Black seed oil is made from the seeds of the black cumin (Nigella sativa) plant, which belongs to the ranunculus family (Ranunculaceae). The black cumin plant is native to southwestern Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa.
1. May Help Fight Cancer
Thanks to its potent phytochemicals and antioxidant capabilities, black seed oil has been shown to help naturally treat cancer. Croatian scientists evaluated the antitumor activity of thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone using an animal model study and discovered that these two phytochemicals found in black seed oil resulted in a 52 percent decrease in tumor cells.
In vitro research in recent years also reveals that thymoquinone, the most abundant bioactive component in oil from black seed, helps induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in leukemia cells, breast cancer cells and brain tumor cells.
Additionally, researchers from the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health found that not only can black seed kill off pancreatic cancer cells, but it also appears to inhibit development of pancreatic cancer. This cancer preventative ability is attributed to black seed’s thymoquinone and its anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Promotes Liver Health
The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. Nearly every toxin gets processed through the liver, and the bile from the liver is the key to digesting fats and keeping your mind and body happy and healthy.
For those who have struggled with poor liver function due to medication side effects, alcohol consumption or disease, black seed oil could greatly speed the healing process.
In a recent animal model study, scientists discovered that black seed oil benefits the function of the liver and helps prevent both damage and disease.
3. Combats Diabetes
Explained in a recent article published by the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers from the Indian Council of Medical Research highlight that black seed oil “causes gradual partial regeneration of pancreatic beta-cells, increases the lowered serum insulin concentrations and decreases the elevated serum glucose.”
This is actually quite profound because Nigella sativa is one of the few substances on the planet that is suggested to help prevent both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
In fact, according to the study, black seed “improves glucose tolerance as efficiently as metformin; yet it has not shown significant adverse effects and has very low toxicity.” This is huge because metformin, one of the most commonly prescribed type 2 diabetes drugs, can cause a wide slew of side effects, including:
- Flushing of the skin
- Nail changes
- Metallic taste in mouth
- Muscle pain
- Stomach pain
4. Aids Weight Loss
Black seed oil weight loss claims actually do have some science behind them. The Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders published a study systemically reviewing the literature for plants that have anti-obesity properties and discovered that oil from black cumin seed oil was among the most effective natural remedies on the planet.
Another systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2018 highlights the findings of at least 11 placebo-controlled clinical trials that reveal the ability of a black seed supplement to help lower body weight.
Supplementation was shown to decrease body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. It’s also important to note that there were no serious side effects of black seed supplementation reported in any of the studies.
5. Protects Skin
In a study conducted by Iranian researchers, Nigella saliva was found as effective as the skin cream Betamethasone in improving quality of life and decreasing severity of hand eczema.
As long as you don’t have an allergic reaction to black seed oil, it does not come with a laundry list of terrifying side effects like conventional creams.
Betamethasone, for example, may cause swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, skin color changes, dark freckles, easy bruising, and muscle weakness. Weight gain around your neck, upper back, breast, face or waist is also in the realm of possibility.
6. Benefits Hair
In addition to being a natural skincare aid, there are also black seed oil health benefits for hair. Not surprisingly, black seed oil is often featured on lists of natural ways to boost hair and scalp health in numerous ways.
Since it contains nigellone, shown by research to be an impressive antihistamine, it may help with hair loss due to androgenic alopecia or alopecia areata. With its antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can also help the health of the scalp in general, discouraging dandruff and dryness, and improve hair health at the same time.
7. Helps Treat Infections
Of all the superbugs that this powerful oil can kill, methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most important. MRSA plagues hospitals and nursing homes across the globe because ordinary staph infections are becoming resistant to generic antibiotics.
The elderly population is especially at risk because it is generally associated with invasive procedures, such as surgeries, intravenous tubing and artificial joints. Primarily due to weakened immunity, the growing population of senior citizens has made MRSA a global public health risk.
Thankfully, one of the strongest black seed oil benefits may help. Pakistan scientists took several strains of MRSA and discovered that each one was sensitive to N. sativa, proving that black seed oil can help slow down or stop MRSA from spreading out of control.
Compounds in black seed oil have also been analyzed for their antifungal properties. In an effort to offer a solution to the growing antifungal resistant problem people have with yeasts and molds, a recent study was conducted with the purpose of determining if Nigella sativaseed oil could help.
Published in the Egyptian Journal of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, scientists testedthymol, TQ and THQ against 30 human pathogens and were surprised to discover that:
- Each compound showed 100 percent inhibition for the 30 pathogens evaluated.
- Thymoquinone was the best antifungal compound against all of the tested dermatophytes and yeasts, followed by thymohydroquinone and thymol.
- Thymol was the best antifungal against molds followed by TQ and THQ.
What this study tells us is that Nigella sativa oil carries a unique chemical constituency that is not only effective individually, but more importantly also collectively. Essentially proving that fungus and molds cannot exist in the presence of these phytochemicals, it is no wonder why researchers seek to solve the superbug problem with black seed oil.
8. May Improve Fertility
In addition to possibly helping with hair loss, there are some other really impressive black seed benefits, like its ability to naturally improve fertility.
One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial evaluated whether or not black seed oil could help infertile male subjects with abnormal sperm. The control group orally took 2.5 milliliters of black seed oil while the placebo group received the same amount of liquid paraffin twice a day for two months.
What did researchers find? The results revealed that the black seed oil group had improvements in their sperm count as well as sperm motility and semen volume.
A systematic review published in 2015 in the Journal of Herbal Medicine also looked at the effects of black seeds on male infertility. The researchers reviewed studies that took place between 2000 and 2014, and overall, they concluded that black seed can “positively influence sperm parameters, semen, Leydig cells, reproductive organs and sexual hormones.”
9. Balances Cholesterol
Did you know that there may even been black seed oil health benefits for cholesterol? It’s true.
A study using an animal model published in 2017 found that an aqueous extract of Nigella sativa not only had anti-diabetic effects on animal subjects, but also helped with cholesterol. After six weeks of giving the diabetic animal subjects low doses of black seed, total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and glucose levels all came down while HDL (“good”) cholesterol increased.
Another older randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted with human subjects who had mild hypertension. There was a placebo group, a group that took 100 milligrams of black seed twice a day and a group that took 200 milligrams twice a day.
After eight weeks of this supplementation, researchers found that the people who took the black seed supplement had their systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure decrease in “a dose-dependent manner.” Additionally, the black seed extract supplement caused a “significant decline” in both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Overall, it appears that black seed may help lower cholesterol as well as blood sugar and blood pressure.