Black seed, or Nigella Sativa is a traditional food supplement that might have several health benefits. It is sold as a food supplement and as a skin oil. The most noted proponent of black seed was Ibn Sina, author of “The Canon of Medicine,” written in the eleventh century, who promoted it for a variety of ailments, especially targeting fatigue and malaise.
Black seed contains several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B2 and C, plus iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium. Additionally, black seeds contain several amino acids, including arginine, alanine, aspargine, tyrosine, linoleic acid and tryptophan. The proteins and fats present in black seeds help to deliver these vitamins and amino acids to the different parts of your body. A study published in the August 2000 "Phytotherapy Research" found that black seeds also contain several antioxidant properties.
According to the "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine," in addition to having antioxidant properties that may help fight fatigue, black seed has many health benefits that include anti-inflammatory and antiparasitic properties. Additionally, black seed might help treat asthma, hypertension and many common allergies. These health benefits are most likely a result of the vitamins, minerals, amino acids and proteins present in the black seed. However, current clinical evidence does not yet support the claims about black seed.
Black is also sold as pressed oils that are marketed for skin conditions such as rashes and dryness. Before, applying black seed oil to your skin, test it in a small area and check for any allergic reactions. According to the "Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: allergic reactions to black seed oil are not common. This warning also applies when consuming it. Try a small amount of black seed oil and wait for at least a day to make sure you do not experience an allergic reaction. If you have any adverse reaction to topical or edible black seed oil, immediately discontinue use and seek medical attention.
When purchasing black seed health supplements, make sure that it contains true black seeds. Manufacturers of supplements use several different formulations to describe Nigella Sativa, and some of them do include black seed. Therefore, before purchasing a Nigella Sativa supplement, make sure the package says that it contains black seeds. If the package lists other ingredients in lieu of black seed such as black cumin, fennel flower, black caraway, nutmeg flower or black onion seed, the supplement is not Nigella Sativa.
- Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center: Disclaimer
- NCBI: Antioxidant Activity of Nigella Sativa Essential Oil; Burits M and Bucar F; August 2000
- NCBI: Pharmacological and Toxicological Properties of Nigella Sativa; Ali BH and Blunden G; April 2003
- "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine"; Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno; 1997
- "Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs With All Their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments"; Andrew Chevallier; 2000
- Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.