Nigella Sativa – the blessed seed- has been said to cure everything: cancer, bacteria, viruses, ulcers, diabetes, chronic inflammation, liver & pancreatic disease, fungus, molds and deadly parasites. Middle Eastern and North African cultures use them for thousands of years – for they, the black seeds is nothing short of a miracle all-healing remedy. Hundreds of medical studies demonstrate that there is, indeed, fire under the smoke, and that Nigella Sativa should be researched very seriously.
Its efficacy in healing cancer is proved by its active ingredients, thymoquinone, which has been effective in reducing the size of existing tumors. But besides cancer, the seeds and the oil have proved to heal many other conditions. Ian Clark, Founder of Activation Products, lists the following properties of black cumin (black seeds):
- Inhibits tumor growth by up to 50 percent
- Increases the growth of healthy bone marrow cells by 250 percent
- Increases the number of antibody producing B cells within us.
- Aids in the production of natural interferon
- It’s a gluconeogenesis inhibitor (anti-diabetic)
- Has hepato-protective properties (liver protecting)
- Demonstrates strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
- Helps to protect the body against damage from chemotherapy and radiation
- Protects normal cells from the damaging effects of harmful invaders (like HIV) and thus fights infectious disease
- Nourishes the skin and helps in the regeneration of damaged cells
- Prevents development of inflammatory processes in the cardiovascular system
- Helps fortify and increase the elasticity of blood vessel walls
- Helps relieve backache, arthritis and rheumatism
- Stimulates urine production
- Improves respiratory problems/symptoms (has bronchodilator properties)
- Prevents epileptic seizures
- Improves hair growth and even prevents poliosis (early graying)
- Increases flow of breast milk in nursing mothers
- Stimulates menstrual periods
• A complete book, Immune Restoration Handbook, highly recommended, a book meant to answer all questions, a self-help guide on how to strengthen, balance and rebuild the immune system. It addresses both patients and doctors, offers a parallel between conventional and alternative treatment, teaches us how to understand our diseases, our immune system and how to take care of ourselves. And what’s most important, it has been written based on thousands of real cases, which are exposed and explained.
Why are they that good?
As much as the science can say, the seeds contain over 100 chemical compounds and some of the ingredients are yet to be discovered and identified.
The chemical composition of the Nigella sativa seed contains amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, fixed and volatile oils, alkaloids, saponins and many other compounds. Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) screening of the oil samples showed the presence of four main components, viz. thymoquinone (TQ),carvacrol, tanethole and 4-terpineol.
It also contains proteins, monosaccharides in form of glucose, rhamnose, xylose, and arabinose.; fatty acids especially linoleic acid and oleic acid, carotene and minerals like: calcium, iron, copper, potassium, phosphorous. A high content of phytosterols, necessary to the human body for natural production of hormones, pro-vitamin D and bile acid, aiding in a prevention of endocrine disorders, immune deficiency and the cardiovascular disease.
The seed oil contains crystalline nigellone, beta sitosterol, thymoquinone, myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, palmitoleic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, proteins and vitamins B1, B2 and B3.
The study “Immunomodulatory and therapeutic properties of the Nigella sativa L. seed”, by Mohamed Labib Salem, from the Department of Surgery, Section of Surgical Oncology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, United States, a document published on Academia.edu and available for download, describes in detail the already researched properties of Nigella Sativa, especially the immunomodulatory and immunotherapeutic potentials for the crude oil of Nigella Sativa seeds and its active ingredients.
Black seeds are very good friends of the skin. It is believed that Cleopatra herself was using them to sustain her beauty. Today, science say that this is possible due to the black seeds’ componenets like: vitamins A, B, and C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and trace elements perfect for a skin recovery. Which is why we will find theses seeds in the pharmacological and beauty industry.
Psoriasis – an autoimmune condition causing abnormal proliferation of the epidermal layer of skin, with scaly pink plaques appearing over the body, sore, itchy and embarrassing. NIgella sativa can regulate the immune cells of the body and enhance the body’s ability to deal with abnormal cell proliferation. Recently a lab study sustained the seeds’ anti-psoriatic activity and concluded that the external application is beneficial in the management of psoriasis.
Eczema – or skin inflammation with itchy, red, patches that can weep and crust, that usually appear around joints. The conventional treatment includes moisturizers and steroid creams. In severe cases systemic immunosuppression is needed. Applied externally, black seeds help a lot in reducing them.
A clinical trial revealed that black seed oil and Betamethasone have the same effect on skin. The difference is done by the lack of side effects if we use the natural seeds.
Fungal infections – Nigella Sativa has anti-fungal effects against the common skin fungal infectious organisms which cause conditions like: fungal nail infections, athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm.
Acne – due to his anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, the seed oil can reduce the symptoms of acne, repair and regenerate the skin. Also, due to its anti-histamine factor, the oil is also used to treat skin conditions related to allergy.
Black seed oil has fantastic emollient properties, forming a non-greasy film and providing nutritive factors the skin needs. A clinical trial which compared the effects of Nigella sativa oil applied twice daily compared to a conventional steroid cream (Betamethasone) for hand eczema found both to be equally effective in reducing symptoms.The clear benefit of black seed oil over steroid use is its lack of side effects.
Diabetes and glucose intolerance
N. sativa is of great therapeutic benefit in diabetic individuals and those with glucose intolerance, as it accentuates glucose-induced secretion of insulin, besides having a negative impact on glucose absorption from the intestinal mucosa. In fact, Nigella sativa attenuates the damage to β-cells of the pancreas following exposure to toxic elements such as cadmium.¹ Similarly, Nigella Sativa administration attenuates the ulcerative effects of ethanol on gastric mucosa by decreasing the glutathione-S transferase levels in gastric mucosa.²
N. sativa administration protects hepatic tissue from deleterious effects of toxic metals such as lead and attenuates hepatic lipid peroxidation following exposure to chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride.³
The omega 6 & 9 acids and phytosterols contained in Nigella Sativa help fortify and increase the elasticity of blood vessel walls, decrease capillary fragility and permeability, prevent thrombus formation, and decrease arterial pressure.
Black cumin helps in the decrease of blood cholesterol, prevents the formation of atherosclerotic plaque, and the development of inflammatory elements in the overall cardiovascular system. Additionally, black cumin has been used for tachycardia, bradycardia, hypotension, hypertension, as well as other various heart diseases.
In 1992, at the Medical Department of the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh, a research was carried out on the antibacterial properties of black cumin in comparison with strong antibiotics. Black cumin oil to be a MORE EFFICIENT remedy against certain types of bacteria, including the most resist.
The seeds proved to be more useful that the triple eradication therapy in treating Helicobacter Pylori Infection, and on methicillin resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.
The protective effects of TQ against Gentamicin (GM)-induced nephrotoxicity have been investigated by Sayed-Ahmed and co-worker in their 2007 book “Thymoquinone supplementation prevents the development of gentamicin-induced acute renal toxicity in rats.” The results showed “significant decrease in reduced glutathione (GSH) and increased levels of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), catalase and ATP and a complete reversal of the GM-induced increase in blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and total nitrate/nitrite (NOx) and decrease in GSH, GPx, CAT and ATP to control values. Histopathological examination of kidney tissues confirmed the biochemical data wherein TQ supplementation prevents GM-induced degenerative changes in kidney tissues, suggesting that these effects, at least in part, may be related to the ability of TQ to modulate cellular oxidative stress”. For the people that understand the language.
Black seeds were traditionally known to have anticonvulsive properties. A 2007 study with epileptic children, whose condition was refractory to conventional drug treatment, found that a water extract significantly reduced seizure activity.
In 2010, another study was done where thymoquinone was administered to children with epilepsy. From this study, it was concluded that thymoquinone has anti-epileptic effects in children with refractory seizures.4
In 2010, Nestlé, the Switzerland-based global food giant, filed a patent on the use of Nigella Sativa to “prevent food allergies” (Nestlé’s international patent publication WO2010133574). This obvious attempt to appropriate traditional knowledge and use claimed the plant seed or extract, should be Nestlé’s intellectual property when used as a food ingredient or drug. Cite from Third World Network Briefing Paper, July 2012:
“The Swiss giant’s claims appear invalid, as traditional uses of Nigella sativa clearly anticipate Nestlé’s patent application, and developing country scholarship has already validated these traditional uses and further described, in contemporary scientific terms, the very medicinal properties of black seed that Nestlé seeks to claim as its own invention.
Nestlé claims any use of an opioid receptor-stimulating compound to treat or prevent allergies, specifically thymoquinone and, more specifically, administration of thymoquinone in the form of Nigella sativa plant material (seeds).3 The type of food allergy of greatest focus is upset stomach and diarrhea.”
By now they were not approved and this food/medicine is still freely available. But this clearly demonstrates that the huge potential of the seeds have been discovered by them, and like any other Giant of the Commerce, Nestle intends to make a lot of money from the seeds.
How to take Nigella Sativa
Externally, the seeds can be grounded to powder, mixed with a little flour as a binder, and applied directly to abscesses, nasal ulcers, orchitis, and rheumatism. Or, more simply, use the oil.
Internally, combine 1 teaspoon of oil with 1 teaspoon of raw honey (or freshly squeezed juice) and take them 3 times per day. One with half an hour before breakfast, one in the afternoon and one just before bedtime.
If you are healthy and you like to stay like that for a veeery long time, simply use the seeds in your food. Here are some suggestions:
- Black Seed Tea is very common in Egypt. Simply boil the black seed and water,
- Black Seed bread is very common in Africa. Add 2 Tbsp of black seed in the dough and bake the bread.
- Black seeds are very easy to sprout and germinate. Throw the seeds in soil. Water for few days and you will see beautiful shoots that will produce purple flowers. Micro greens can be added to salad.
- Black seed can be used in salad. Mix a 1 tsp of seeds in your salad dressing or throw 1 or 2 tsp of seeds in salad.
- Roast the Black seeds in a pan and munch them. Seeds are aromatic with slightly peppery taste.
- Powder the black seeds in a spice blender and eat them with honey
- Sprinkle the Black Seeds in your yogurt bowl.
- Use them in curry with other spices
The seeds/oil have antiinflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, antimicrobial and antineoplastic activity. The seeds are antihistaminic, antihypertensive, hypoglycemic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and have significant anti-neoplastic activities. Also used as diuretics, muscle-relaxants and immunity enhancers in immune-compromised people.
Take supplements with black seed if you are under any conventional treatment. It will protect your body of their toxicity and bad side effects.
Be careful if you are pregnant. They stimulate uterine contractions when used in large amounts, leading to abortion.
¹ Meddah, B., R. Ducroc, M. El Abbes Faouzi, B. Eto, L. Mahraoui, A. Benhaddou-Andaloussi, L.C. Martineau , Y. Cherrah and P.S. Haddad, 2009. Nigella sativa inhibits intestinal glucose absorption and improves glucose tolerance in rats. J. Ethnopharmacol., 121: 419-424.
² Demir, H., M. Kanter, O. Coskun, Y.H. Uz, A. Koc and A. Yildiz, 2006. Effect of black cumin (Nigella sativa) on heart rate, some hematological values and pancreatic beta-cell damage in cadmium-treated rats. Biol. Trace. Elem. Res., 110:151-162.
³ Uz, E., O. Bayrak, E. Uz, A. Kaya, R. Bayrak, B. Uz, F.H. Turgut, N. Bavbek, M. Kanbay and A. Akcay, 2008. Nigella sativa oil for prevention of chronic cyclosporine nephrotoxicity: an experimental model. Am. J. Nephrol., 28: 517-522.
Farrag, A.R., K.A. Mahdy, G.H. Abdel Rahman and M.M. Osfor , 2007. Protective effect of Nigella sativa seeds against lead-induced hepatorenal damage in male rats. Pak. J. Biol. Sci., 10: 2809-2816.
4 Ola M Omran. Effects of Thymoquinone on STZ-induced Diabetic Nephropathy: An Immunohistochemical Study. Ultrastruct Pathol. 2013 Oct 17.
– Therapeutic Role of Prophetic Medicine Habbat El Baraka (Nigella sativa L.) – A Review, by Mohammad Yaheya Mohammad Ismail, Dept. of Pharmacy, Higher College of Technology, P.O. Box 74 PC 133, Sultanate of Oman, published by World Applied Sciences Journal 7 (9): 1203-1208, 2009