What is black seed oil?
Nigella sativa is a small flowering shrub with purple or white-tinged flowers that grows in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and western Asia.
While it may look unsuspecting, the shrub produces fruits that have tiny black seeds. These black seeds have been used in remedies for thousands of years.
Archaeologists even found black seeds in King Tut’s tomb, emphasizing their importance in history for healing and protection. They’re also used in cooking to add flavor to breads, curries, and pickles. When eaten, the seeds have a bitter flavor that’s often compared to cumin or oregano.
Some additional names for black seed oil include:
Black seed oil has been shown to have antioxidant properties. These can help relieve inflammation inside the body and on the skin. Herbs and supplements are not monitored by the FDA. Research and use reputable brands.
Black seed oil health benefits
Black seed oil has shown promise in treating some of the most common health conditions, including high blood pressure and asthma. It also shows strong antifungal activity against Candida albicans — yeast that can overgrow in the body and lead to candidiasis. Examples of other black seed oil health benefits include:
Black seed oil is also thought to have anticancer properties. It may help fight against skin cancers when applied topically.
Portions of black seed oil known as thymoquinone and other seed potions were able to reduce the growth of tumors in lab rats. The oil also may help to reduce the tissue damaging effects of radiation that is used to kill cancer cells. But these results haven’t been studied in humans. Black seed oil shouldn’t be used as a substitute for conventional cancer treatments.
Black seed oil beauty benefits
Black seed oil has several applications and benefits for problematic skin conditions. The oil is found in many health foods stores and pharmacies. Examples of applications for beauty and skin include:
Remember, black seed oil shouldn’t replace prescription treatments that a doctor may give you. But it does have some beauty benefits that can work in addition to these treatments to enhance your skin.
Is black seed oil safe?
It’s possible that black seed oil can increase the effects of medicines that the body processes through the cytochrome P450 pathway. Enzymes in this pathway metabolize 90 percent of common medications. Examples of common medications can include beta-blockers such as metoprolol (Lopressor) and the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin).
If you take any prescription medications regularly, talk to your doctor before starting to take black seed oil. You shouldn’t stop taking any of your regular medications without talking to your doctor first.
Black seed oil can be helpful to liver function, but taking too much black seed oil can also be harmful to your liver and kidneys. If you have problems with either of these organs, talk to your doctor to determine a safe dose (if any). Also, topical black seed oil can cause allergic reactions. Do a patch test before applying it to a large area on your skin.
Black seed oil uses
If you’re looking to expand your palate, you can incorporate black seeds into your dishes. Suggestions on foods to add black seeds to include:
The oil is often packaged into capsules for daily consumption. It’s also sold as an oil that can be applied to the skin and hair or taken by the spoonful.