The oil comes from the nigella sativa plant which is native to Asia. The plant has small, black, crescent-shaped seeds and is a part of the buttercup family. Its recorded use dates back to ancient Egyptian times, with Cleopatra using it to achieve her beautiful complexion and shiny hair. The oil was even found in a pharaoh’s tomb, dating back 3,300 years. Hippocrates was said to use it to treat digestive troubles. It is often incorrectly labeled as black cumin seed. Neither “cumin” nor “black cumin” is true black seed. Always look for the botanical name Nigella Sativa for pure Black seed oil.
Some of the recorded uses include high blood pressure, asthma and Candida albicans or yeast overgrowth in the body. Black seed oil may help to reduce inflammatory arthritis symptoms and may extend to improving asthma and bronchitis symptoms. Eating black seeds or taking black seed oil is also associated with relieving stomach pain, cramps, reducing gas, bloating, and the incidence of ulcers as well. The oil may help fight against skin cancers when applied topically. Black seed oil or seeds has been shown to reduce high cholesterol because it’s high in fatty acids that can help maintain healthier cholesterol levels.
When people with type 2 diabetes consumed 2000mg of black cumin per day for three months, it led to reductions in fasting blood sugar and HgbA1c.
Black Seed can help fight off many different strains of bacteria, including salmonella, E. coli, listeria, staph and MRSA. For internal bacterial infections, black seed oil can be added to herbal teas, and for a skin infection, you can apply it directly to the skin.
It’s particularly beneficial for those with autoimmune disease, because it can balance the immune system. It can increase immune function without encouraging an immune reaction against healthy tissue in the body.
Black Seed oil, honey and garlic make a powerful tonic for soothing coughs and boosting immunity, especially during cold and flu season or if you feel like you’re coming down with an infection. Black Seed oil can even be used topically to treat psoriasis and eczema or mixed with facial cream to moisturize and soothe your skin.
Black seed oil is available capsules, oil and seeds. You can add the seeds to casseroles, stir fries, salad dressings and baked goods, sprinkle them on salads, or even add them to your coffee, tea or smoothies. You can make black seed tea by pouring hot water over the seeds (about one tablespoon) and letting it steep for 10 minutes.
Dori Cranmore is a registered nurse, holistic health Practitioner and owner of All About Herbs in Wasilla, 376-8327 or 745-8387. This information is for educational purposes and is not medical advice or meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.