Black Cumin, also known as Nigella sativa, is one of the most common medicinal plants. Black Cumin seeds are grown in Egypt where they are watered in the oases until they produce pod.
Though Black Cumin seeds are mentioned in religious books such as the Bible and also in the words of Prophet Mohammed, its therapeutic properties were never looked into until about forty years ago.
Since this time, scientists have conducted more than 200 research projects on the health benefits of the Black Cumin seeds.
The Black Cumin seed is referred to by many health experts as a true panacea. The seeds have been found to be superior to any natural remedy in the treatment of autoimmune disorders. When the natural remedy is combined with garlic, it harmonizes the imbalance that leads to the destruction of healthy cells by the immune cells.
They have an immunomodulatory property. Black Cumin seed is useful in the management of asthmatic and allergic conditions. In the presence of an infection, there is need to eliminate the causative agent before the symptoms are managed.
Researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College conducted a study to determine the effectiveness of Black Cumin seeds against some of the resistant bacteria and viruses.
The potency of the black seeds was paired against several antibiotic agents such as tetracycline, amoxicillin, and Gatifloxacin. The study found out that out of the total strains studies, 97 of them were sensitive to black cumin. Most of these strains were resistant to the antibiotic agents.
Chemical Components Found In Black Cumin Seeds
Black cumin seeds are rich in phytochemicals that are responsible for their therapeutic effects. A study that was conducted on the effects of black cumin seed oil on different human pathogens found out that thymoquinone is highly effective against fungal infections caused by organisms such as yeasts and dermatophytes.
Thymol showed high activity against molds. Thymohydroquinone was also found to have activity against yeasts and dermatophytes.
The study discovered that the chemical constituents found in black cumin seeds are not useful only individually but also collectively. The study concluded that molds and fungus cannot survive in the presence of these chemical compounds. Researchers have been investigating thymoquinone since the 1960s.
The chemical component has several therapeutic effects such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer. Besides its ability to preserve antioxidant enzymes S-transferase and glutathione peroxide, thymoquinone also acts as a free radical scavenger.
Thymohydroquinone is a potent acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. They block the activity of the enzyme preventing the degradation of the acetylcholine enzyme. As a result, the amount of time and activity of the acetylcholine enzyme is enhanced.
As a result of its inhibitory activity against acetylcholinesterase enzyme, Thymohydroquinone is used importantly in the management of several disorders including autism, dementia, and glaucoma among others.
Thymol is the chemical constituent that gives black cumin seed its therapeutic properties. It has tuberculocide and virucides activities. It is also used as a disinfectant for both medical and general purposes. Thymol also has culinary uses. They can be utilized for food flavoring and even in cosmetics.
Health Benefits Of Black Cumin
1. Prevention Of Cancer
Several studies have been performed to find out the effectiveness of black cumin in the treatment of cancer. A study was conducted in 2012 by the National University of Singapore researchers to determine the effects of thymoquinone against cancers of the lung, prostate, pancreas, and the colon. The study concluded that thymoquinone is effective when it is combined with chemotherapeutic agents against the different cancers. The study also revealed that thymoquinone reduced the toxic effects of chemotherapeutic agents. Cell studies have also found out that black cumin’s effects against colon cancer growth is comparable to chemotherapeutic agents. However, black cumin has fewer side effects compared to the anticancer agents.
Researchers from Saudi Arabia reported in 2014 that black cumin oil could reduce the population of living cancer cells in the body. The study also found out that the oil can reduce an altered cellular morphology. According to this study, the higher the concentration of the black cumin oil used to destroy cancer cells, the greater the number of cancer cells destroyed in the body.
2. Promotes A Healthy Liver
The liver plays crucial roles in the body. The liver is involved in the metabolism and breakdown of various substances such as drugs. It is also involved in the synthesis of different molecules that are important in the body. Bile that originates from the liver is also involved in the breakdown of fats through a process known as emulsification.
Black seed oil can promote the healing process of a damaged liver due to medication effects or alcohol intake. Researchers have recently found out that black cumin oil can be used to improve the functions of the liver as well as protecting it from possible damage and diseases.
3. Weight Loss
A study was published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases that reviews the literature for plants with anti-obesity effects. The study discovered that black cumin was among plants that can be used in the treatment of obesity.
The plant's anti-inflammatory effects are believed to help people who are overweight to lose some weight. The natural remedy helps weight reduction by decreasing the various weight triggers such as appetite, absorption of glucose in the intestines, cholesterol, and triglycerides among other trigger factors.
4. Promotes Digestion Process
Black cumin seed oil is considered to be carminative. As a result, the oil improves the breakdown and absorption of food in the gastrointestinal tract. It also reduces bloating, gas, abdominal pain. Its antispasmodic effects on the smooth muscle of the intestine make it beneficial to individuals diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Other diseases that present with abdominal cramps can also be relieved.
5. Promotes Healthy Hair
Black cumin oil benefits hair is various ways. It strengthens the hair preventing it from falling out. Black cumin oil also helps the growth of hair. Its anti-inflammatory effects make it useful in the management of scalp conditions that may present with pain. Individuals suffering from hair loss or baldness can benefit from applying black cumin oil on the scalp. The oil's powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties help prevent infections of the scalp that may lead to hair loss.
6. Treatment Of Infections
One of the most important infectious organisms that can be killed by black cumin oil is the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The organism results when ordinary staphylococci infections become resistant to the use of antimicrobial agents. It is common in hospitals and nursing homes.
Elderly people who commonly undergo invasive procedures such as surgeries are at a higher risk of getting MRSA. Researchers from Pakistani have demonstrated that black cumin oil can be used in the management of MRSA infections. The black seed oil can help slow the growth or stop the spread of the organism's infections.
7. Treatment Of Diabetes
A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism explains that black cumin oil has anti-diabetic effects including promoting the regeneration of the pancreatic beta cells and enhancing the lowered serum insulin concentrations. The black cumin oil also reduces the elevated levels of serum glucose.
Side Effects Associated With Black Cumin
Besides its several health benefits, black cumin oil can result in side effects in some of its users. It is advisable to always talk to a healthcare provider before taking black cumin to treat a medical condition.
Some of the potential side effects of black cumin oil include:
Contact dermatitis is a reaction that results from getting in touch with an allergen or an irritant. Some people have reported the development of a red rash on the skin upon touching the back cumin seed. The rash may present with an itching which may later develop to a blister.
Low Blood Pressure
The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has warned that the use of black cumin oil can result in hypotension. Patients who are on diuretic or antihypertensive drugs are cautioned against using the black seed.
The hypotension caused by the use of black cumin oil can impair the delivery of blood to various organs in the body including the brain and the heart. As a result, the affected individual presents with symptoms such as blurred vision, nausea, fatigue, and difficulty breathing.
Pregnant women are cautioned against using black cumin oil. According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, black seed can increase contractions of the uterine wall. However, more assessment is needed to find out how the intake of black cumin oil can affect pregnancy.
Top Products Containing Black Cumin Oil
1. Panaseeda Black Cumin Oil
The product is produced by Activation Products. It is a pure Nigella sativa that has several benefits in the body including promotion of a healthy digestion, boosting of the immune function, and anti-inflammatory effects. It is high in vitamin B1, B2, and B3. The product has an overall rating of 4.3 stars out of a possible five stars on Amazon.
2. Kevala Organic Raw Black Cumin Seeds
The product is produced in Egypt and packaged in the United States. It is free from potential allergens such as peanut and gluten. It has an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of a possible five stars on Amazon.
3. Indus Organics Black Seeds
The black seed is grown in India using sustainable organic methods. It has a pungent taste and is best when dry roasted. It is free from salts, gluten, and preservatives. Indus Organics Black Seeds has an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of a possible five stars on Amazon.
Black Cumin Review Summary
Black cumin can be used in the treatment of several medical conditions. The product works best when it is used within the recommended dose alongside a proper diet. Although the adverse effects are rare, it is important to use the supplement within the recommended dose. As always, it is important to check with your health care provider when you intend to use the supplement for the first time.