What is black seed oil good for?
What’s black seed oil?
Black seed oil is an herbal ingredient that’s been used in the treatment of a variety of illnesses for more than 2,000 years.Black seed oil is derived from the seeds of the flowering Nigella sativa plant. Some people also call the seeds black cumin or black caraway.
Black seed oil is believed to have numerous health benefits. It is available in both capsule and liquid form and can be used either orally or topically, depending on the condition you want it to help. People have used the oil as a way to help manage asthma, acne, diabetes, and more.
Benefits of Black Seed Oil
Because numerous cultures have long used Nigella sativa for so many reasons—ranging from asthma to back pain—there has been much current-day research done on the plant and its oil. The studies have shown that there are many potentially effective benefits to reap from black seed oil.
Most of the health benefits seem to come from thymoquinone, a chemical compound in the plant.
- Fights Bacteria
Some research has shown black seed oil has antimicrobial effects, meaning it can fight off harmful bacteria.
One study found that black seed oil seemed to stop or slow the activity of certain Gram-positive bacteria, which can cause infections.
Black seed oil also seemed to be effective against multi-drug resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. These bacteria tend to be hard to treat because they have developed an immunity to some antibiotics and treatments.
- High in Antioxidants
Black seed oil has antioxidant effects, largely due to a phytochemical in the oil called thymoquinone.
Thymoquinone is an antioxidant that can fight free radicals, which are unstable molecules in the body that can damage the DNA in your cells. Over time, that damage can increase your chances of developing certain diseases, including cancer.
Thymoquinone has been studied for its potential in helping to treat cancer and other diseases.
- Improves Allergy Symptoms
Some research has shown black seed oil can help relieve certain allergy symptoms.
One small study found that people who applied a topical black seed oil preparation for six weeks experienced some relief from their allergic rhinitis (hay fever) symptoms, like sneezing; an itchy or runny nose; and itchy, watery eyes.
The black seed oil seemed to be most effective for people with mild symptoms, so the benefit may vary depending on the severity of your allergies.
- May Improve Lung Function
Some research has also shown that one of the chemical compounds the plant produces, thymoquinone, can fight inflammation.
This can be particularly beneficial for conditions involving inflammation in the lungs, such as asthma. Asthma is a condition in which the airways inside the lungs become inflamed, making breathing difficult. A review of multiple studies found that black seed oil seems to help relieve the symptoms of asthma. However, many of the clinical studies are small, which suggests that more research is needed.
Another study found that a black seed oil supplement significantly improved lung function and decreased inflammation in people with another type of lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Those results suggest that black seed oil could become an additional therapy for people with this type of inflammation.
- Provides an Antifungal Effect
Research also suggests that black seed oil has antifungal properties, meaning it can slow or stop the growth of fungi organisms. This can become beneficial when treating a fungal infection in the body.
- May Help With Weight Loss
Some research suggests taking black seed oil may increase weight loss.
One review of multiple studies found that people who took a black seed supplement lost, on average, more weight than a group of people taking a placebo.Black seed is believed to suppress the appetite.
- Improves Acne and Other Skin Conditions
Due to black seed’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, the ingredient may also improve certain skin conditions and the appearance of skin, hair, and nails.
Some research suggests black seed oil can be used to treat acne as well as psoriasis and hyperpigmentation. It may also be used to help heal small wounds.
Other research found that using a topical preparation containing black seeds seems to help treat hand eczema.
Black seed oil may also help to hydrate your hair and nails when directly applied.
- May Lower Blood Pressure
Taking black seed in a powder or oil form may help slightly reduce blood pressure. Most research has shown the improvement in blood pressure is fairly small, ranging from a 2mmHg to a 11 mmHG drop in systolic and diastolic levels. There is not yet enough research to determine if black seed could help people with hypertension, or high blood pressure.
How to Take Black Seed Oil?
You can buy black seed oil supplements in liquid form or in capsules. Black seed oil in liquid form is known for its strong flavor; mixing the oil with honey or lemon can help dilute the taste.
If you want to use black seed oil with the goal of improving the appearance of your hair or nails, you can massage the oil into your skin, on your scalp, or around your nail beds. You can also buy products containing black seed extract like shampoo, hair masks, creams, oils, and soaps.