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12 Health Benefits Of This Little Black Seed (We Are Crazy About #8!)
This little black seed we are going to talk about in this article shouldn’t be confused with any other seed. We are talking about nigella sativa, commonly referred to as simply black seed. However, some people call them black caraway, Roman coriander (not plain coriander), onion seeds, or even kalonji. Occasionally people confuse black seed with chia seeds, cumin seeds or cilantro seeds. When you go to purchase black seeds — and we are certain that you will after reading this article — be sure that you are getting nigella sativa!
Black seed has a bitter, peppery flavor and smells something like oregano. These are commonly used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. Besides cooking, however, these seeds have been used since ancient times to heal the body with virtually no side effects. Black seeds have anti-ulcer, carminative, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-fungal, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antispasmodic compounds. All of that, packed into one tiny little black seed! It’s almost like Mother Nature designed her own fix-it-all pill.
The health benefits in black seeds come from three main compounds: Thymol, thymohydroquinone (THQ), and thymoquinone (TQ). Black seeds also have fiber, iron, calcium, protein, carbs, and potassium, and healthy fats. Hippocrates has called these seeds “the cure for everything but death.” He might have been on the right track, as these tiny seeds have health benefits that we are only just beginning to really understand.
Keep reading and find out the top 12 research-backed reasons you should be eating more black seeds.
1. Parkinson’s Disease
In a study published in Neuroscience Letters, an extract from black seeds, thymoquinone, was shown to protect the neurons in the brain from toxicity associated with Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
2. Post-Surgical Scar Prevention
If you have ever had surgery of any kind, you know that the scars it can leave behind are terrible. Black seed has been found to protect skin surfaces from the typical scarring or adhesion formation that occurs after surgery.
3. Helps with Hypertension
Black sees have been shown to have an anti-hypertensive effect, according to a 2008 study published in the Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology Journal. Daily use of black seed extract over the two month study period had significant blood pressure lowering effects for those subjects who had mildly high blood pressure. This might be due to the seeds’ ability to lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improve overall heart health. To reduce hypertension, ask your doctor if 100 to 200 g of black seed extract twice a day might be right for you. Never stop taking your regular medication or take any supplement without consulting your doctor.
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4. Stops Hair Loss
Black seeds’ antioxidant and antimicrobial compounds can help strengthen hair follicles, which can reduce hair loss. Black seed is also incredibly moisturizing, which encourages hair growth, gives you shiny, lustrous hair, and protects your hair from the damaging rays of the sun. With its anti-fungal compounds, black seed can also stop dandruff or other infections that may cause hair loss. Mix equal parts of black seed oil and olive oil or jojoba oil and warm for a few minutes. Rub this mixture into your scalp and hair. Allow it to sit for 15 to 30 minutes, then shampoo as you normally would. You can also add 10 to 15 drops of black seed oil in your shampoo or conditioner to give your hair luster and shine.
5. Controls Diabetes
One study published in the 2010 issue of the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology showed that subjects who consumed two grams of black seed daily were able to better control their blood sugar levels. Regular consumption of these tiny seeds can reduce fasting blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, not to mention increase the beta-cell function of the pancreas. You can also help prevent diabetes by consuming these seeds, or an extract, each day.
6. Improves Memory
Give your brain and your memory a real boost by consuming black seeds. Since they have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, black seeds can improve your memory and protect your noggin from real damage. The Journal of Ethnopharmacology published a study in 2013 showing that subjects who consumed two 500 mg supplements that contained pure, ground black seed had significant improvements in their memory, cognition, and attention span compared to those who took the placebo.
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7. Heals Eczema
Eczema is perhaps one of the most difficult skin problems to treat. If you have tried several methods, but have yet to find a solution to your eczema problem, try black seed. The oil from black seed is a non-greasy film that can protect your skin from flare-ups. Black seed oil has anti-inflammatory compounds that can go a long way toward reducing redness and other symptoms of eczema. The Journal of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology published a study in 2013 showing that black seed oil had tremendous therapeutic effects and decreased the severity of eczema in subjects who had eczema on their hands. Apply black seed oil to affected areas twice each day to treat eczema.
8. Stops Cancer Cells
Black seed and its extracts have been shown to be quite effective in reducing the risk of developing several types of cancer. One study, published in 2012 in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology, showed that the thymoquinone found in black seeds had the potential to cure cancer and other inflammatory problems.
In cases of cervical cancer, extracts of thymoquinone triggered cell death or slowed the progression of cancer cells and inhibited the spread of cancer.
Another study involving rats showed that black seed killed colon cancer cells in these animals with no side effects.
A few studies have shown that a thymoquinone extract from black seed reduced the growth of breast cancer cells and caused cell death. Another study published in the online journal PLoS One showed that this same extract induced cell death in glioblastoma, the most aggressive of all brain cancer cells.
There have also been studies which have shown that the same extract from black seeds induced cell death in leukemia cells.
No matter how you look at it, black seed kicks cancer’s butt and might even prevent cancer from forming in the first place.
9. Improves The Complexion
Regular use of black seed oil can greatly improve the complexion of the skin. It inhibits the production of melanin, which can protect the skin from the damaging UV rays of the sun. Also, since this oil has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and moisturizing compounds, it can help stop redness, pimples, regenerate the skin, and fight the free radicals that cause premature skin aging.
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10. Improves Digestion And Bowel Health
If you suffer from stomach or digestive problems such as gas, colic, constipation, colic, or diarrhea, black seed can help. A study published in the PLoS One journal in 2012 showed that a black seed extract helped mice who had allergic diarrhea. Simply add a teaspoon of ground black seed powder to one cup (eight ounces) of plain yogurt, and eat two servings daily until your condition improves.
11. Treats Asthma
The oil from black seeds has potent anti-asthmatic effects on the airways, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Phytomedicine. The compounds in black seed can help to reduce the intensity of asthma attacks as well as encourage recovery. Thymoquinone helps to reduce inflammation and inhibits the production of mucus. Black seed is also great for reducing sinusitis, tonsillitis, and soothing sore throats. Add a few drops of black seed oil to a pan with some hot water and inhale the steam for five full minutes. Repeat as often as needed for the relief of symptoms.
12. Improves And Supports The Liver
When your liver is working in top-notch condition, it removes toxins from the body. A study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences in 2013 showed that black seed oil improved the function of both the liver and the kidneys.
Limit your intake of black seed to three teaspoons each day. If you are taking any prescription medications, always consult your doctor before consuming any herbal product, including black seeds.