Herb Spotlight: Black Cumin
*THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS
Hey there, new vegans! Welcome back to our monthly herb spotlight series! Each month, NVH will explore, examine, and sometimes review a different medicinal herb! Why, you ask? Well, we truly believe that there are readily available, natural forms of relief for most, if not all, ailments that can be found out in this world. Hopefully, while exploring some of these herbs with us, you may be able to reduce the dependency you or someone you know has on major pharmaceuticals. In reality, most commercial drugs are derived from the very herbs we will talk about here, so we want to explore their efficacy and take a closer look at how they work in their natural state, without the added chemicals and dangerous side effects.
For the month of June, we will be discussing Black Cumin. But, before we dive in, please read the following disclaimer.
THE COMMENTS MADE IN THIS POST ARE THE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR AND SHOULD NEVER SUBSTITUTE SOUND MEDICAL ADVICE FROM A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL. THE AUTHORS AT NVH ARE NOT HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS AND DO NOT DIRECTLY RECOMMEND TRYING ANY PRODUCT ON THIS SITE WITHOUT CONSULTING A PHYSICIAN.
Ok, here we go...
What is Black Cumin?
Black Cumin, otherwise known as Nigella Sativa (N. Sativa) or Black Seed, is an ancient medicinal remedy used for centuries to cure common ailments. It has been hailed as the "Miracle Herb" in ancient Islamic and Indian literature. The medicinal properties are derived from the seeds of the Nigella Sativa plant, which can be consumed whole or ground. It is also, more commonly, pressed into oil and ingested or applied topically. The therapeutic properties of this plant are due to the presence of Thymoquinone (or TQ), the major active chemical component.
What can it do?
There are over 600 documented uses for Black Seed and approximately 164 documented pharmacological benefits of N. Sativa. Most notably, numerous studies have been conducted regarding its effect on cancer. Despite many internet claims, there is no documented evidence that N. Sativa can cure cancer; however, it has been proven to prevent carcinogenic growth, promote Apoptosis in cancer cells, and prevent cancer cell mutation. In other words, it may be highly useful in treating and or preventing the spread of cancer. But, black seed alone has not yet been proven to eliminate cancer in human studies.
In addition to cancer treatments, N. Sativa has been used to treat many other conditions, such as:
- Aching Limbs
- Back Ache
- Bladder infection
- Blood Pressure
- Chest Congestion
- General Pains
- Gum Bleeding
- Gum Infections
- Hay Fever
- Heart Burn
- Intestinal Parasites
- Joint Pains
- Lack of Concentration
- Muscle Pains
- Nasal Congestion
- Sexual Weakness
- Sore Throat
- Weight Loss
N. Sativa is effective in assisting the treatment of the ailments listed above because it has the following documented pharmacological properties:
Dr. Aftab Ahmad, from the King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia, concludes: "The use of herbal drugs as complementary medicine is prevalent and gaining world-wide popularity. Many drugs are derived directly from plants; while the others are chemically modified natural products. The original research articles published so far have confirmed the pharmacological potential of N. sativa seeds, its oil and extracts and some of its active principles, particularly TQ and alpha-hederin, possess remarkable in vitro and in vivo pharmacological activities against a large variety of diseases and found to be relatively safe." [source]
Is Black Cumin right for you? Numerous health benefits have been reported as a result of taking N. Sativa. As a preventative measure, this is an easy way to protect yourself from free radicals, parasites, viruses, bacterial, and fungal infections. Although minimal risks have been associated with the use of Black Seed, keep in mind that it may counteract with some drugs, specifically cardiac medications.
*WARNING: It is not recommended to begin any natural supplement regimen before speaking with a licensed healthcare provider.
My Personal Review
I have been using Black Seed Oil for just over 1 year. I take 2 tbsp orally, 2x per day and I have noticed a significant increase in my immune function. Here's a quick example… Last year (before I added this oil to my routine), my partner contracted Flu B, which I subsequently caught about 3 days later. We were both moderately ill for seven full days, with symptoms including high fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting, and diarrhea. This year, while taking the oil, my partner contracted the flu once again. We did not take any major preventive measures to reduce my risk of infection and I did not contract the flu virus. (Note: Neither of us have had the flu vaccination.) Although it's not medically verified, I attribute this to an increased immunity due to my use of N. Sativa.
Additionally, prior to taking Black Seed Oil, I suffered from ongoing, severe bone/joint pain in my wrists and fingers due to frequent aerobic boxing. I continue to box to this day (in fact, more so) and I have not experienced bone or joint pain since starting this regimen. I have also noticed a significant decrease in allergic reactions on "high pollen" days, when I would usually suffer from sneezing, sore throat, headache, and sometimes labored breathing in the past.
Another thing I love about Black Seed Oil is that it provides valuable nutrients, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, in an incredibly easy way. As a vegan who takes this supplement, I don't feel as though I need to worry as much about including flax seed in my diet. I still do (because flax is an amazing superfood), but I used to worry that if I didn't have flax every day, I was hurting my heart. Now, I only using flax seed when my recipes call for it or in my smoothies.
So, as you can probably tell by now, I'm a big fan of this herb! In addition to the relief I have received from a few common ailments, I've noticed that I sleep better, my concentration and focus has improved, and, believe it or not– my menstrual pain has even diminished. I have also occasionally used the oil as an acne spot treatment and have noticed good results. All in all, I give Black Seed Oil two thumbs up!