For over 2 centuries, black seed has been used by different cultures as a natural remedy for varied diseases and improve our health and well-being. Ancient Egyptians knew its benefits and called it a panacea (cure for illnesses) whereas the Ancient Romans utilized it as part of a diet and called it Greek Coriander. Ancient Greeks used it for aches of the head and teeth as well as nasal congestion. Our Beloved Prophet peace be upon him:
‘Use the Black Seed for indeed, it is a cure for all diseases except death.’ [Sahih Bukhari - 7:591]
Studies have shown that its active ingredient, crystalline nigellone, contains 15 amino acids. Amongst these include 8 essential amino acids. It also has carbohydrates, fatty acids including linolenic and oleic acids, alkaloids, volatile oils, and dietary fibre, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium and potassium.
Recent studies have shown that black seed is an antibiotic, anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic, anti-bacterial, anti-bronchial and immune-boosting agent.
Some studies have shown it has trypanocidal properties and can stimulate the host immune system to maintain parasite proliferation. Consequently, it can help manage African sleeping sickness despite there is a risk of damage gradually occurring to host organs (shown due to increase in serum enzymes).
What does Black Seed Oil contain?
Black Seed Oil contains 3 main natural phytochemicals: thymoquinone (TQ), thymohydroquinone (THQ) and thymol.
A study published in the Egyptian Journal of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology experimented these 3 natural chemicals against 30 human pathogens. Results suggested that all three chemicals showed 100% inhibition for these pathogens.
Thymol - It is also present in thyme. It is a natural monoterpene. It is useful against fungus and viruses. Studies found it to be the best anti-fungal agent followed by TQ and THQ. It is also used in cosmetics and food flavouring.
Thymoquinone - It has anti-tumour, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown it to aid with asthma, diabetes, carcinogenesis and encephalomyelitis. It preserves anti-oxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase as they detoxify and aid in cellular anti-oxidant defense systems as they protect the liver from toxins.
Thymohydroquinone - It is a natural acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors that aims to stop enzymatic activitity which increase the amount of neurotransmitter acetylecholine remains active in the brain. These AChE inhibitors treat Schizophrenia, Glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, apathy and other conditions.
Top 10 Benefits of Black Seed Oil
Benefit 1: Anti-Cancer activity.
Thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone can aid in preventing cancer via the following methods:
Cell cycle arrest
Generate reactive oxygen species.
Studies conducted on mice models revealed that thymoquinone combined with chemotherapy increase therapy and lower toxicity.
Other studies have also been performed on the following types of cancer:
Colon cancer – studies shown to inhibit growth of colon cancer cells with no side effects.
Brain cancer – Studies have shown that thymoquinone can induce apoptosis in glioblastoma cells. Glioblastoma cells
is one of the most aggressive brain tumours.
Oral cancer – Studies have shown that thymoquinone can induce apoptosis in oral cancer cells.
Leukaemia – Thymoquinone can induce apoptosis in leukaemia cells.
Breast Cancer – Thymoquinone can induce tumour growth and apoptosis in breast cancer cells.
Benefit Two: Hair
Black Seed oil can restore hair loss and strengthens hair roots; studies are still being conducted as to reason behind it. However there are theories that it is due to anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties.
Benefit Three: Epilepsy
Studies have found it to lower the amount of seizures in children who do not respond to conventional treatment.
Benefit Four: Brain Damage
Some studies have found that it can revese damage to the brain especially that caused by lead toxicity.
Benefit Five: Protect against Heart Attack
Studies have shown it protect the heart.
Benefit Six: Infections
Infections caused by bugs such as Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) known to spread around hospitals. MRSA are staphylococcus bacterial infections that can resist to antibiotics. Elderly and Immunodeficient individuals are at risk. Studies have shown that black seed oil can remove these infections.
Benefit Seven: Losing Weight
Studies have shown that Black seed oil has anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory properties. It can reduce blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It can also lower appetite and glucose absorption in the intestines.
Benefit Eight: Strengthens the liver.
Studies have shown that it increases the function of liver and prevent both damage and disease. Individuals with poor liver function due to side effects of medications, consuming alcohol or disease; the role of black seed oil increases healing process.
Benefit Nine: Diabetes
Studies have shown that black seed oil aids in preventing type 1 and 2 Diabetes. A recent study revealed that black seed oil can cause gradual partial regeneration of pancreatic beta-cells (consequently increases beta-cell function in the pancreas), increases the lowered serum insulin concentrations and decreases the elevated serum glucose.
Another study revealed that it can work efficiently as that of metformin drug to improve glucose tolerance. Alternatively, the difference is that there is no side effects with black seed oil, whereas metformin has a number of side effects: such as pain in the stomach and muscle and head, constipation, digestive problems etc.
Benefit Ten: Skin
There are many benefits of black seed oil on the skin and other cells. Studies have shown that Black Seed Oil has same effect on eczema as Betamethasone that is prescribed for eczema.
There are so many other benefits of Black Seed Oil not so included.