Black seeds are also called black caraway, black cumin, kalonji and black onion seeds. They come from a small plant called Nigella Sativa, which grows in Eastern Europe, Western Asia and the Middle East. Black seeds and their oil have a long tradition of having featured in mythology as food and medicine in Indian and Arab culture. But in India, there are a lot of states which use black seeds to make their food even tastier and healthier. Black seed oil is loaded with various health benefits. Few people consider it as a go-to remedy for many health issues. To know about its incredible health benefits, read on.
Here's the list of health benefits of black seed oil:
Thymoquinone, Thymohydroquinone, Dithymoquinone, p-Cymen, Carvacrol, 4-Terpineol, t-Anethol, Longifolene Sesquiterpene, alpha-pinene, alpha-hederin, and Thymol are its most common active compounds. The seeds were identified as a fatty oil rich in unsaturated fatty acids, primarily Linoleic Acid, Oleic Acid, Eicodadienoic Acid and Dihomolinoleic Acid. The therapeutic powers of black seed oil are due to medicinal properties it has such as being an immunostimulant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-ulcerative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tumorous, anti-pyretic, hypoglycaemic, immunomodulatory, anti-hypertensive, anti-depressant, anti-spasmic, hepatoprotective, anti-parasitary, etc.
Recently, World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended the consumption of black seed and its oil as a herbal remedy. Black Seed oil has Anti-diabetic function. Thymoquinone (TQ), the principal bioactive compound of black seed oil, is considered to be a strong antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and antimutagenic agent. Several research studies have reported that use of black seed oil in Diabetics helps to regulate blood sugar levels, while also enhancing pancreatic function. Researcher Wong in his study found that, recommended use of 100 and 200mg of black seed extract, twice daily, for 2 months, was found to have a blood pressure-lowering effect in patients with moderate Hypertension.
Benefits of black seed oil include its ability to fight obesity as well. A systematic analysis published in the Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders Journal in 2013 reported that black seed oil could be useful in treating Obesity. Black seed has been an outstanding herb for more than 3000yrs, it contains more than 100 useful properties. It is an important source of essential fatty acids, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and other minerals. Even the seeds are rich in sterols; in particular beta-sitosterol, considered to have Anti-carcinogenic properties.
Wagner, a scientist further notes that Nigellone and Thymoquinone are two of the most volatile oils found in black seed. Nigellone provides both anti-spasmodic and broncho-dilating properties that add to the power of black seed against breathing disorders.
Black Seed oil also acts as an Antihistamine which helps to reduce the allergy sufferer's negative symptoms. Thymoquinone has excellent anti-inflammatory and Analgesic effects. This is also a strong antioxidant and helps to clean up toxins in the body. The essential oil of black seeds is Antimicrobial, and effective in deworming. Researches in Jordan and the US have shown the black seed oil as being anti-leukemic.
Benefits of black seed oil include many studies indicating that this same active ingredient can function as an immune system booster and have proven effective in the treatment of Asthma and Whooping Cough.
Some studies suggest that Anti-osteoporotic effects can account for the potent antioxidant properties of black seeds & it's volatile oil or Thymoquinone. Alpha-hederin, a pentacyclictriterpenesaponin isolated from black seeds, is a powerful in vivo anti-tumour activity. It increases interferon production, protects normal cells from harmful invader effects and helps to destroy tumour cells.
Black Seed oil has been shown to be a more effective Antibacterial treatment for some forms of bacteria, including those that are most resistant to Antibiotics. Study showed that black seed oil could provide a solution to the resistant anti-fungal problem people have with yeasts and molds. Thymoquinone was also found to be the best anti-fungal agent against all Dermatophytes and Yeasts tested. Researchers promoted the traditional use of black seed as Rheumatic Remedy and associated inflammatory diseases with anti-oxidant activity, and inhibited the production of Eicosanoids in cells. Several studies have since verified its anti-inflammatory effects, making Black seed oil a potentially safe and safer alternative to conventional Rheumatic and Rheumatoid drugs. Black seed has enzyme-inhibiting properties that also inhibit the development of other Prostaglandins. This is more evidence that the rich and complex blend of elements found in black seed works together for a synergistic effect.
Clinical trials in the field of AIDS research showed that black seed enhanced the ratio between the activity of the helper T-cell and NK cell. These results indicate that black seed may play a significant role in the treatment of Cancer, AIDS and other states of immune deficiency.
Black Seed oil serves a natural sleep remedy. Research shows that black seed oil can help eliminate sleep disturbances and make one sleep better. Those with Insomnia can take one teaspoon of black seed oil and one teaspoon of Honey in warm Milk, one hour before they go to sleep. The benefits of black seeds are immense - you can add these seeds to casseroles, stir-fries, salad dressings (try them combined with Lemon, Cilantro etc). and baked goods, or sprinkle them on salads. Therefore, several researchers claim, black seed oil is probably the most essential oil you can bring into your system.
About the author: Shweta Mahadik is a clinical dietician in Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.
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