Black seed oil, also known as black caraway, black cumin, black onion seed, kalonji and nigella sativa oil is an oil extracted from the seeds of a southwestern Asia bush, the Nigella Sativa. It has been used for centuries as a cure-for-all treatment, and traces of it were even found in some tombs in Egypt, proving its widespread use.
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The number of benefits with which nigella sativa seeds are credited with is nothing short of impressive. As the researchers of a 2018 study put it: “N. sativa seed is a valuable herbal medicine that is traditionally used for the treatment of all diseases except the death.”
Unfortunately, science has only recently started to evaluate the truth behind them, but even when the results are inconclusive, they seem to present positive indications.
Due to its many active components, namely thymoquinone, thymohydroquinone, dithymoquinone, thymol, carvacrol, nigellimine, nigellicine, nigellidine and alphahederin, black seed oil can be beneficial for the body in general and help treat several different disorders and diseases.
Improves the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: in a 2012 study, supplementation with black seed oil helped reduced swollen joints and morning stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Lowers high blood pressure: according to a 2013 study, nigella sativa oil helped reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure significantly without any side effects.
Improves dyslipidemia: supplementation with black seed oil helps to lower LDL-cholesterol levels as well as triglycerides concentrations, according to a 2016 systematic review.
Reduces asthma symptoms: according to a 2017 thorough literature review, this oil presents bronchodilation, antihistaminic, anti-inflammatory, anti-leukotrienes and immunomodulatory effects that may help to reduce and control asthma symptoms. Further larger clinical trials are still required to confirm this benefit.
May help treat fungi-based infections: in vitro and in vivo studies have shown indications that black cumin oil can potentially help fighting infections triggered by fungi, thanks to its content of active agents such as thymoquinone, thymohydroquinone and thymol.
Anti-cancer potential: according to a 2016 study, black seed oil shows anti-cancer potential due to its “potent anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, anti-oxidant, anti-mutagenic, and anti-metastatic” effects. Clinical studies are still lacking to assess how to benefit from these effects.
A 2015 research published in the Journal of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery compiled the benefits of black seed oil from skin care and the studies backing up these claims.
The researchers confirmed that black cumin oil has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic effects. It also presents anti-inflammatory properties that were used successfully in the treatment of conditions such as acne vulgaris and psoriasis.
Furthermore, it promotes wound healing, albeit not affecting the collagen synthesis. Nigella sativa oil was also shown to improve skin conditions such as vitiligo and eczemas.
How to use
Black seed oil can be used in a number of ways depending on your goal.
You can apply it topically directly to the skin or add it to massage oils, shampoos or homemade skin care recipes. If high-quality, it can also be used for cooking and baking. Supplements of this oil are also available.
Currently, there are no set daily recommendations for how much black seed oil you should take to enjoy its benefits.
If you’re taking a supplement, follow the indications on the label for a proper intake. For the remaining cases, discuss it with your doctor, who is in possession of your medical history and knows which medications you are taking, and is better informed to indicate the dosage you can take.
Nigella sativa oil is generally considered safe for consumption when used in moderation.
Due to its vast effects, it may interact with several medications, particularly those for blood pressure. You must always discuss the intake of black seed oil with your doctor before you start taking it.
Some people have also reported allergies to the topical contact with the oil, as well as an upset stomach upon the intake.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should abstain from using it as the potential risks for the infants’ health has not been assessed yet.
How to make
The bad news is that, unlike other oils, to prepare this one at home you will need to buy an oil press machine. The good news is that you can prepare a high-quality and pure oil at home and avoid all the risk of contamination and use of low-quality processes of the bought-type oil.
Make sure to buy organic seeds to ensure a purer oil. Wash and dry them thoroughly and add them to the machine funnel. After putting the oil bottle in the receptacle, all you have to do is turn the machine and wait as it extracts and pours the oil into the bottle.
Keep the oil in a warm and dry place.