Benefits Of Black Seed Oil
Black seed also known as black cumin, black caraway, nigella and kalonji has the scientific name of Nigella sativa derived from the Latin name ‘niger’ which means black. Black seed is part of the Ranunculaceae family which is native to the Mediterranean region, Africa, Southwest Asia and the Middle East. It usually flowers annually producing flowers which are delicate and usually pale blue and white with five to ten petals. It has a large fruit with an inflated capsule composed of united follicles each containing numerous seeds which are the black seeds. Nigella sativa is better known as the fennel flower.
History of black seed oil
In the ancient times, nigella sativa seeds were found by archaeologists in sites in ancient Egypt, including in Tutankhamun’s (king Tut) tomb. They were also discovered in a Hittite flask in turkey from the second millennium BCE.
Avicenna, a Persian physician described nigella sativa as a treatment for dyspnoea. Black seed was also used in the middle east as a traditional medicine. In the 1st century, Greek physicians used black seeds to treat toothaches, headaches, nasal congestions and intestinal worms. Other Greeks used it to stimulate the onset of menstruation and increase milk production in lactating women
Black seeds were used in culinary too in the ancient times. They were used as spices in polish cuisines, Indian cuisines and middle eastern cuisines.
The Muslims know black seed in their native language as ‘habbatul barakah’ or the seed of blessing because it is believed that prophet Mohammed considered it to be a remedy for all diseases.
N. sativa seed is rich in phenolic compounds used as an antioxidant agent and in essential fatty acids besides bioactive compounds such as sterols and tocols
In ancient Egypt, it is stated that Cleopatra used black seed oil for beautiful hair and skin while Hippocrates was fond of using it to treat digestive troubles.
Black seed oil has also been used for its stimulating warming and toning effects to enhance and harmonize the mood.
The extraction process of black seed oil.
The cold press extraction is the conventional method for oil extraction. It involves no heat and/or chemicals and this is preferred by consumers concerned about natural and safe food.
Properties of black seed oil.
Benefits of black seed oil.
- Boosts immunity
- Aids in weight loss
- Helps fight cancer. Studies have shown that black seeds and the oil which has the thymoquinone compound helps to induce apoptosis which is the death of cells in leukaemia. Other studies have shown the same effect, death of cells in breast cancer, brain tumour, pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer etc.
- Promotes liver health
- Combats diabetes
- Treats infections
- Improves fertility (sperm function)
- Balances cholesterol
- Improves asthma and overall respiratory health.
- Aid in digestion and also may decrease gas, bloating and stomach upset.
- Moisturizes and hydrates the skin
- Treats eczema and psoriasis by soothing the inflamed skin and improving the speed of healing of the skin.
- Treats acne
- Soften and soothes the skin
- Reduces scars on wounds
- Strengthens and firms the skin
- Nourishes, rejuvenates and repairs the skin
- Brightens the skin
- Boosts hair and scalp health.
- Prevents and treats hair loss
- Treats dandruff
- Hydrates and moisturizes the hair.
How to use black seed oil.
Black seed oil can be used in three different ways i.e.
- Topically by applying on the skin
- Ingested in the form of capsules.
- Inhaled by diffusing it.
Black seed oil can be used in different ways to promote good health, good skincare and good hair care.
As a moisturizer for both hair and skin
Dilute black seed oil with a carrier oil of your choice like coconut oil, argan oil, almond oil or olive oil.
As a shampoo or conditioner for hair and scalp health.
Add a few drops of black seed oil to your shampoo and/ or conditioner then use it for your hair normally.
For a warming massage.
Add black seed oil to your home massage oil and use it to massage your body.
As a homemade perfume
Add black seed oil as a base for your perfume because of its peppery scent.
Safety precautions when using black seed oil.
Always do a patch test before using black seed to avoid allergic rashes on your skin or in your mouth when ingested.
Avoid using black seed oil around your eyes and mucous membranes to avoid irritation
Pregnant and lactating mothers should consult their doctor before using black seed oil.
People who suffer from diabetes, low blood pressure or bleeding disorders should avoid using black seed oil or consult the doctor.
Persons who are about to undergo surgery should stop using black seed oil two weeks prior the surgery.
Tips on buying black seed oil.
Look out for;
Pure quality organic black seed oil.
Purely pressed black seed oil without any chemical extraction process.
No additives added to the oil.
Stored in a dark air tight glass bottle.
Store black seed oil in a cool dry and dark place preferably in a dark glass bottle away from heat and light to prevent it from going rancid and definitely away from children’s reach.
By Eila Oketch.