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Black seed oil (Black cumin or Kalonji) | Health Benefits

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

There are numerous benefits associated with black seed oil that have been studied including its anti-inflammatory, antipyretic (fever-reducing), anti-cancer, anti-microbial, antitussive (cough suppressant), and even contraceptive effects. Read more...


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What Is Black Seed Oil and what are its benefits?

Black seed oil is derived from Nigella sativa (also known as black seed or black cumin) and used for thousands of years for its therapeutic properties, even referenced by Hippocrates. There are numerous benefits associated with black seed oil that have been studied including its anti-inflammatory, antipyretic (fever-reducing), anti-cancer, anti-microbial, antitussive (cough suppressant), and even contraceptive effects. Many of these effects are linked to a particular component called thymoquinone.

There are studies confirming the anti-cancer activity of Black seed oil. Studies evaluating black seed oil topically and with subcutaneous injection showed benefits for skin cancer treatment. Oral administration of black seed oil was shown to benefit renal cancer and fibrosarcoma. In laboratory studies, benefits were noted against breast cancer, certain blood cancers, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

Black seed oil has been shown to have activity against bacteria, yeast, fungi, and parasites. And, it has been shown to be effective in studies for high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, asthma, convulsions, and dyslipidemia.

In Dermatology, black seed oil has been studied topically for the treatment of vitiligo, hand eczema, and atopic dermatitis, as well as for reducing the arsenic load in regions where contaminated water may lead to increased exposure. Arsenic is known to contribute to a variety of dermatologic conditions including the development of keratoses and skin cancer.



What research-backed health conditions may be helped with black seed oil?

Metabolic Syndrome is considered a cluster of conditions that increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes overall including obesity (increased abdominal waist circumference), dyslipidemia (particularly low HDL and high triglycerides), hypertension, and impaired fasting blood sugar. This study evaluated the oral administration of black seeds.

Mild hypertension showed improvement with both measures with both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure with the use of a black seed extract orally.

Lowering weight in combination with a low-calorie diet was demonstrated by integrating black seed oil into the regimen.

Dyslipidemia in a number of studies benefitted from the oral administration of black seeds. Black seed oil orally even improved Hemoglobin A1C levels amongst other benefits.

Epileptic seizure frequency reduction was noted with adjuvant black seed extract added to the routine in this study. Topical use was demonstrated to have an analgesic effect, on vitiligo, hand eczema, and oral administration for arsenic keratoses.

Extracts of black seed benefitted patients with hepatitis C and HIV by decreasing the viral load. Helicobacter pylori, related to gastric ulcers, was effectively managed with oral administration along with other therapeutics.

Oral administration of black seed oil enhanced fertility in men.

When included in the inhaler composition for asthma, benefits were noted in this study.

Oral administration of black seed oil for rheumatoid arthritis also improved patient symptoms and celiac disease and decreased the toxicity of methotrexate.

How can black seed oil help psoriasis?

For psoriasis, there are not a lot of medical studies except for a laboratory-based study on cell lines that demonstrated a potential benefit on features of psoriasis seen under the microscope.

How can black seed oil help vitiligo?

Topical administration of black seed oil decreased the size of the depigmented patches of vitiligo over 6 months of treatment along with fish oil.

How can black seed oil help atopic dermatitis?

Studies of black seed oil with regard to atopic dermatitis are fascinating. Studies have demonstrated that the breastfed babies of mothers supplementing their own diet with black seed oil have a decreased incidence of atopic dermatitis. Although one study demonstrated the benefit of black seed oil topically used to manage hand eczema, these findings were not consistently noted in other studies.

Can black seed oil promote wound healing? How?

Studies have demonstrated the benefits of black seed oil on wound healing. One study compared black seed oil, ultrasound, and a burn ointment and showed significant improvement in wound healing in all three groups. Another study demonstrated increased metabolic activity, the proliferation of cells, and viability when used in wound healing.

Is black seed oil supportive of hair health?

Although anecdotally black seed oil may benefit hair health, I could not find any studies to support this use.

Does black seed oil have anti-inflammatory properties?

There are a number of studies demonstrating the anti-inflammatory effects of thymoquinone. One, in particular, showed the ability of thymoquinone in blocking pro-inflammatory pathways.

Does black seed oil help with weight loss? Stabilize blood sugar?

Interestingly, black seed oil has been shown to have an appetite-suppressant effect that may aid in weight loss.


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