Black seed oil is high in antioxidants and may have several benefits for health. These include the treatment of asthma and various skin conditions, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, aiding in weight loss, and protecting brain health.
Studies suggest that this oil may offer many health and cosmetic benefits, such as aiding weight loss, improving skin conditions, and even treating cancer and diabetes.In this article, we look at the science behind black seed oil’s benefits and explore the possible side effects and risks.
Black seeds are also known as black caraway, black cumin, kalonji, and black onion seeds. They come from Nigella sativa, a small plant with pale purple, blue, or white flowers that grows in Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and the Middle East.
People have used the tiny black seeds of the fruits of N. sativa as a natural remedy for thousands of years. The seeds can also flavor curries, pickles, and bread in a similar way to cumin or oregano.
It contains thymoquinone, which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that may also have tumor-reducing properties.
People can ingest black seed oil in the form of capsules or apply it topically to benefit the skin. It is also possible to add the oil to massage oils, shampoos, homemade skin-care products, and fragrances.
High-quality black seed oil is also suitable for use in cooking, baking, and beverages.
Scientists with a range of specialties have researched the possible benefits of this oil.
However, it is important to note that many studies to date have used cells or animals as models, and there is limited research available on the effects of black seed oil in humans.
Benefits for weight loss
Research has shown that black seed supplementation can help lower people’s body mass index (BMI). The study participants did not report any severe side effects from taking this supplement.
A systematic review found that this oil could be effective in tackling obesity.
Benefits of Black Seed Oil for the skin
It may be beneficial for people with the following skin conditions:
- Eczema: According to a small-scale 2013 study comparing the therapeutic benefits of N. sativa with those of prescription medications, this oil can reduce the severity of hand eczema.
- Acne: Research suggests that the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects of black seed oil can improve acne. In one study, 58 percent of participants rated their response to this treatment as good, while 35 percent felt their results were moderate.
- Psoriasis: A 2012 study on mice suggests that the oil may also have antipsoriatic benefits.
Black seed oil may also hydrate hair, soften skin, and act as a moisturizer, although there is a lack of scientific evidence to confirm these benefits.
Benefits for health conditions
It may also be beneficial for some health conditions, including the following:
Recent studies have shown that the thymoquinone in it can influence programmed cell death, or apoptosis, in several types of cancer cell. These include brain cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer cells.
Liver and kidney function
According to a 2013 study on rats, it may reduce liver and kidney disease complications and improve the organ structures. Researchers do not know if these effects would also occur in humans.
According to an article in the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, this seed oil may have antidiabetic properties and improve blood sugar levels. Again, this study used animal models, so more research is necessary to confirm the effectiveness of the oil in humans.
A placebo-controlled clinical trial on men with abnormal sperm and infertility has found that this oil can improve sperm movement and increase sperm count and semen volume.
The doctor can advise on possible interactions with the medication and also discuss the potential benefits and side effects of the supplement. It is essential never to stop taking medication without a doctor’s advice.
As with any supplement, pregnant or breastfeeding women should talk to their doctor to see if it is right for them before using it.