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Health Benefits Of Black Seed

Black seed is an herb also referred to as black cumin. Its scientific name is Nigella Sativa. It is mostly found in Mediterranean regions as well as parts of Africa and Asia. It bears no relation with the cumin seed or fennel, as is commonly believed. It has many names such as Black Caraway, Roman Coriander and Habbatul Baraka.
It is even referred to as onion seed at times, though this is largely a misconception. Black seed has been used for many centuries as an herbal remedy. Ancient Egyptian tombs contain black seed, indicating that it was considered an important item for the journey into the afterlife. There are also references of the importance of black seed in Islamic texts.

Black seed contains many ingredients, an important one being Nigellone. This gives black seed the healing properties that have cured ailments over the years. It also contains important vitamins and minerals. Modern research is proving many of these remedies to be true. Black seed is mostly used as a cooking ingredient and garnishing. However, black seed supplements are available in the market for those who need to use it for medical purposes.

Let us take a look at a few health benefits of black seed:

  • It contains antioxidants, which help in maintaining healthy skin and hair. It also helps to prevent cancer by fighting free radicals.
  • Black seed helps to combat asthma and other allergies.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • In many households it is used as a natural preservative in pickles as it helps to prevent the growth of certain types of yeast.
  • Research has indicated that black seed may have anti malarial properties as well.
  • Black seed contains a compound called thymoquinone that helps prevent against bacteria. Studies have shown that it can prevent a kind of bacterial blood poisoning called bacterial sepsis.
  • Black seed helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the body.

Skin Problems:

Black seed has been used for many years as a remedy for acne in eastern countries. Black seed oil can be used as an ointment; it can also be ingested as a supplement to improve the skin condition. It usually takes a week or two to see the results. Black seed oil contains antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals that are good for the skin. Black seed helps to boost the body’s immune system and fight against infections. Additionally, black seed also helps to reduce other skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Applying black seed oil directly to psoriasis patches may bring relief and enhance the healing process.

Hair Problems:

Another use of the black seed is that it helps to maintain healthy, shiny hair. Black seed contains anti fungal properties. This helps to prevent hair loss that is caused by fungal infections such as ringworm. Black seed contains good fatty acids and essential oils, this helps to keep the hair healthy. However, there is little evidence supporting the assumption that consuming black seed can help in hair growth. Ancient remedies suggest that massaging the scalp with black seed oil can prevent grey hair. However, this too, lacks sufficient research to back the claim. It is always best to consult a doctor before consuming black seed supplements or using it on a daily basis. In addition, making sure that you are not allergic to black seed is a good precautionary measure before using it on a regular basis.

Other Nutrition Advantages:

The benefits of black seed are many and varied. Modern research is slowly backing most of the popular home remedies that have been in use for centuries. Diabetes is a chronic medical condition where the body cannot produce enough insulin to convert sugar into energy. This leads to high blood sugar levels that can be dangerous for the patient. A proper diet and consistent exercise is very important for a diabetic patient. Research today has just begun on the effect of black seed on diabetes. So far, the results look promising, as it seems that black seed can reduce blood sugar levels and prevent complications associated with diabetes. A word of precaution, consult with a medical practitioner before including black seed into your regimen of consumption for diabetes.

Black seed is also used as a remedy for various treatments for women such as increasing fertility. Ancient healers also recommended black seed as an agent to start menstruation and also to increase milk flow for a nursing mother. Additionally, black seed helps to ease gastro-intestinal disorders. It contains an essential oil nigellone that helps to cleanse the stomach thoroughly. It also stimulates bile, therefore aiding the digestive process. Overall, a good home remedy for constipation. The best way to consume it is to mix a teaspoon of oil with milk. This is said to be effective in regulating bowel movements.

Black seed has also gained popularity for its weight loss benefits. Certain studies on animals indicate that consuming black seed helps to suppress the appetite, thus indirectly leading to weight loss. However, this is yet to be corroborated in humans. Another reason linked to weight loss is that black seed helps to lower blood sugar. This helps to control the appetite and lead to a healthier lifestyle. In addition, black seed is known to increase metabolism and help to digest food better. However, it is important to consult a physician for expert advice before going ahead with the daily use of black seed in any of its forms.
Black seed being a popular herbal remedy in the Middle East, it is used to combat blood pressure problems as well. Herbal remedies suggest that a body massage with black seed oil followed by a sunbath helps to alleviate blood pressure. Research has also shown that black seed can help to control blood pressure. However, it is not a remedy on its own and one must not stop taking medication prescribed by a doctor. Please do remember to consult your doctor.

Black seed contains good fatty polyunsaturated acids. This helps to increase the level of good cholesterol or HDL in the body.  The good cholesterol helps to reduce the level of triglycerides in the body. This leads to maintaining the overall cholesterol levels and promoting a healthier heart.

In the world we live in today, the number of people who suffer from cancer is rising. This is a painful disease and a lot of research has been done to find out how to prevent its onset. The most important way is to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising regularly. Black seed contributes to cancer prevention as it contains an essential oil called thymoquinone that helps to fight against cancer cells. Research has also shown that black seed helps to fight against pancreatic cancer, a very dangerous form of cancer. Again, thymoquinone is the important ingredient that helps to fight against cancer and build healthy cells in the pancreas.

Side Effects Of Black Seed

Black seed when taken in small quantities does not have negative effects on health. Consumption of large quantities of black seed can be harmful if you are allergic to it. In some cases, touching black seed or using it as a topical ointment may cause angry rashes.  Black seed helps to lower blood sugar levels, its over consumption may lead to very low blood sugar that can lead to serious consequences. As a precautionary measure, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should avoid consuming black seed in large quantities too.
Submitted on January 16, 2014