In Islam there are plants, herbs and fruits that are believed to contain healing and medicinal properties.
Pomegranate, olive, figs and dates are of those that are mentioned in the Qur’an as blessed foods. There is only one superfood and that is Black cumin or ‘Habbat ul Sawda’ as its known in Arabic. According to hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is believed to have said: “In the black seed is healing for every disease except death.” (Sahih Bukhari)
The black seed plant (Nigella Sativa) is indigenous to the Mediterranean region. It has been utilized for medicinal purposes by non-Muslims and Muslims for many centuries. The earliest reference to black cumin is in the book of Isaiah, within the Old Testament, where Isaiah speaks of harvesting the black seed.
In the Bible it was mentioned as the ‘black seed’ and was widely used by Asian herbalists and the romans in culinary purposes. It was not until the rise of Islam when the importance of Black cumin came to play.
A CURE FOR ALL THINGS
In the Arab-Islamic culture, the black seed was prescribed for many ailments including astham, chronic headaches, fever, digestion, diabetes, infections, back pain and rheumatism. Since the rise of its popularity in the 7th century, the black seed has remained as so in todays modern Muslim world.
This black seed has 100 components with an abundant source of proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, carbohydrates and minerals.
Black cumin seeds are also called Nigella sativa seeds. These seeds have anti-diabetic and anti-cancer properties. They can be used to regulate the immune system, reduce pain, kill microorganisms, reduce inflammation, inhibit spasmodic activity, and open the tiny air passages in the lungs. Black seed oil helps protect the liver, the kidneys, and the stomach/ digestive system. It is a powerful antioxidant. This article will review some of the recent studies that show how black cumin seed oil can benefit your health.
I will be reporting on several recent black cumin seed studies covering other various important health topics. I will review studies that investigated the use of black cumin seed oil for aiding in obesity, balancing blood chemistry, reducing inflammation, supporting healthy immune system functioning, and alleviating nasal dryness and discomfort.
BLACK CUMIN SEEDS ARE HIGHLY RANKED AS A POWERFUL HERBAL MEDICINE
In Saudi Arabia, researchers had examined scientific research on the benefits of utilizing black seeds as a herbal medicine. They went on to discuss its healing abilities, Nigella sativa, and its top position amongst herbal medicines. The high-ranking is in part due to scientific evidence. There are therapeutic properties in this plant that are linked to thymoquinone (a major bioactive ingredient in the oil contained within the seeds and in black cumin seed oil.
BLACK SEEDS ARE USEFUL AS AN ANTIOXIDANT AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY TREATMENT
Black seeds, for thousands of years, were utilized as a spice and food preservative. Black seed oil and seed constituents have shown potential medicinal properties in traditional medicine. Scientific research provides clear evidence that the oil and its active ingredients, such as thymoquinone, have antioxidant effects. This is accomplished by enhancing the oxidant scavenger system, which has a detoxifying effect.
The oil and thymoquinone have very potent anti-inflammatory effects on several experimental models of inflammation. These include: encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord after infection) colitis (inflammation of the colon), peritonitis (inflammation of the membrane which lines the inside of the abdomen and all of the internal organs), edema (the swelling of soft tissues as a result of excess fluid accumulation), and arthritis.
Black seed oil and its active ingredients showed a beneficial ability in helping to regulate the immune system. It supported T-cell and natural killer cell-mediated immune activity. Black seed oil and its active ingredients also have antimicrobial and anti-tumor properties toward different microbes and cancers.
Many diseases involve inflammation, for example, cystic fibrosis, allergies and cancer. The free radicals produced during inflammation can induce gene mutations and modifications of cancer related proteins.
The seeds and the oil have many pharmacological effects including antibacterial, antifungal, anti-tumor, analgesic and antipyretic activity.
This study looked into the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of black seeds used with acute inflammation. An animal model was used. They induced a strong inflammatory response and then measured the different effects for the group that were treated with black seed oil and those who were not treated. It was proven that black seeds had antioxidant and therapeutic effects.
BLACK SEEDS ARE USEFUL FOR TREATING OBESITY
Obesity is predominantly associated with an increased presence of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, insulin resistance, and immune dysfunction. Therefore, obesity-mitigation strategies should take into account these secondary pathologies in addition to promoting weight loss. Recent studies have shown that black cumin (Nigella sativa) has cardio-protective, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, antioxidant, and immune-modulatory properties.
With the growing interest in and the use of functional foods and nutraceuticals, as well as the increase in obesity and chronic diseases worldwide, further research into therapeutic/preventive effects of black cumin will be beneficial in the years to come.
Researchers have identified obesity as being the most prevalent health problem affecting all age groups. It leads to chronic heart disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, and stroke. Researchers reviewed the abstracts for 33 scientific articles related to obesity, herbal medicine, and traditional medicine.
They found that black seeds, green tea, and black Chinese tea had anti-obesity effects. A study by Iranian researchers, examined the effects of long-term Nigella sativa supplementation, and the use of aerobic training on the lipid profile and oxygen consumption of sedentary overweight women.
This was a randomized double-blind controlled trial. Twenty sedentary overweight females were divided into two groups and assigned to black seed supplementation or a placebo for the 8 weeks of the study. Both groups participated in aerobic training 3 times per week. Blood lipids and VO2 max were determined before the experiment began and at the end of 8 weeks. VO2 max is a measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that a person can use when exercising.
Higher levels of oxygen consumption are associated with higher levels of physical fitness. The women who took the placebo and who did aerobic training experienced reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, and increased VO2 max. The women who used Nigella sativa supplementation and aerobic training experienced reductions in total cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein, and body mass index (ratio of fat to muscle).
The women lost body fat and gained muscle. Black seed supplementation also increased high density lipoprotein and VO2 max. Researchers found that the mix of 8-weeks of aerobic training and Nigella sativa supplementation had a synergistic effect, and the combination of black seed consumption and aerobic training produced the greatest health benefit.
BLACK SEEDS ARE USEFUL FOR NASAL DRYNESS AND NASAL DISCOMFORT
Researchers in Turkey worked with elderly patients who had nasal dryness and related symptoms. They worked to compare effects utilizing black seed oil in the nasal pathways of the nose to the usage of a salt water solution. Researchers find that nasal obstruction, dryness and crusting had improved with the usage of black seed oil rather than with the salt water treatment.
They note that there wasn’t any difference between the effect of black cumin seed oil and salt water on nasal itching and burning. Researchers say that the black seed oil is a great alternative in the treatment of nasal mucosal symptoms from aging.
These seeds were utilized in the Middle East for thousands of years, and its not so hard to see why this seed and oil is so popular in Western countries too.