Black cumin seed is derived from the Nigella sativa plant, a small flowering shrub native to Eastern Europe, western Asia and the Middle East. While they may not look like much, these tiny black seeds have been used in medicinal remedies for thousands of years to treat a wide range of health conditions, including certain immune and inflammatory disorders. Nowadays, this seed is often found in the form of oil and is growing to be a popular health food due to its fantastic benefits and synergistic effects.
Black seed oil is on the rise
Black cumin seed (and its oil form) harbor incredibly diverse benefits, ranging from reducing inflammation, helping in weight loss, strengthening the immune system and even lowering blood pressure. In fact, a recent paper published in the Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences found that black seed oil exhibited a wide array of positive effects on obese mice.
To test the efficacy of black cumin seed on the blood pressure of obese mice, researchers from the US, Italy and Israel fed a high-fat diet to a group of male mice over the course of 20 weeks.
The mice were divided into three groups of five animals each. The first group was the “lean” and the second was the high-fat diet (HFD) group. The third group consisted of mice fed HFD and then supplemented with doses of black seed oil for the final eight weeks. The researchers analyzed antioxidant biomarkers, inflammatory biomarkers, hepatic steatosis, mitochondrial biogenesis and tissue fat accumulation.
The researchers observed that the HFD with black seed oil group exhibited lower blood pressure and lower fasting glucose compared to the regular HFD group. The treatment of black seed oil was also shown to improve metabolic function and liver health, as seen through the reduced risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The researchers concluded that their findings could open a path to new therapeutic approaches to treat obesity-related diseases
Other fantastic benefits of black seed oil
Black seed oil has shown promise in treating a variety of common health conditions such as high blood pressure and even asthma. Here is a list of the various health benefits you can enjoy if you start incorporating this superfood into your diet. (Related: Black cumin seeds provide many wonderful health benefits.)
- Lowers hypertension. The presence of healthy fatty acids like oleic acids in the oil can help the body balance its cholesterol levels, which can improve blood circulation. A study published in the journal Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology evaluated the efficacy of black cumin seed extract in patients with mild hypertension. The researchers observed that the participants experienced lower systolic blood pressure values after only eight weeks of supplementation. In addition, black cumin seed extract caused a significant decline in the level of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol.
- Helps manage diabetes. A study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology investigated the potential of black cumin seeds as an adjuvant therapy in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that a dose 2g black cumin seed extract every day could act as a beneficial adjuvant to oral hypoglycemic agents for diabetics.
- Prevents asthma attacks. Studies have established a link between reduced asthma attacks and regular use of black seed oil. In fact, a study published in the journal Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology found that black seed oil has a prophylactic effect on asthmatic disease, but warrants further research regarding this effect.
As more research is done on the health effects of black seed oil, more and more people will get to enjoy its benefits.