In the Black
Discover 10 surprising benefits of black seed oil
Discover 10 surprising health benefits of black seed oil.
Described in an ancient text as “a cure for every disease except death,” black seed oil, also called black cumin oil, has a long history of many uses. The seeds are a traditional Middle Eastern spice used in pastries, dairy products, salads, and other foods. And for thousands of years, the oil has been applied topically and taken internally for virtually any ailment, from bruises, bad hair, colds, and snake bites to headaches, indigestion, and a variety of skin conditions, including leprosy.
Since 1965, nearly a thousand scientifi c articles have been published on Nigella sativa, the Latin name for black seed, documenting anti- infl ammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, and immune- enhancing properties. In the past few years, human studies have pinpointed some specifi c benefi ts.
1 Fighting Bugs
Black seed oil has an unusual ability to fi ght bacterial infections, even drug- resistant ones such as MRSA. “Certainly not all oils or supplements are going to have that kind of antimicrobial benefi t,” says Trevor Cates, ND, author of Clean Skin from Within. “We’re always trying to look at ways that we can reduce the use of antibiotics and just use them when they’re specifi cally indicated,” she says. “And a lot of times we can get by using natural things that have antimicrobial benefi ts.”
2 Reducing Scars
To prevent scarring from a minor cut, Cates recommends applying black seed oil topically once the cut has started to heal. “It’s not something you would put on when you have an open wound, but once it starts to heal, to make sure it heals properly,” she says.
3 Relieving Allergies
In studies of 152 people suff ering from various allergies, black seed oil relieved both respiratory symptoms and eczema. Eff ective doses ranged from 18– 36 mg per pound of body weight per day.
4 Enhancing Weight Loss
A study of 90 obese women found that adding black seed oil to a low- calorie diet produced more weight loss than the diet alone. And a study of 250 men found that black seed oil by itself, or in combination with turmeric, produced some weight loss and reduced risk factors for diabetes.
5 Relieving Breast Pain
Cyclic mastalgia— breast pain that may be a symptom of PMS— can be relieved with the topical use of black seed oil, according to a study of 52 women. The oil, applied to painful areas twice a day, was as eff ective as diclofenac, an anti- infl ammatory drug.
6 Reducing Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Taking 500 mg of black seed oil in capsules, twice per day, reduced swollen joints and morning stiff ness in a study of 40 women suff ering from rheumatoid arthritis. The disease is an autoimmune reaction, and the oil helps modulate the immune system.
7 Relieving Indigestion and Heartburn
Black seed oil can relieve dyspepsia, a combination of symptoms that can include indigestion and/ or heartburn. A study of 70 people suff ering from the condition found that 5 milliliters of the oil daily brought relief and reduced infection from H. pylori, a bacterium that can lead to ulcers.
8 Improving Memory
A study of 20 healthy volunteers found that taking black seed oil daily improved memory and attention. The dose was 500 mg, twice daily. Researchers concluded that it should be studied for its potential to prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
9 Enhancing Men’s Fertility
Black seed oil is a traditional treatment for male infertility and a study found that it is, indeed, eff ective. In a group of 64 men with fertility problems, the oil signifi cantly improved sperm count and other fertility markers.
10 Lowering Cholesterol
Black seed oil lowered cholesterol in a study of 88 adults with levels above 200 mg/ dl, with total cholesterol dropping by an average of 4.78 percent, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 7.6 percent, and triglycerides by 16.65 percent. The dose was 2 grams daily.