Black Seed and Its Healing Powers

Consult a doctor to see if you can consume black seed in order to prevent adverse reactions if you're undergoing a pharmacological treatment. Ok, but what's it for?
Black Seed and Its Healing Powers

Last update: 18 May, 2021

Nigella sativa, or black seed or black cumin is a natural spice that’s become popular around the world due to its medicinal and gastronomic applications. It’s native to Southern Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia, but people all over the world have access to it and use it.

Some wonder if its health properties are real. This is because it’s been used in traditional medicine and there are many myths in regard to its attributes. So, is it as good as some claim it is? Can it really cure someone? Let’s get it straight here.

Are the healing properties of black seed real?

There’s been a lot of research on black seed and some studies did confirm many of its health properties. However, it’s inaccurate to speak of “healing powers.” This is because it doesn’t cure diseases by itself. Even though its components do contribute to improving various health problems.

Furthermore, it isn’t a first-line treatment for health problems, nor does it replace the therapeutic measures of physicians. It’s a good adjuvant to promote well-being when included in the regular diet, in moderate amounts. 

black seed on a wooden spoon

Properties of the black seed

As mentioned above, Nigella sativa has been the focus of several studies and trials. Therefore, as supported by a study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, its moderate consumption promotes good health.

Keep in mind that carcinogenic activity isn’t synonymous with being able to cure cancer or anything like it. Simply, it contributed to inhibiting the growth of malignant cells in the studies conducted. However, more studies are needed to verify any claims.

As for its composition, studies show that Nigella sativa seeds contain a good amount of various vitamins and minerals such as potassium, zinc, and iron, among others, in addition to their protein, fat, carbohydrate, and fiber content.

Likewise, these seeds contain unsaturated acids, mainly linoleic acid (50 to 60%), oleic acid (20%). It also contains saturated fatty acids to a lesser extent (30% or less).

Within the spectrum of its pharmacological actions, information disclosed in the Journal of Pharmacopuncture indicates it includes:

  • Antidiabetic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antispasmodic
  • Bronchodilators
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Gastroprotective

Ways to use it

One can use the black seed in its various presentations although some people prefer it powdered. Furthermore, it’s also available in oil, whole seeds, and supplements. In all cases, it’s best to consult a doctor before taking it regularly. Include it in food and beverages in its natural state.

A woman holding a cup.

Learn more about fatty acids Omega 3 is in More Foods than Just Oily Fish

Precautions

As you may have noticed, black seed has amazing nutritional and medical potential. However, note that there are some contraindications even though its consumption usually leads to great health benefits.

  • It isn’t recommended during pregnancy and lactation
  • It may cause allergic and skin reactions in some people so discontinue its use if there are any symptoms such as swelling, hives, dizziness, or nausea
  • Consult a doctor before taking it if you’re undergoing a pharmacological treatment as it could diminish its action or cause unwanted reactions
  • Contact with black seed produces a skin reaction in some people so rinse it with plenty of water if it happens to you and discontinue its use.
  • Don’t use it in case of hypotension, as it tends to lower blood pressure even further

In conclusion, the black seed has many health properties. However, keep in mind that everything in excess is generally bad for your health. Consult a doctor with any doubts or concerns you might have.

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  • Ahmad A, Husain A, Mujeeb M, Khan SA, Najmi AK, Siddique NA, Damanhouri ZA, Anwar F. A review on therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb. 2013;3(5):337-52
  • Khan MA, Chen HC, Tania M, Zhang DZ. Anticancer activities of Nigella sativa (black cumin). Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med 2011;8(5):226-32
  • Ali BH, Blunden G. Pharmacological and toxicological properties of Nigella sativa. Phytother Res. 2003 Apr;17(4):299-305.
  • Tavakkoli A, Mahdian V, Razavi BM, Hosseinzadeh H. Review on Clinical Trials of Black Seed (Nigella sativa ) and Its Active Constituent, Thymoquinone. J Pharmacopuncture. 2017;20(3):179–193. doi:10.3831/KPI.2017.20.021