The Benefits of Black Seed and Black Seed Oil (Nigella Sativa)
What is black seed oil?
Black seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the Nigella Sativa plant which has distinctive purple and white flowers. This plant is native to large regions of the eastern Mediterranean, northern Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and West Asia.
These seeds are very often confused with similar looking seeds (onion seeds, black caraway) and if you're looking to take advantage of any health benefits, a verified supplier is a must. In addition to ensuring the seeds are from the actual Nigella Sativa Plant, other things to look out for include: identifying that the seeds have been cold pressed and that no pesticides were used in the growing process.
Health benefits of black seed oil
Both the seeds and the oil have been used in traditional healing methods for well over 2000 years. In an Islamic tradition dating back 1400 years, the seed has been described as "a cure for every disease except death" (Saheeh Muslim, Book 26 Kitab As-Salam, Number 5489).
There is lots of anecdotal evidence for this oil but let’s look at it from science to get a better understanding of what this oil is...
The main component that makes the seed so special is thymoquinone (TQ), a rich antioxidant responsible for many of the distinctive health properties. It is also the main active ingredient in the oil of the plant giving anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects. Evidence from science heavily focuses on this antioxidant when looking at black seeds and the oil.
Antioxidants are so important as they protect our body down to the cellular level from free radicals. Free radicals are generated within our body from normal metabolic processes but also come from external sources including UV radiation from the sun (SPF is important guys, even in the winter months!), pollutants in the air, cigarettes and chemicals to name just a few.
The balance between antioxidants and free radicals is important as free radicals cause damage to our cells contributing to the cause of certain chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and premature ageing of cells. Who wants to age early? Not me!
The health benefits do not stop there. The oil also contains other bioactive compounds i.e. tocopherols, vitamin A and C, β-carotene in the seeds the oil is extracted from – all very beneficial for health. Vitamin C is also another very rich antioxidant that cannot be made in your body and so it is essential that we get this from our diet.
Furthermore, the oil contains amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, nitrogen compounds and minerals such as sodium, calcium, iron,and potassium. Minerals are important in contributing to normal heart functioning and regulation of blood pressure.
It is important to note that although there are many studies on the oil and seed (more I’m sure I could have talked about), a lot more research is required. It is exciting to see what else is yet to be discovered.
All these indicators of the possible powerful effects of using this seed and oil are a reason why many are now turning back to traditional methods of natural healing with health foods and are also focusing on prevention.
Through the doom and gloom of a world pandemic which currently has no apparent cure, a light of positivity has shone through allowing people of faith and non-faith alike to join in appreciating traditional and natural foods of a prior age.
This positivity is reflected in another Islamic tradition where the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Allah (God) did not send down a disease without having sent down its cure.”
Disclaimer: All information provided is intended for educational purposes only. Please consult with your doctor before consuming.