Black seed oil or black cumin oil has a long holistic and culinary history. The traditional Middle Eastern spice is used in pastries, dairy products, and salads, and for thousands of years, the phytochemical-rich oil has been both applied topically and taken internally to treat a wide variety of health conditions.
Black seed oil gets its benefits from the presence of three natural chemicals: thymoquinone, thymohydroquinone, and thymol. These phytochemicals are a powerful triple threat, and studies show together or individually they have impressive effects against many pathogens, diseases, and inflammatory conditions. Also, black seed oil may help protect the health of many of our organs.
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The phytochemicals in black seed oil may help naturally treat cancer by acting against invading tumor cells. In particular, the thymoquinone in black seeds can promote cell destruction in tumors. The oil also contains antioxidants that research shows have cancer-fighting properties. Antioxidants reduce the number of free radical molecules in the body that damage healthy cells and inhibit new cell growth, allowing cancerous cells to grow and spread.
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The liver works hard, removing toxins, producing bile, and processing fats. Compromised liver function due to the side effects of medication or alcohol consumption impacts the organ's filtering capabilities. Black seed oil has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent and protect the liver from damage. Black seed oil may also reduce the risk of liver disease and fatty liver due to viruses and toxins.
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Metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, and diabetes may be reversible, and some of the symptoms mitigated, by the consumption of black seed oil. These conditions are typified by insulin resistance, which prevents the cells from receiving proper nourishment. Studies show black seed oil both reduce blood glucose levels (blood sugar) and increase available insulin.
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A study of 90 women with obesity found that subjects who added black seed oil to a low-calorie diet experienced more weight loss than those who simply adjusted their diets. Studies show a decrease in BMI due to the ability of black seed oil to regulate metabolism and decrease cravings. Naturally regulating the appetite can help those on reduced-calorie diets to eat less.
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To prevent scarring, some physicians suggest applying black seed oil to minor cuts and abrasions once the wounds begin to heal. The oil can also alleviate symptoms in people who experience rashes due to allergic reactions and eczema due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities. Topical application can ease itching and reduce redness and irritation.
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Black seed oil contains an antihistamine called nigellone, which research shows can help with androgenic alopecia or alopecia areata, conditions that result in hair loss. Black seed oil may improve scalp health, reduce inflammation, and increase the strength of the hair follicles. In addition, the skin-calming effects may ease the itching and flaky skin of dandruff.
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Black seed oil has the ability to fight bacterial infections, even drug-resistant ones such as MRSA, a staph infection that resists traditional antibiotics. Black seed oil is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial. Studies show that black seed oil has an inhibitory effect on MRSA. It can also destroy unhealthy cells such as bacteria and tumors.
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Black seed oil is a traditional treatment for male infertility, and a systematic review of several studies found that it is, indeed, effective. The antioxidant effects of the oil significantly improved sperm count and other fertility markers in male subjects with fertility problems. The studies included in the review indicate that black seed can positively influence sperm and semen production, enhance the health of the reproductive organs, and regulate sex hormones. Infertile men should speak to a physician before choosing black seed oil as a fertility treatment, as there is insufficient evidence that black seed oil can cure infertility completely.
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Studies suggest regular consumption of black seed oil can help lower LDL cholesterol -- the bad cholesterol. Black seed powder, as opposed to the oil, was shown to increase HDL cholesterol -- the good cholesterol. This is good news for those with high blood cholesterol, as reduction of LDL and an increase in HDL, correlates with a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
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