Black seed oil can be taken in a variety of ways. For example, black seed oil for skin can be found in skin care products. It can be ingested directly in the form of black seed oil capsules or applied topically to the skin to provide it with benefits.
Black seed oil can also be added to lots of products, such as shampoos, massage oils, fragrances and homemade skin care concoctions. It can even be used in beverages, mixed into baked products and used in cooking.
Thymoquinone and Black Seed Oil
The American Botanical Council explains that black seed goes by many names, including black cumin, black seed and black caraway. It comes from a plant known as the Nigella sativa, which grows in the Middle East, Western Asia and Eastern Europe and has small white, blue or pale purple flowers.
The fruits of the Nigella sativa contain the black seeds, and these seeds have been used by people as a natural remedy for numerous diseases for millennia. They have also been used as a culinary aid similar to oregano or cumin, flavoring such foods as bread, pickles and curries.
The most important product from the black seed is black seed oil, which is what is used as a natural remedy for many ailments. The most significant component of black seed oil is thymoquinone (TQ), which is an antioxidant.
TQ has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it effective against a large variety of ailments. A September 2013 study published in PLOS One suggests that TQ might be able to reduce several types of tumors. Additionally, a June 2018 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacol showed black seed oil to have a lowering effect on people's BMI, which means it's useful for weight loss.
BMI is a mathematical technique used to determine if someone's weight is appropriate for their age and height. It is used to generate a number, known as the body mass index, which indicates how healthy you are. A body mass index over 25 is considered overweight while a body mass index below 20 is considered underweight.
Black Seed Oil for Skin
There also seem to be numerous benefits associated with black seed oil for skin. In a small study of 60 patients, published in December 2013 issue of the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, black seed oil was compared to prescription medicine for its therapeutic benefits for the skin. It was found that black seed oil was able to reduce the severe effects of eczema on the hands.
There have also been signs that black seed may have positive effects on other skin problems, such as psoriasis, as well as being able to soften the skin, hydrate the hair and act as a moisturizer. It should be noted, however, that there haven't been any major scientific studies to back up these claims, and they are only based on anecdotes.
A November 2017 review published in the Journal of Tropical Medicine on black seed oil looked into many of the areas in which black seed oil has been shown to be very effective, including antimicrobial effects.
The Journal of Tropical Medicine review found Nigella sativa or black seed oil to be effective against various staphylococcus bacteria, E. coli and H. pylori. The active chemicals that were responsible for this were TQ and melanin, which are both abundant in black seed oil.
The same review found black seed oil to have antiviral effects against the hepatitis C virus, which means black seed oil could be an effective way to decrease loads of the virus in patients when combined with other forms of medication.
Kidneys, Liver and Cancer
There seem to be signs that black seed may have a positive effect on the functioning of the kidneys and liver. This is based on a March 2013 study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences that was conducted on rats.
The study found that black seed can reduce the chances of illnesses in these organs and even improve their overall structure. The research is inconclusive, however, as this study was done on rats, and researchers don't know if the same effects can be observed in humans.
Some studies have shown that TQ, the active drug in black seed, may have a positive effect on cancer cells. It is shown to aid apoptosis, which is programmed cell death. For example, the study published in PLOS One showed that the bioactive compound of black seed oil, TQ, may help stop the growth of glioblastomas, an aggressive malignant brain tumor.
A November 2013 study published in the journal Life Sciences showed that TQ may help inhibit the growth of tumors in breast cancer, and a July 2013 study published in _Molecules _showed that TQ may help destroy leukemia cancer cells.
It should be noted, however, that most of the research on the effect of TQ on cancer cells has been conducted on individual cancer cells and not live humans. The effectiveness of the substance in an actual live human is therefore not fully understood by scientists.
Black Seed Oil Side Effects
There are numerous black seed oil side effects that can arise as a result of taking black seed oil capsules. To start with, the body of research on the safety and effectiveness of black seed is quite limited.
You should always consult your doctor before you use black seed oil or any other kind of herbal supplement or vitamin. You should also never use black seed as a substitute for any prescription medicine.
Despite the potential benefits that black seed has against cancer, it is known to react in an adverse way with radiation and chemotherapy medications. This is mostly due to its antioxidant properties, which may reduce the effectiveness of cancer medication and treatments. Discuss taking black seed oil capsules with your doctor if you take any prescription medications.
- NCBI: PLOS One: "Thymoquinone Inhibits Autophagy and Induces Cathepsin-Mediated, Caspase-Independent Cell Death in Glioblastoma Cells"
- NCBI: Journal of Ethnopharmacology: "The Effects of Nigella Sativa L. on Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis"
- NCBI: Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology: "Comparison of Theraputic Effect of Topical Nigella With Betamethasone and Eucerin in Hand Eczema"
- NCBI: European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences: "Effects of Black Seed Oil on Resolution of Hepato-Renal Toxicity Induced Bybromobenzene in Rats"
- NCBI: Life Sciences: "Molecular Targeting of Akt by Thymoquinone Promotes G(1) Arrest Through Translation Inhibition of Cyclin D1 and Induces Apoptosis in Breast Cancer Cells"
- MDPI: Molecules: "Thymoquinone Induces Mitochondria-Mediated Apoptosis in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in Vitro"
- NCBI: Journal of Tropical Medicine: "A Review on the Cosmeceutical and External Applications of Nigella Sativa"
- American Botanical Council: "Nigella Sativa"