Revered since ancient times for its versatile medicinal qualities, black seed oil was found in Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb. It has a long history of use in traditional systems of medicine, including Ayurveda and Siddha.
More than 650 peer-reviewed studies have looked into the potential health benefits of “black seed,” which come from the flowering plant Nigella Sativa.
BLACK CUMIN HAS AT LEAST 20 PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTIONS
Traditionally, black cumin has been used for immune-system support, well-being, digestive health, respiratory issues, kidney and liver support, and heart health. In Asia and the Middle East, black cumin seeds have long been used to treat asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism and other inflammatory diseases.
Black cumin has a wide spectrum of pharmacological actions that have been supported by science. Among them:
- Antioxidant properties
- Renal protective
The most abundant active plant chemical in black cumin is thymoquinone; other bioactive compounds in the seed include α-hederin, alkaloids, flavonoids, antioxidants and fatty acids. Some of the most compelling research into black cumin’s health benefits is highlighted below.
When people with diabetes consumed two grams of black cumin per day for three months, it led to reductions in fasting blood sugar and HbA1c and increased the functionality of pancreatic β cells, which suggests black cumin may be a “beneficial adjuvant therapy in type 2 diabetes.”
Thymoquinone extract from black cumin appears to be effective against cancers in the blood, lung, kidney, liver, prostate, breast, cervix, colon and skin.
A number of studies have indicated black cumin may be helpful for asthmatics. In one study, thymoquinone was found to be instrumental by reducing two inflammatory mediators of asthma and other inflammatory processes.
Consumption of black cumin is associated with lowering of elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Thymoquinone in black cumin also may benefit endothelial dysfunction, which is involved in many cardiovascular disorders.
CULINARY USES FOR BLACK CUMIN
Black cumin oil is available in supplement form, but you can easily add the seeds to your regular meals. It’s popular in North Indian, Pakistani, and Iranian cuisines, with a warm, slightly bitter flavor that tastes something like a blend of thyme, oregano and nutmeg.
You can also make black cumin tea by pouring hot water over the seeds (about one tablespoon) and letting it steep for 10 minutes.
A mixture of black cumin, honey and garlic makes a powerful tonic for soothing coughs and boosting immunity, especially during cold and flu season or if you feel like you’re coming down with an infection.
Black cumin oil can even be used topically to treat psoriasis and eczema or mixed with facial cream to moisturize and soothe your skin.