Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Black Cumin Seed Oil

Black cumin seed oil has been used since ancient times for medicinal purposes and as a food flavoring. The legend of black cumin healing power is thousands of years old.
Modern scientists are evaluating this and many other botanicals for safety and effectiveness, searching for alternatives to synthetic drugs that often have devastating side effects.
“What is the herb black cumin seed good for?” We have some answers for you here, but it is likely that the list of health benefits from black cumin seed oil will only continue to grow.

Apparently the Egyptians recognized and revered black cumin healing power, as the seeds were found in the tombs of Tutankhamen and other Egyptian kings. The common practice was to include things in the tomb that the deceased would need in the afterlife.

In Islam, black cumin healing power is regarded as the greatest available. According to scholars, the prophet Muhammad once said that the seeds would cure anything except death.

Avicenna (980-1037), a Persian physician, philosopher and scientist wrote that black cumin seeds stimulate the body’s energy, help recovery from fatigue and are useful for the treatment of digestive disorders, gynecological diseases and respiratory illnesses.

For many years the medical community discounted the health benefits of black cumin seed oil in favor of modern drugs. It has been referred to as an old folk remedy. But, scientists are now taking a closer look at the medicinal value of the seeds of nigella sativa, the Latin name for the plant.

The name “black cumin” is used to refer to another spice, Bunium persicum, but the plant used for black cumin seed oil and being studied for its health benefits is nigella sativa. Bunium persicum, although edible and used as an herb or garnish, is not believed to have medicinal value.

Nigella sativa goes by many names in many different countries. Healers in nearly all of the European, Asian and African countries have used the plant to treat and prevent diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis, arthritis and for digestive disorders including parasitic infection.

Black cumin has been used to treat skin conditions ranging from eczema to boils and appears to relieve symptoms of the common cold. It is understandable that the literal translation of the Arabic name for the plant is “seed of blessing”. Today, doctors of the Unani Tibb system of medicine, widely practiced throughout India, regard black cumin seed oil as a valuable remedy for a number of diseases.

Doctors in Saudi Arabia attempted to define the pharmacological and toxicological properties of black cumin seed oil. They were able to show that the oil decreases blood pressure, improves respiration and lowers cholesterol and blood glucose levels. They identified one of the active components in black cumin seed oil as thymoquinone and reported that the seeds and oil have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimicrobial activity.

At the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2007, researchers examined the affect of thymoquinone (extracted from black cumin seed oil) on colon cancer cell lines. They reported that thymoquinone destroyed cancer cells by interfering with the metabolic function of human colon cancer cells in the same manner as a drug commonly used in chemotherapy.

They concluded that natural agents, such as black cumin seed extracts, offered a safe alternative for the treatment of colon cancer, without the side affects and damage to healthy cells caused by chemotherapy.

Studies from other countries have shown that extracts from black cumin seed oil may be a safe and effective alternative to insulin for the treatment of diabetes. Black cumin healing power seems to apply to the kidneys, as well. Scientists using laboratory animals have shown that nigella sativa is a strong antioxidant that preserves the activity and prevents the energy decline of the kidneys, typically associated with aging.

In all, we looked at nearly 100 recently published studies from all over the world covering topics such as liver toxicity, lead poisoning, immunosuppression, stroke recovery, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, rheumatoid arthritis, cadmium poisoning and liver cancer.

All showed positive results related to the use of black cumin seed oil. It seems that modern day science will support historical belief in black cumin healing power.

So, what is the herb black cumin seed good for? Black cumin seed oil is good for just about everything it seems.