Native to the Mediterranean region, the black seed plant (Nigella Sativa) has been used as a treatment for various ailments for many years. The earliest reference to black cumin is in the book of Isaiah, within the Old Testament, where Isaiah speaks of harvesting the black seed.
Arabs use it to treat asthma, chronic headaches, fever, digestion, diabetes, infections, back pain and rheumatism. Its medical properties come from the high levels of proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, carbohydrates and minerals.
The seeds also possess anti-diabetic and anti-cancer properties. They can be used in regulating the immune system, reducing pain, killing microorganisms, reducing inflammation, inhibiting spasmodic activity, and opening the tiny air passages in the lungs. The oil from black seeds protects the liver, the kidneys, and the stomach/ digestive system. It is also a powerful antioxidant.
Studies indicate that black cumin oil can help fighting obesity, balancing blood chemistry, reducing inflammation, supporting healthy immune system functioning, and alleviating nasal dryness and discomfort.
Researchers from Saudi Arabia examined the benefits of the black seeds, their healing abilities and their top position amongst herbal medicines. The therapeutic properties in this plant are linked to thymoquinone.
The oil and thymoquinone act as antioxidants, and their effect is accomplished by enhancing the oxidant scavenger system, which has a detoxifying effect. Furthermore, thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, they can treat encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord after infection) colitis (inflammation of the colon), peritonitis (inflammation of the membrane which lines the inside of the abdomen and all of the internal organs), edema (the swelling of soft tissues as a result of excess fluid accumulation), and arthritis.
Black cumin also has antimicrobial and anti-tumor properties toward different microbes and cancers.
Most diseases cause inflammation, for example, cystic fibrosis, allergies and cancer. The free radicals produced during inflammation can induce gene mutations and modifications of cancer related proteins. Luckily, the seeds and the oil possess numerous pharmacological effects including antibacterial, antifungal, anti-tumor, analgesic and antipyretic activity.
During a study, the scientists used an animal model where they induced a strong inflammatory response and then measured the different effects for the group that were treated with black seed oil and those who were not treated. It was proven that black seeds had antioxidant and therapeutic effects.
Black cumin against obesity
Obesity can lead to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus type 2,and immune dysfunction.
According to recent studies, black cumin (Nigella sativa) has cardio-protective, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, antioxidant, and immune-modulatory properties.
After reviewing 33 scientific articles related to obesity, herbal medicine, and traditional medicine, scientists have concluded that black seeds, green tea, and black Chinese tea had anti-obesity effects.
Iranian researchers conducted a study that involved twenty sedentary overweight females. They were divided in two groups and assigned to black seed supplementation or a placebo for the 8 weeks of the study. Both groups participated in aerobic training 3 times per week. Blood lipids and VO2 max were determined before the experiment began and at the end of 8 weeks. VO2 max is a measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that a person can use when exercising.
Results showed that the placebo group experienced reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, and increased VO2 max. The women who used Nigella sativa supplementation and aerobic training experienced reductions in total cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein, and body mass index (ratio of fat to muscle). The women lost body fat and gained muscle. Black seed supplementation also increased high density lipoprotein and VO2 max.
Researchers discovered that combining 8-weeks of aerobic training and Nigella sativa supplementation had a synergistic effect, and the combination of black seed consumption and aerobic training provided the best health benefit.
Black seeds and nasal dryness and discomfort
Elderly patients with nasal dryness and related symptoms were tested by researchers from Turkey in order to compare the effects of utilizing black seed oil in the nasal pathways of the nose to the usage of a salt water solution. It’s been found that black seed oil did a much better job than salt water.
But, it’s been noted that there wasn’t any significant difference between the effect of black cumin seed oil and salt water on nasal itching and burning.