful for MRSA
- Balances cholesterol (specifically lowers LDL)
Is It Safe?
Always research on PubMed if you are taking medications to see if there would be an interaction between Black Seed oil and any medication you are on.
This does come in liquid form and pill form, both effective. The liquid form may cause a rash around your mouth if you have a sensitivity to it. Before using black cumin oil topically for your skin and hair, it’s a good idea to perform a patch test to make sure you don’t have a negative reaction to the oil. Always dilute the oil with a carrier oil such as almond oil.
A premium option should always be 100 percent pure, therapeutic-grade, and certified USDA organic oil. Some companies specify that their products are cold-pressed, which is an added benefit.
The NIH article I quoted at the beginning of this article found it to be relatively safe in all applications.
As far as dosages, I would do some research for your particle situation. Dr. Ax at www.drax.com has a good article on Black Seed oil with dosage suggestions at the bottom of the article.
I’m always in awe of nature’s medicines! This little seed truly is a miracle of nature.
Black Seed, the Remedy for Everything But Death, Ji, Sayer, https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/black-seed-remedy-everything
A review on the therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23646296
9 Proven Black Seed Oil Benefits that Boost Your Health Ax, Josh, DC, DCM, CNC, ,https://draxe.com/about-dr-josh-axe/