While many tout the health benefits of black seed oil, not many know about its origin and history. Essentially, the oil is extracted from the seeds of a native plant of southwest Asia, Nigella Sativa. Also known as Black Cumin Seed oil, it has been in use since times immemorial as it helps combat several illnesses and boost immune function.
In this article, we will read about the origin of this magical oil as well as look at its various health benefits.
History of Black Seed Oil
Nigella Sativa is an annual flowering plant that belongs to the family of Ranunculaceae. The plant is native to eastern Europe and western Asia. The flowers of this plant are delicate and pale blue and white in color. Its leaves are tall, linear, and finely divided.
Sometimes, the Nigella Sativa is also referred to as Black Seed or Black Caraway Seed. However, it must be noted that the plant is not a relative of caraway or cumin. The seeds of the plant contain a high number of antioxidants that enable it to survive even in extreme temperatures and sun exposure. That is why it also grows as a wild plant in areas of northern Africa and the Middle East.
Black seed oil or Kalonji oil derived from the Nigella Sativa is well-known for its amazing health benefits. According to reports, the use of the plant dates back to 1650 B.C. where its seeds were found mixed with propolis and honey at a prehistoric site in Turkey. These seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, the Egyptian emperor. Traces of Nigella Sativa seeds were also found in a primeval site of a Roman settlement close to the Rhine River in Germany.
The agriculture and processing of the Nigella Sativa seeds are also talked about in the Book of Isaiah or Hebrew Bible.
Noteworthy Health Benefits of Black Seed Oil
The oil is known to contain a magical ingredient, thymoquinone. This ingredient exhibits anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, and hepatoprotective properties.
Some of the most noteworthy health benefits of black cumin seed oil are as follows:
Several studies claim that black seed oil may help rheumatoid arthritis. Taking capsules of oil every day helps reduce inflammation in the body. It promotes joint health and alleviates other arthritis symptoms.
It is also found beneficial for nasal inflammation and nasal allergies. According to a study, the oil helped reduce distressing symptoms like nasal congestion, sneezing, and runny nose in about two weeks. Besides, some medical studies also claim that black seed oil can help sinusitis due to its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antihistaminic properties.
The anti-inflammatory effects of this oil also extend to improving the aggravating symptoms of asthma. It helps to decrease inflammation in the airways and ease the condition. Besides, black seed oil may also help with bronchitis symptoms.
Research on the anti-inflammatory properties of the oil indicates that it may be very beneficial for acne and psoriasis. Although there are no clinical studies to back this, many people use it topically for a variety of skin conditions and promote skin longevity.
Black seed oil is also shown to reduce high cholesterol. It is high in healthy fats such as linoleic acid and oleic acid that help maintain improved cholesterol levels. It must be noted that the levels of these acids in the oil may vary, depending on where the black seeds are grown.
Is Black Seed Oil Safe?
It is safe for use in most cases. It helps to boost the immune system and even promote healthy liver function.
In some cases, it may meddle with the effect of prescription medications that one may be taking. So, if you are taking any medications or any supplements, it is advisable to talk to your doctor before incorporating the oil into your regime.
Also, sometimes the topical application of black seed oil may cause an allergic reaction. It is advisable to perform a patch test before applying the oil to a larger skin area.