Black seed oil, also known as Nigella sativa or Black Cumin or Black Caraway Seed, is one of the latest examples of a natural substance that has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years, and is only recently gaining acceptance in alternative and even some mainstream medical circles in the Western world. Once you gain a bit of this potent healing herb and nutritional powerhouse, it is hard not to scratch your head and wonder why it took so long to become “popular.” (Of course, the resistance against proven natural remedies is enormous in our culture, but that’s a topic for another post.)
The use of black seed oil to treat and prevent dozens of conditions goes back at least 2000 years. Many ancient writers have referenced black seed oil as a legendary herbal remedy that has renowned protective and healing powers. In fact, that Islamic prophet Mohammed reportedly stated: “Black seed oil heals every disease except for death.” (The FDA would have had a conniption fit over this!) In Egypt the oil pressed from black seed was named “Pharaoh’s Oil.” For this society Black Seed Oil was used most often as a digestive aid. The Bible contains the first written record of Black Seed when Isaiah records that ketsah (Hebrew word for what was later shown to be Nigella sativa) must be reaped by a different technique than that used with wheat (Isaiah 28:25-27).
In more modern times, researchers have discovered that black seed oil truly is a very unique substance — some calling it a superfood — that contains over one hundred different nutrients and that act synergistically to bolster overall wellness and battle a host of common medical conditions — it is made up of about 21% protein and contains significant amounts of essential fatty acids; minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium; and vitamins A, B, and C.
Here are some of the major benefits that scientists studying black seed oil have identified:
- Perhaps the most diverse and potent effect of black seed oil is its ability to strengthen the immune system. White blood cells thrive on black seed oil, and there is no greater preventer of disease of all types than an immune system that is working effectively. Black seed oil’s positive effects on digestion also empower the immune system.
- Black Seed Oil produces prostaglandin E1. This particular prostaglandin (the scientific community has identified only twelve) works by regulating hormone secretion. It inhibits inflammation, helps to prevent thrombosis, reduces cholesterol synthesis and works to black the formation of abnormal cells. It also lowers bold pressure and may protect the liver from the effects of alcohol and other irritating drugs. This substance also contributes to Black Seed’s general balancing action by maintaining the salt and water balance, and it regulates insulin secretion, nerve conduction and gastrointestinal function.(1)
- Black Seed Oil (BSO) has a very impressive impact on the health and nutrition of cells throughout the body as well. It contains various substances that have been clinically linked to better cell function by maintaining healthy and effective cell membranes. When our bodies are working well on a cellular level, nutrients are better absorbed, wastes more efficiently eliminated, and basically the body is freed up to heal and repair itself the way it was designed to. Black seed oil is particularly beneficial to brain and nervous system cells.
- Black Seed Oil is also an excellent body cleanser. It helps keep the digestive tract healthy, and it also has anti-parasitic qualities that help rid the body of unwanted organisms that can cause disease and rob us of nutrients.
- Black Seed Oil is a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PFAs), a type of fat that researchers are discovering more and more exciting benefits for. PFAs perform many tasks including regulating metabolism, drawing toxins to the skin for excretion from the body, improving liver and circulatory functions, and regulating insulin and cholesterol levels.
- Black Seed Oil has a reputation as a very effective remedy for respiratory conditions such as coughs, colds, and asthma and other allergies. This is likely due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic actions.
- Black Seed Oil also contains a variety of antioxidants that battle free radical damage. Free radicals contribute to many debilitating diseases including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and neurological disorders.
What is most exciting to me is research about Black Seed Oil and its effect on cancer. The Cancer Immune-Biology Laboratory of South Carolina recently published results of one of the most all-inclusive studies on Black Seed. “Black Cumin Oil (Black Seed) generally helps encourage the production of bone marrow and the cells of the immune system…It enhances the productions of interferon, protects normal cells from the damaging effects of viral disease, destroys tumor cells, and boosts the number of antibody-producing B-cells. All registered effects make Black Cumin Oil a perfect candidate for use in cancer prevention and cure.” Also, this study specifically noted that the growth rate of healthy bone marrow cells increased by a 250% while the growth rate of tumors decreased by 50%. Black Seed is also known as a BRM (biological response modifier). This means that it will reduce negative side effects of the severe treatments for cancer while also boosting the efficacy of those treatments.(1) Among Black Seed’s mechanisms of action are analgesic; vermicide; anti-bacterial; anti-inflammatory; anti-microbial; antioxidant; anti-pyretic; anti-spasmodic; anti-tumor; carminative; diaphoretic; diuretic; digestive; emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow); galactagogue (stimulates lactation); hypotensive; immunomodulator; and laxative.(1)
Suggested Ways to Use Black Seed Oil
Here are some possible applications for BSO:
- Apply topically for skin conditions such as athlete’s foot, eczema, psoriasis, or ringworm.
- Rub Black Seed Oil on the chest for respiratory infections.
- A teaspoon of Black Seed Oil in a cup of herbal tea can also help relieve cough and cold symptoms.
- A teaspoon in a glass of juice or in yogurt is a great way to boost energy in the morning and will help you sleep well at night too.
- Black Seed Oil is great for skin and hair health as well. Add a bit to your soap and shampoo. (Internal use is good for hair and skin too).
Black Seed — Nature’s Miracle Remedy By W.G. Goreja. Amazing Herbs Press. (1)