Black Cumin (Nigella Sativa) huge benefits

Since ancient times, humans have been using plants for various purposes. Edible plants are abundant sources of essential nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy. Some plants also contain unique flavor compounds that can enhance the taste of our meals.

Many plants, according to studies, are also rich in chemicals with health-supporting properties that make them wonderful natural remedies. These properties also make them the perfect ingredients for personal care products.

And even when they’re not consumable, many plants bear attractive flowers that can brighten up any space inside or outside your home. Some even emit distinct, pleasant scents that can help you relax and sleep well or naturally elevate your mood.

Among the most versatile plants known to man, the Nigella sativa plant is one that can boast having most, if not all, of the abovementioned qualities. A member of the Buttercup family, this annual flowering plant is often grown as an ornamental because of its eye-catching blue or white flowers.

But cultivation of this useful plant – considered by researchers to be one of the most significant medicinal plants in history – is usually centered on its edible seeds, which are used as a spice in Indian, South Asian, North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. [1]

The raw seeds of N. sativa, also known as black caraway, Roman coriander, kalonji or black cumin seeds, are said to have a pungent, bitter taste and smell, which is why they are typically toasted in oil or dry-roasted to give them a nuttier flavor.

In North Africa and the Middle East, toasted black cumin seeds are used to flavor meats and vegetable dishes, while in India, they are commonly added to curries, chutneys, biryanis and kebabs. They are also used to make confectionery and liquors.

Black cumin seeds are easy to incorporate into recipes and can be added to breads and cheeses or sprinkled over stir-fries and salads. [2] Despite their small size, black cumin seeds contain an abundance of essential nutrients and beneficial phytonutrients. And with their long history of use as a natural remedy, black cumin seeds are an excellent superfood whose health benefits you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
Backed by history and science: The remarkable health benefits of Black Cumin Seeds

According to research, traditional healers first began using black cumin seeds to address minor health issues more than 2,500 years ago. In fact, black cumin seeds were mentioned in ancient Greek medical literature and were said to have been used by ancient Egyptian healers as well. Archaeologists even found black cumin seeds in the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, suggesting their importance in ancient Egypt. [3]

References to black cumin seeds can also be found in the Old Testament of the Bible, specifically in the book of Isaiah. In “The Encyclopedia of Medicine,” a book written by preeminent Muslim philosopher and physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna).

Even well-known ancient Greek physicians like Hippocrates and Dioscorides recorded plenty of uses for black cumin seeds, noting that they are great for relieving minor body aches. Meanwhile in the Muslim world, the Prophet Muhammad was said to have promoted the use of black cumin seeds, which he described as “a remedy for all ailments.”

So what is it about black cumin seeds that make them worthy of such praise?

According to an analysis of the chemical composition of black cumin seeds, they contain 26% protein, 25% carbohydrates, 8.4% crude fiber and up to 2.5% essential oil. Like the raw seeds from which they are extracted, black cumin seed oil has found use as a flavoring for food, a dietary supplement and a natural remedy for a variety of health issues. [4]

In addition to the abovementioned macronutrients, black cumin seeds also contain healthy unsaturated fatty acids, such as the omega-9, oleic acid; the omega-6, linoleic acid; and a rare omega-6 fatty acid called eicosadienoic acid. Found primarily in human milk, eicosadienoic acid is the direct precursor of dihomo-y-linolenic acid (DGLA), an important component of brain cell membranes. DGLA is also necessary for maintaining healthy nerve blood flow. [5]

Aside from healthy fats, black cumin seeds carry decent amounts of essential minerals, such as calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus and zinc. They also contain all nine essential amino acids (i.e., histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine) your body needs but can’t produce on its own, making black cumin seeds a complete source of protein. [6]

Black cumin seeds and their oil are also overflowing with health-supporting phytonutrients. The seeds have been found to contain two forms of alkaloids: isoquinoline alkaloids, which are known for their potent antioxidant activities, and pyrazole alkaloids, which are known for their ability to support a healthy immune system. [7][8]

Meanwhile, black cumin seed oil has been reported to contain plenty of bioactive components, such as nigellone, nigellidine, nigellicine, thymoquinone (TQ), thymohydroquinone (THQ), dithymoquinone, thymol, carvacrol, a-hederin, a- and B-pinene, d-limonene, d-citronellol, p-cymene, t-anethole, 4-terpineol and longifolene. Most of the health benefits of black cumin seed oil are attributed by studies to TQ, THQ, carvacrol, nigellidine, nigellicine and a-hederin. [9]

Thanks to their abundance of essential nutrients and beneficial phytonutrients, black cumin seeds and seed oil, when consumed regularly, can provide invaluable support for the following:*

A healthy cardiovascular system

According to studies, the omega fatty acids in black cumin seed oil (linoleic and oleic acids) can support optimal cardiovascular health by helping you maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range. [10][11] Studies have also found that a diet rich in linoleic acid and oleic acid can support healthy blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range. [12][13]

A healthy digestive system

According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, black cumin seed oil can help you maintain a healthy digestive system by supporting your body’s natural production of gastric mucin. [14] A large protein that serves as part of your intestinal barrier, mucin helps protect the inner lining of your small intestine against the damaging actions of digestive enzymes, abrasion by food articles, and other threats. [15]

A healthy immune system

Black cumin seeds and seed oil are known for providing reliable immune support. According to a study published in the journal Cardiovascular & Hematological Disorders – Drug Targets, the TQ in black cumin seeds is behind their immune benefits. [16] [17] A study published in the journal Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology also reported that TQ in black cumin seed oil can support your body’s natural production of immune-regulating proteins. [18]

Healthy liver and pancreatic functions

Your liver and pancreas can also enjoy considerable benefits when you incorporate black cumin seed oil into your daily routine. According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, the oleic acid in black cumin seeds can support the healthy functions of your liver and pancreas. [19] This is corroborated by a study published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, which reported that oleic acid can protect the liver from oxidative damage by supporting healthy autophagy – your body’s cellular recycling system. [20]

Meanwhile, the oleic acid in black cumin seeds is said to benefit the pancreas by supporting the healthy functions of pancreatic beta cells, your body’s primary source of insulin. [21]

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Your body’s natural antioxidant defenses

As a rich source of potent antioxidants, such as alkaloids, phenols, flavonoids, saponins and plant sterols, black cumin seeds and seed oil are well-equipped to support your body’s natural antioxidant defenses. According to a study published in the Journal of Food Quality, alkaloids and phenols can protect your cells from oxidative stress by acting as free radical scavengers; in fact, this is how they contribute to the antioxidant effects of maca root, one of the best superfoods at supporting optimal overall health and wellness. [22]

Black cumin seed oil also contains high amounts of vitamin E, one of the most potent antioxidants in the human diet, in the form of tocotrienols and gamma-tocopherols. [23] Vitamin E plays a crucial role in keeping your cells and their components intact by protecting the lipids in cell membranes from oxidative damage. [24]

A study published in the journal Free Radical Research also reported that TQ in black cumin seed oil can provide additional antioxidant support through its interaction with the “master antioxidant” glutathione, which results in the formation of glutathionyl-dihydrothymoquinone. [25] Exhibiting higher antioxidant activity than thymoquinone, this compound has a greater potential for scavenging free radicals and supporting strong antioxidant defenses.

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Healthy, glowing skin and hair

Because they are chock-full of powerful antioxidants, black cumin seeds can help you maintain healthy hair and skin. Antioxidants can protect not just your skin cells, but also your scalp and hair follicles, from oxidative damage. [26] Meanwhile, the B vitamins in black cumin seeds can also contribute to the optimal health of your skin by supporting the growth, development and healthy functioning of all your cells. [27]

Healthy muscle recovery after exercise

If you live an active lifestyle, you’ll be pleased to know what black cumin seeds and seed oil can do for you. According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, physically active individuals will do well to increase their intake of arachidonic acid, a chemical messenger released by your muscles during exercise, because it can support healthy muscle recovery after strenuous physical exertion. [28]

Not only do black cumin seeds naturally contain arachidonic acid, they are also a good source of eicosadienoic acid and linoleic acid, both of which can be used by the body to produce arachidonic acid. This means that supplementing with black cumin seed oil can do wonders for athletes and people with active lifestyles.

Sensible weight management plans

Research confirms that black cumin seed oil is an excellent tool for supporting reasonable weight management plans. As reported by a study published in the journal Food & Nutrition, black cumin seed oil can help you achieve sensible weight management goals when combined with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. [29]

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