As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives, stall the economy and dominate the headlines, another health issue – antibiotic resistance – continues to surface worldwide. The World Health Organization characterizes antibiotic resistance (in which ordinary infections become impervious to certain drugs) as an emerging global public health crisis, with the CDC reporting that “superbugs” claim the lives of 35,000 people every year in the U.S. alone.
But, research dating back over a decade shows that black cumin seed oil can strongly inhibit dangerous drug-resistant pathogens, providing a potential weapon against this growing threat. In fact, researchers are finding that this natural substance can help combat a multitude of medical conditions, both minor and major.
Black cumin seed oil: A trusted folk remedy gaining scientific credibility
Black cumin seed oil – also known as black caraway oil, black seed oil, BCSO and nigella seed oil – is derived from Nigella sativa seeds. And, although nigella seeds are referred to as “black cumin” seeds, they are not to be confused with true cumin, which is yellowish-brown in color and botanically known as Cuminum cyminum.
Miniscule, inky-black nigella seeds have a refreshing, mildly spicy taste reminiscent of anise, fennel and coriander. They are commonly used as a flavoring agent in cheeses, curries, pickles and breads.
For centuries, BCSO has been utilized by natural healers to treat a range of illnesses and conditions, including diabetes, eczema and arthritis. In fact, evidence of its use in ancient Egypt has come to light.
Nigella seeds were reputedly found in the tomb of King Tut – presumably to ensure his health in the afterlife – and black cumin seed oil was believed to have been a staple in the skin-care regimen of Queen Nefertiti, renowned for her beauty.
And, it looks like the ancient Egyptians were on to something. This venerable folk medicine remedy just happens to be packed with potent phytochemicals, including thymoquinone, thymohydroquinone and thymol.
Thanks to these powerful monoterpenes, nigella seed oil is a true disease-fighting heavyweight – with effects against the most formidable diseases of our time, including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and cancer.
Black cumin seed oil fights MRSA and other drug-resistant pathogens
Researchers have learned that black seed oil has strong antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties. In fact, this beneficial oil has been found to be active against the MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) superbug, which infects 120,000 Americans every year.
In a groundbreaking study conducted at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in 2008, scientists used clinical samples isolated from the blood and urine of patients to evaluate the effects of black cumin seed oil on pathogens. The team found that black cumin seed oil had “pronounced” antimicrobial activity against several multidrug-resistant pathogenic bacteria – even outperforming the standard pharmaceutical medications amoxicillin and tetracycline.
The impressed scientists concluded that out of 144 drug-resistant strains, 97 were “inhibited by the oil of black cumin.” The fact that S. aureus was one of the vulnerable strains bodes well for BCSO’s use in fighting antibiotic resistance.
Other clinical research has demonstrated that nigella seed oil can reduce viral load in patients with hepatitis C.
Great health news: BCSO has anticancer and neuroprotective properties
A powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, black cumin seed oil gets right to work in the body helping to neutralize dangerous free radicals and prevent oxidative damage. Recent research supports BCSO’s ability to significantly inhibit and reduce tumor growth in cancers of the breast, colon, pancreas, liver, lungs, prostate and cervix.
Animal and cell studies have shown that the thymoquinone in nigella seeds makes brain cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapy. One intriguing study showed that it can also help alleviate side effects from chemotherapy in children with brain tumors.
In fact, black cumin seed oil seems to have all-around protective effects on the brain, helping to guard against neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, animal studies have shown that nigella seed extracts improves learning and memory.
Finally, nigella seed oil is believed to have mild mood-lifting effects, with natural healers traditionally advising it as a go-to remedy for fatigue and “dispiritedness” (in contemporary terms: depression).
Bonus health benefits: BCSO fights obesity safely and naturally, while supporting heart health
Studies have shown that BCSO can promote weight loss and healthy body composition, reducing body mass index and decreasing waist measurements with no reported side effects. In an extensive systematic review published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, the authors searched databases such as PubMed and Google Scholar for studies conducted from 2008 to 2012.
The researchers set out to evaluate the efficacy of BCSO, along with that of other natural herbal weight loss therapies – including green tea, virgin olive oil, psyllium fiber, sea buckthorn and bilberries. They listed nigella seed oil, along with black and green teas, as having “satisfactory” anti-obesity effects.
In addition, BCSO is great for heart health. This is illustrated by the fact that this oil helps to lower unhealthy levels of LDL cholesterol, while helping to regulate blood pressure.
Action step: Seek out high-quality, organic black cumin seed oil
Black cumin seed oil is available in liquid and capsule form, with integrative doctors typically advising dosages of 5 mL a day for up to eight weeks. The oil can also be applied topically to treat rashes, eczema and even joint pain. For example, one study showed that nigella seed oil can reduce the pain and inflammation of knee osteoarthritis.
For maximum benefit, opt for cold-pressed black cumin seed oil that is therapeutic grade and USDA-certified. And, as always, be sure to discuss the use of BCSO with your integrative doctor before adding it to your health routine.
Whether used to fight cancer, battle antibiotic resistance, support heart health or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, black cumin seed oil is gaining new attention as a versatile, safe and potent natural remedy.