About Black Seed and it's oil
Dating back over three millennia, Nigella Sativa seeds (also known as Black cumin) have been found across many ancient Egyptian sites. Nigella sativa was one of the many articles found in Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Furthermore, archaeologists have found oil extracted from Nigella sativa seeds in Turkey dating back to around the second millennium BCE. Oil extracted from Nigella sativa seeds is commonly known as the Black seed oil.
With a myriad of varied flora on our earth to treat different human diseases, ailments and illnesses, humans have been looking for ideal substances for centuries.
Many of these remedies are still used and practised today. Some of the oldest religious and medical literature include historical references to Nigella sativa.
In Islam in a Hadith quoted in Sahih Bukhari, Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) said that hold on to the black seed, it has a cure for everything but death (paraphrased).
In Isaiah 28:25, 27, the Bible claims N. Sativa to be a curative seed.
Hippocrates and Dioscorides referred to N. Sativa as ‘Melanthion’ and its usage was described to be a great source of relief to those who suffered from cold and asthma.
This explains why the pharaohs would use this seed to accompany them on their transitory journey to the afterlife.
What is Black seed oil?
Full of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, B, and C, Black seed oil is the oil extracted from Nigella sativa seeds. The seeds from the flowering shrub are pressed to extract the oil.
The herbaceous plant from which Nigela Sativa comes from is native to South Asia. But in Africa and Europe, you can find it cultivated and naturalised.
It is mainly cold-pressed, as heating it before extracting or whilst extracting can damage the active ingredient. The active ingredient in Black seed oil is Thymoquinone.
What is Black seed oil used for?
Black seed, historically, has been used to treat many diseases. These include inflammation, colds, headaches, asthma, stomach ulcers, hair loss, nail growth, and many more.
Mentioned in an article written in the National Library of Medicine, Thymoquinone possesses properties such as antioxidant and hepatoprotective.
Black seed oil has been consumed for centuries for hair care to skincare to general health benefits; the multi-use oil has been added to lotions as well as food recipes.
According to many Hadiths – sayings of Prophet Mohammed- Black seed oil, when it comes to maintaining human health, plays an indispensable role.
One of the prominent effects of Thymoquinone is antiglycation. This protects an enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD’s job is to break down harmful oxygen molecules in cells and prevent tissue damage.
Benefits of Black seed oil?
Since Black seed oil is high in antioxidants, the benefits are vast. In Ancient Egypt, Black seed oil was ingested by mixing it with fruit, honey, and other foods.
It is common knowledge that ancient Egyptians used honey for it its medicinal properties, but they also used honey infused with Black seed oil for skincare problems such as dermatitis.
It is reported that an ancient queen of Egypt Nefertiti used Black seed oil infused with other herbs and honey for her hair.
As mentioned earlier, the Bible encourages the use of Black seed oil too.
According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), well over 1500 studies have been conducted to research what the benefits are for using Black seed oil as a medicine.
Apart from previously mentioned thymoquinone, another great property found in the Black seed oil is phytosterols. Phytosterols, a plant sterol, has properties which result in preventing many endocrinal diseases and disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases.
Reduction in cholesterol
This naturally occurring compound is remarkably similar to a compound found in humans, cholesterol. When eating foods rich in phytosterols, phytosterols begin to be counted as cholesterol which results in lower absorption in the intestine.
It is also known for protecting the immune system from various nutritional deficiencies.
Blackseed for Diabetes
Studies and research have also shown that people with type I and type II diabetes have seen a significant improvement in their blood sugar levels with the use of Black seed oil.
In 2016, the British Journal of Pharmaceutical Research Centre suggested that N. sativa seeds play a significant role in insulin production, tolerance to glucose, and in the general treatment of diabetes.
In 2014, an article published by ResearchGate concluded that blood glucose level reduced in diabetic rats when black seed oil was added to their diet.
Black seed oil is rich in amino acids such as Linoleic and oleic.
Linoleic has been seen to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol in patients with heart diseases.
It supports the heart by improving blood pressure.
Oleic is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in animal and vegetable sources and is extremely rich in monounsaturated fats known to reduce inflammation.
Studies have indicated that diet including foods rich in oleic have reduced the risk of heart disease and can result in weight loss too.
Also found in Black seed oils are Selenium, Calcium, and Carotene.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and an essential mineral.
Known to reduce oxidative stress. Studies have shown how selenium-rich diets can help prevent mental decline. It has also shown results in people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Your body needs calcium to build strong bones, but beyond that, calcium is needed for blood circulation, movement of muscles, and also aids in the release of certain hormones.
Carotene is another antioxidant which is linked to the reduction of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Also known as vitamin A, it promotes healthy vision and immune system.
Blackseed for Weight Loss
Since Black seed oil has properties which help improve insulin levels, reduce cholesterol, and help maintain a healthy heart, some research also indicates that Black seed oil helps improve the metabolism which sees a reduction in obesity.
Blackseed Beauty and Skincare
Black seed oil isn’t just known for its health benefits, it is widely promoted in the beauty industry too. There’s a growing demand in the beauty industry to produce products with natural ingredients.
With it being a billion-dollar industry, the beauty community is always on the lookout for natural ingredients owing to their non-toxic nature and many benefits.
Fine lines, clogged pores, acne, hyperpigmentation, Black seed oil, since high in antioxidants, can help prevent and most of these problems.
One of the biggest misconceptions in skincare and general beauty care is, oils are not for oily skin.
Wrong! Oils can be used by those with oily skin as well as dry, combination, and normal skins. Oils have been used since ancient times.
Mentioned in several ancient texts from Ancient Egypt, Assyrian, to the Ayurveda. Oils rich in antioxidants such as the Black seed oil can help reduce the appearance of dark spots caused by acne or hyperpigmentation.
People of colour, in general, are more prone to hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Using a few drops of Black seed oil after using water-based products, can help not only reduce the appearance of dark spots but also help reduce the production of sebum which causes oily skin.
Blackseed for Hair Health
Using Black seed oil on your hair has great benefits. It acts as a moisturiser and a stimulant for new hair growth.
Since Black seed oil is high in thymoquinone, it has shown great results in promoting hair growth in areas where the hair is thinning.
Thymoquinone is also an antihistamine, and antihistamines have been prescribed to patients who suffer from alopecia.
Since it’s an essential oil, you can add it to other carrier oils such as olive and coconut oil and massage it directly onto the scalp to reduce inflammation and stimulate new hair growth.
Male infertility: Although the research isn’t as intensive in this matter, Black seed oil has shown indications that it can improve semen quality in men. With women, it has shown to reduce menopause symptoms.
The hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and weight gain have all been shown to reduce when consuming Black seed oil.
How to use Black seed oil?
Black seed oil should be consumed raw. You can find it in most drug stores and health corners, as a supplement, it comes in both the pill and liquid form.
People with asthma are recommended to take 1 mg of black seed oil a day.
For those who want to either lose weight or reduce their sugar levels, studies have shown dosages of 2 or 3 mg per day is more than effective.
If taking it in liquid form, you can just take a teaspoon a day, or you can add it to food such as yoghurt, honey, fruit, homemade energy balls, etc.
When buying Black seed oil, always choose the unrefined cold-pressed version.
This means it is not been heated when the oil is being extracted from the seeds and therefore the active ingredient is intact.
When using on the skin, just apply a few drops after you have cleansed, toned, and used any other water-based products.
Oils must always come last since they are thicker than water-based products and acts as a barrier. If you use anything on top of oils, the oils will prevent the ingredients penetrating into the skin.
So always use oils as your last step in your skincare routine.
Final words on our blackseed introduction
Black seed oil is as commonly used today as it was in ancient times. Those looking for alternative medicines to help treat their conditions will find introducing Black seed oil into their diet highly useful.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties will help those who are looking for ways to improve and maintain their health.