Science: Black Seed
Black Seed (Nigella Sativa), also known as Black Cumin, has long been used for its medicinal properties in Asia and the Middle East for illness such as indigestion, loss of appetite, fever, diarrhoea, general weakness, chest congestion, asthma and arthritis. This unassuming little aromatic seed has been revered for centuries as a remedy to restore the body’s natural balance, strengthen its defences and to treat many chronic diseases.
More recently, there has been an increasing amount of research in support of the healing effects of Black Seed, something that has been assumed for centuries, but can now be proven scientifically. Black Seed is now known to have many beneficial effects, mainly due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Overview of Black Seed Benefits
With its antihistaminic and bronchodilation properties, Black Seed reduces the allergic response in asthma and allergy suffers.
Black Seed has been shown to increase the body’s immune response to infections and fungal diseases, and helps to reduce the symptoms of allergic responses, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune disorders.
Skin & Hair Support
Black Seed’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune supporting properties have been shown to reduce hair loss and thinning hair, as well as to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema.
Blood Sugar & Obesity Management
Black Seed has been shown to be effective in regulating blood glucose levels in Type II diabetics, increasing the secretion of insulin, and decreasing the process of gluconeogenesis that can lead to hyperglycaemia. It is also effective for the treatment of metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase the risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Black Seed has been proven to significantly improve the symptoms of functional dyspepsia, decrease the inflammatory responses and bacterial loads involved in intestinal obstruction, improve gastric ulcers, and assist in the treatment of colitis.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, Black Seed helps to treat colds, flu and sinusitis, as well as asthma and bronchial inflammation.
Some of the properties of Black Seed include:
- Immune support
Diseases that have shown significant improvement with Black Seed include asthma and other allergic responses, psoriasis and other auto immune diseases, hair loss and thinning hair, eczema and free radical damage in the skin, as well as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, gastric ulcers and dyspepsia, and a variety of other respiratory conditions.
Black Seed contains essential and unsaturated fatty acids and is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids
Key Ingredients of Black Seed Oil
Black Seed has more than 100 known constituents and over time, more are sure to be discovered. So far, we know that Black Seed contains between 34.4% to 38.7% by weight of a crude oil (Salem, 2001), whilst pure pressed Black Seed Oil is composed of approximately 98.2% to 99.9% of fixed oil, and about 0.1% to 1.8% of volatile oil (Edris, 2011).
Volatile Oils in Black Seed (0.1% to 1.8%)
It is important to remember that the quantities of the volatile oil in Black Seed varies, depending on the origins of the seed and the conditions under which it has been grown.
Thymoquinone (TQ) has been identified as the main active constituent in Black Seed and has not been found anywhere else in nature. TQ has been extensively studied and has been found to possess excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity.
Other important volatile oils include: dithymoquinone (nigellone), thymohydroquinone, p-cymene, carvacrol, 4-terpineol, t-anethol, sesquiterpene longifolene, α-pinene and thymol
(Ahmad et al 2013).
Fixed Oils in Black Seed (98.2% to 99.9%)
Black Seed contains essential and unsaturated fatty acids and is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids comprising approximately 58% linoleic acid (also found in flaxseed and evening primrose oil). It also contains carbohydrates, proteins, fibre, vitamins and minerals (predominantly potassium, phosphorus, sodium and iron) as outlined below.
Note: Sourced from Al-Jassir, 1992