You may already be familiar with castor oil, hemp seed oil, coconut oil, red palm oil and many other oils currently on the market. However, one of the most widely used oils today with great medicinal properties is Nigella Sativa or more commonly known as black cumin. This plant is native to southern Europe, northern Africa and southwest Asia and its use can be traced all the way back to King Tut. In old Latin, it is called “panacea” which translates to “cure all.” The shrub of this plant produces fruits that have tiny black seeds that can be pressed to extract the oil. Its medicinal properties stem from the presence of thymoquinone—one of the major active chemical components of the essential oil. Thymoquinone is believed to have a wide range of medical applications and benefits we’ll discuss below. This plant has become one of the top-ranked, evidence-based herbal medicines to date, and there have been over 600 scientific, peer-reviewed articles published about black seed oil benefits.
Benefits of black seed oil to consider:
- Supports liver health and helps protect the liver
- May have anti-cancer properties
- Contains protein, carbohydrates, fiber, minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc and iron as well as both fixed oils (fatty acids) and volatile oils
- May help treat a variety of common health conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, bronchitis and asthma
- May be helpful in treating against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
- It may help increase milk production in nursing mothers
- May act as an appetite stimulant
- May help to boost the immune system
- Rich Source of Essential Fatty Acids
What to look for when choosing a black seed oil
- Extraction: the method by which the oil is expressed or extracted from the seeds matters! Slow, cold-pressed means that no heat is used during the extraction process. High temperatures may cause rancidity or cause some of the more volatile oils to evaporate. Avoid any oils that use chemical extraction.
- Purity: the product should be 100% pure Nigella Sativa oil and not filled with additives.
- Storage: look for oil that is stored in a dark, glass bottle that will protect it from both air and light.
- Quality: Look for unrefined vs. refined oil and make sure it’s organic!
Other important tips about black seed oil
- Make sure to store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
- It can be used as a spice or preservative! In fact, the seeds have been added to many Persian foods including bread, pickles, sauces and salads.
- Do not confuse it with black cohosh, cumin, curcumin or nutmeg.
- Supplements made from black seeds are usually made up of the basic seed extract in either a crushed powder or oil form.
Homemade black cumin seed salad dressing:
- ½ cup black seed oil
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 2 fresh chopped garlic cloves
- ½ tsp. Ginger root
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Instructions: Combine all the ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and mix/shake until blended together.