The many merits of Black Seed Oil

Have you heard about a product called Black Seed oil? It is the oil of the seeds of the Nigella sativa plant. 

It’s something we have sold in Organico for a number of years, and over that time we have registered that people were finding it beneficial. We sell a lot of different products that people rave about and so we hadn’t really registered the impact it was having or indeed all its benefits. Recently I met with Viridian (who are one of my favourite companies – they have great products and great ethics) and they told me that Black Seed Oil was their best selling product, so good that they have brought out a topical Oil for problem skin. I was pretty amazed. Better than Vitamin C, Fish Oils, and probiotics? All of this success was despite the fact that they had invested zero advertising – it was all just word of mouth and people getting positive results – I was intrigued… what was going on here? 

Described in ancient times as a treatment for ‘every illness but death’, Black Seed oil has a long-standing history of medicinal uses that have been supported by science in the modern world. Originally cultivated in Egypt, the Nigella sativa seeds (Black Seeds, or Black Cumin Seeds) are jam-packed with bioactive ingredients and antioxidative components, providing a wide spectrum of health benefits, such as blood pressure regulation, weight management and allergy relief. If you haven’t heard of it but would like to know more, read on! If you have been taking it, and have any feedback, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. 

The ancient Egyptians knew and used the Black Seed. Tutankhamun is even believed to have had a bottle of Black Seed oil in his tomb – and that would have been organic of course! Nigella sativa originates from Western Asia and is a herb that grows about 16-24 inches in height and has white flowers when in bloom. In Islamic literature, it is considered as one of the greatest forms of healing medicine. It has been recommended for using on a regular basis in Tibb-e-Nabwi (Prophetic Medicine). 

The history is fascinating, but is it relevant to us in 2019? Surely we have many more powerful medicines available to us now? Well, medical interest in Black Seed Oil didn’t stop 2000 years ago. When you type ‘Black Seed Oil’ into PubMed, one of the largest online databases of international medical research, you get dozens and dozens of results. One scientific paper details all the research into Black Seed, research which explored uses for many different conditions including “antidiabetic, immunomodulator, analgesic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, bronchodilator, hepato-protective, renal protective, gastro-protective, antioxidant properties, etc”. 

That’s a lot of different benefits there! But how does Black Seed oil work and why does it promise so many health benefits?

From the research I have read, Black Seed Oil has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal qualities. It also seems to protect organs – liver, kidneys, and the digestive system, as well a having Analgesic properties. Some specific research looked into the benefits for people suffering from hayfever and allergic rhinitis, and it also seems to have blood sugar balancing properties – which makes it good for diabetics and for weight management.

Externally, as well, there’s a lot of reasons to use the oil. Because it is anti-inflammatory, it’s good for psoriasis, eczema, and inflamed skin conditions. 

Quite possibly, the most promising research has been done connecting Nigella sativa to multi-drug resistant bacteria. This is a really big deal because these so-called ‘superbugs’ are becoming a significant public health risk. According to the (US Based) National Institute of Health: 

• Strains of bacteria and viruses that are antimicrobial-resistant are becoming virtually impossible to treat, including HIV, staphylococcal, tuberculosis, influenza, gonorrhea, candida and malaria.

• Between five to 10 percent of all hospital patients develop an infection from superbugs.

• More than 90,000 of these patients die every year, up from 13,300 patient deaths in 1992.

• People infected with superbugs typically have longer hospital stays, require more complicated treatment and don’t recover as well.

A study which set out to determine just how potent Black Seed oil is against some of these superbugs and paired it against several antibiotics, such as Amoxicillin, Gatifloxacin and Tetracycline. According to the study, “Out of 144 strains tested, most of which were resistant to a number of antibiotics, 97 were inhibited by the oil of Black Cumin.” 

The seems to be strong scientific evidence of a wide range of successful applications for this amazing oil. It is one of the most studied natural remedies, that has been utilised for its medicinal properties for over two thousand years. I recommend you look into the merits of this oil and consider it as a natural therapeutic approach to relieve allergic symptoms and hay fever; and topically to treat inflammatory skin conditions. 

At the moment it is flying off the shelves at Organico, which tends to be a very good indicator that it is working for our customers. I also tried it last night instead of olive oil for relieving inner ear pain from an infection and got a great night’s sleep! We have the pure Black Seed oil, which can be taken off the spoon or can be used as a muscle rub, and we also have a new Black Seed Serum which is for external use – black seed is combined with flax and other oils to make a soothing healing Repair Serum. 

If you’d like to learn more about black seed oil and it’s many benefits, come along on Friday June 21 and meet Holly Power from Viridian who will be instore offering tastes and samples from 10.30-1pm.

Hannah Dare

Hannah Dare co-runs Organico, the café, bakery and health shop in Bantry, West Cork.

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