Black seed, also known as Black Cumin Seed, has been used for thousands of years as a medicine to cure just about everything. The prophet Mohammed proclaimed over fourteen hundred years ago that “Black Seed heals every disease except for death”. In fact it was even found in King Tut’s tomb, suggesting it was used medicinally as far back as his reign in Egypt.
What is Black Seed?
While different from the spice cumin, Black Cumin Seed is also used in cooking practices world wide. Black Cumin Seed comes from a beautiful flowing plant from the Ranunculaceae family. The seeds are harvested and used medicinally and for culinary purposes. Its oil is extracted from the seeds making Black Cumin Seed Oil also great for medicinal and culinary proposes.
The main medicinal effects of Black Cumin Seed and Black Cumin Seed Oil is on your immune system and on inflammatory.
What is Black Seed used for?
Historically, Black Cumin Seed and its oil has been used to combat conditions we now understand to be related to fundamental, age-related, inflammatory and immunological disturbances.
This can be anything from fighting acute and chronic infections to cardiovascular disease, to allergies and allergic asthma, and a low functioning immune system.
It’s also great if you just need an immune boost in the fall and winter. Or if want a potent antioxidant in food form.
There have been studies done to show that black cumin seed and oil can also improve liver health as well diabetes.
Black Seed Oil has many skin and hair benefits as well. Treating psoriasis, eczema, fungal infections, acne, hair loss and may help hair growth.
How does Black Seed work?
Anti-inflammatory and Immune Booster:
Studies show Black Cumin Seed and Oil contain components that re-establish optimal inflammation balance, while at the same time promoting healthy immune responses to infection.
Many diseases are a result of chronic inflammation in the body – like cardiovascular disease, arthritis, tendinitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and sinusitis, etc.
Specifically, Black Cumin Seed combats inflammation by suppressing enzymes that produce pro-inflammatory cytokines called interleukins and leukotrienes. It also suppresses activity of the master inflammatory regulator complex called NF-Kappa B. It inhibits 5-Lox and Cox1, which produce inflammatory mediators called leukotrienes and prostaglandins. Among other things Black Cumin Seed reduces a compound called 5-HETE, a precursor to inflammatory molecules which increase inflammation.
The other major benefit of Black Cumin Seed is it boosts your immune system. Specifically, studies have shown it increases anti-tumor cells, t cells, and natural killer cells which deactivate bacteria, viruses and cell growths.
And while Black Cumin Seed down-regulates chronic inflammation, it also increases inflammation when it comes to fighting infection. Specifically it activates pro-inflammatory cytokines which are vital to overcoming infections.
Asthma and Allergies:
Black Cumin Seed is very effective in treating allergies and allergic asthma. Because it decreases chronic inflammation common in allergic rhinitis, sinusitis and asthma, it helps with symptoms of a chronic stuffed runny nose and sinus pain from excess mucus and inflammation of the mucus membranes. Also it combats infections in these areas which commonly go with chronic mucus production. Black Cumin Seed also act as a bronco-dilator, anti-histamine, immune stimulant and anti-spasmodic, which is key to helping with asthma.
Black Cumin Seed is great for cardiovascular disease, especially atherosclerosis, arteritis, phlebitis and other cardiovascular diseases involving chronic inflammation. Because many cardiovascular diseases involve chronic inflammation, Black Cumin Seed combats the reasons and the effects of chronic inflammation. It is also high in an antioxidant called Thymoquinone. This protects arteries from lipid peroxidase enzymes which damage fats and increase LDL cholesterol.
The liver is one of the bodies most important organs. It is responsible for digesting fats. Almost every toxin gets processed through the liver which can sometimes be very damaging. In a study it was discovered that black seed oil helps the function of the liver and helps to prevent both damage and disease while greatly speeding the healing process.
According to a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research black seed improves glucose tolerances as effectively as Metformin (a common recommended type 2 diabetes drug) without the adverse side effects.
Skin and Hair Health:
Black seed oil has many anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-histamine properties that when applied externally it provides essential nutrients to the skin and scalp to help relieve symptoms associated with psoriasis, eczema, fungal infections (athletes foot, ringworm, nail infections), and acne.
How do you use it?
Black Cumin Seed and Black Cumin Seed Oil can be used on salads, on cereal, in Oatmeal or in a health shake. Some people bake with it but it best not to heat the seeds or oil because they are fragile and can become damaged by the heating process.