Black Seed, The Remedy For Everything?
Nigella sativa (known as black seed or cumin) kills up to 89% of human lung cancer cells. Nigella sativa is a powerful herb used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese, Ayruvedic, Unani and Arabic medicine. Its potent, anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant properties, also has been used to suppress coughs and treat kidney stones, diarrhea and stomach pain. Black seed taken daily can reduce insulin resistance, helping type two diabetes. Thymoquinone, one of the main active constituents with Nigella sativa is superior to the drug fluticasone for asthma and can protect brain tissue from radiation- induced nitrosative stress.
Black cumin seeds (Nigella sativa) have been used therapeutically for over 3,300 years, since their first reported discovery in Egyptian Pharoah Tutankhamun’s tomb. There have been reports of these “magical” seeds used throughout history in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and India, for everything from minor headaches and skin irritations to serious infections and illnesses. Black cumin seed is regarded throughout the entire Middle East as one of the most powerful anti-carcinogenic herbs ever in existence, and is mentioned in the Quran as being able to “remedy everything except death
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) says deeply pigmented black foods are recommended for any and all disorders of the ‘kidney’ meridian. Eating black seeds, grains, and beans brings vitality, energy, and reproductive health back into the body, especially for one who is chronically ill or fatigued. This is because in TCM, kidney meridian health determines not only your own Qi (vital life force and defense against chronic illness/effects of aging), but also determines the strength of the congenital Qi you pass on to your children. Your kidney meridian stores what is called “essential Qi,” which fuels human growth – it is what makes up our sheer vitality and ability to thrive. The more damage the kidney meridian experiences, the more that vital energy is depleted, which is when problems with growth, fatigue, pain, and reproductive ability arise. Someone with an exceptionally healthy kidney meridian would have excellent bone structure, bone marrow and teeth structure with relatively minimal breaks or tooth issues. They would also have a full, thick head of hair that does not recede too early in life. On the other hand, weak bones/early signs of osteoporosis, hair loss, and hearing loss (since kidneys open into the hair and ears) would indicate weaker kidneys.
What Does Black Cumin Remedy?
Black seed oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties and significantly inhibited pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-6, which is implicated in cancer, diabetes, and acne (1).
ANXIETY & DEPRESSION
Black Cumin seeds have been shown to stabilize mood, decrease anxiety and improve cognition in adolescent human males (2). The active plant compound, thymoquinone, also exerts anti-anxiety properties in mice (3) and appears to do so by decreasing over activity of the nervous system and increasing the calming neurotransmitter GABA (4 and 4.5).
BRAIN HEALTH & COGNITION
Significant weight loss was seen in studies involving men with obesity. They also experienced a reduction in appetite (9).
Black Cumin seed appears to have anti-ulcer properties by inhibiting the ulcer-causing bacteria H. pylori (10). It has significantly reduced the severity of intestinal damage in rats with colitis (11) and scientists are looking into trials with human subjects.
INFECTIONS, PARASITES & SUPERBUGS
Black Cumin seed extract not only inhibited the growth of classic Staphylococcus aureus (12), it was also effective against clinical isolates of antibiotic-resistant MRSA (13). As mentioned in terms of ulcers, the seeds have anti H. pylori activity (14) and were able to prevent different strains of bacteria from forming a protective biofilm (that allows them to hide from antibiotics) (15). Black Cumin seeds are also effective against Schistosoma mansoni, miracidia, cercariae, and adult worms (16). Externally, black cumin oil can prevent the spread of infections on the skin.
The two active plant chemicals in black cumin (Thymohydroquinone and Thymoquinone) possess anti-yeast activity (17), and alcohol extracts were even able to inhibit Candida Albicans (18). In rats, Black Cumin oil is effective in protection against mold toxicity (aflatoxicosis) (19).
Black Cumin oil has effective anti-histamine activity and may therefore be of great help in mast cell disorders, histamine intolerance, allergies and asthma (20).
Black Cumin seed and its plant chemical constituents show great potential in the control of cancer via inactivation and activation of phase I and II detox genes (21). It has shown potent inhibitory effects on rat tumor development and cell proliferation (22) and induces death in stomach cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo (23). Thymoquinone was effective in treating liver cancer in rats (24) and even shows promise in liver cancers caused by chemicals and toxicity (25). A study published in “Oncology Letters” in 2010 found that two daily doses of crude extra-virgin black seed oil inhibited the growth of cancer tumors in the colon, lungs, esophagus and fore-stomach in rats (26).
HEART DISEASE & CHOLESTEROL
Seed powder administered to people with high cholesterol was found to reduce the total cholesterol and triglycerides (27) and even reduced the hardening of arteries that often comes with these disorders (28). Black Cumin and Garlic used together were effective in total correction of high cholesterol (29
ASTHMA & RESPIRATORY HEALTH
A boiled extract of the seeds was able to significantly improve all asthmatic symptoms in one study (30) and improved respiratory function in chemical war victims in another (31). In seasonal allergies (rhinitis), black cumin oil reduced symptoms such as itching, running nose, sneezing and congestion (32).
One of the oldest traditional uses for black seed oil is the treatment/management of diabetes. An extract of the seed was able to increase insulin release in diabetic rodents (32) and has significant anti-diabetic activity thanks to the activation of AMPK (33).
PAIN & ARTHRITIS
Black Cumin seeds have analgesic properties in mice (34) and has been highly effective in rheumatoid arthritis (35). Significant reductions in joint pain and swelling as well as morning stiffness were noted in the arthritis study.
Black Cumin oil is effective in the treatment of various skin eruptions (36), including eczema and boils (37). The alcohol extract of nigella sativa seeds exhibit anti-psoriatic activity, consistent with its medicinal use in traditional medicine (38).
INCREASES MILK SUPPLY IN MOTHERS
Traditionally, black seed was used to help increase milk production during breastfeeding in nursing mothers. It is now scientifically proven that black cumin seeds stimulate milk production in rats (43).
How To Consume:
Black seed oil is the most common form to consume, because of its concentration and easy assimilation. Most practitioners recommend taking 1/2 teaspoon of the oil 2-3 times per day for therapeutic effects. This can be taken on an empty stomach, before meals and at bedtime. It can also be taken once per day for a healthy maintenance dose or as a preventative measure.
Black cumin seeds are small. They can be used to make tea by simply pouring hot water over the seeds and letting the brew steep for 10 minutes, about a tablespoon makes a nice cup of tea, but it is better to keep the cup covered until ready to drink so as to prevent the aroma from escaping. Some people add a few seeds to their favorite tea or coffee and allow their imaginations to conjure up images of camels and nomads. The seeds can also be added to casseroles or breads, used in canning, or extracted in wine or vinegar. Some people grind the seeds and mix them with honey or sprinkle them on salads. They make a nice addition to salad dressings and even stir fry dishes, especially when combined with lemon, cilantro, and tahini
Black Cumin seed is not to be taken during pregnancy, since it can cause abortion. Black Cumin seed is also shown to lower blood sugar levels, therefore a diabetic patient is advised to consult a physician before using so that medication may be adjusted.