In the Black

Dis­cover 10 sur­pris­ing ben­e­fits of black seed oil

Better Nutrition - - CONTENTS - BY VERA TWEED

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.

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