blackseed oil

As Americans grow disenchanted with pharmaceuticals, they have become interested in botanical medicines. Many of these come from different medical traditions. Scientists may not have devoted much time to studying them. Yet there are many claims being made for herbs and spices online. One reader wondered about blackseed oil.

Q. Can you tell me anything about blackseed oil? Is it safe?

What Is Blackseed Oil?

A. Blackseed oil comes from so-called black cumin seeds. They are the seeds of the Nigella sativa plant of southeast Asia and are used to impart a distinctive flavor to certain dishes popular in India or the Middle East.

Nigella sativa contains the compound thymoquinone. In preclinical experiments, this natural chemical shows promise for slowing tumor growth and making certain cancers more vulnerable to treatment (Mostofa et al, Frontiers in Pharmacology, June 12, 2017). That would certainly warrant attention, if it holds up in human studies. Some scientists are excited about its potential for treating certain cancers (Abukhader, Pharmacognosy Reviews, July 2013).

With many of the mechanisms understood, it may be time to devote serious attention to thymoquinone as an anti-cancer agent (Majdalawieh, Fayyad & Nasrallah, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Dec. 12, 2017). Blackseed oil also curbs inflammation and helps modulate the immune system (Dajani, Shahwan & Dajani, Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, Dec. 2016).

Safety of Blackseed Oil:

Before any plant-derived medicine can be used clinically, scientists must evaluate its safety. Animal studies suggest that thymoquinone helps protect organs from drug-induced toxicity (Al-Rasheed et al, Pharmacological Reports, online May 6, 2017; El-Sheikh, Morsy & Hamouda, Pharmacognosy Magazine, Jan. 2016, supplement).  That suggests that it doesn’t cause serious health problems. We haven’t seen any clinical studies in people showing that it is safe, however.

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  1. Terrie

    I am a strong believer in black seed oil. I use it whenever I feel a cold coming on and it shortens the duration of the cold. Great article.

  2. Tracy
    Buffalo New York

    Ì have been taking a tablespoon of black seed oil every night for the last 6 months. It has become my miracle drug. I was scheduled to have total knee replacements on both knees and was able to cancel the surgery as the pain decreased and mobility increased. I’m now 95% back to normal. It also brought my cholesterol levels back within normal range and dropped my A.C. level by 2 points. I feel better than I have in years!

  3. Sherri B
    Hutchinson, MN

    Does anyone deal with constipation caused by black seed oil? I tried one teaspoon, and couldn’t go for a couple of days.

  4. Lyn

    I have recently tried some liquid form of0.85 % TQ thymoquonone for almost a week. I have had inflamation in my legs fo about 5 years or so making it difficult to walk and climb stairs. After three days the inflammation in my legs had almost completely gone. I believed that this is my miracle!

  5. L James

    I drink a teaspoon twice daily to help keep my blood sugar level low. And it also keeps shorten my common cold down time. This is what I use it for. It would great for ME.

  6. Tee

    A few months ago, I felt like I was coming down with something. I felt very weak and disoriented. It felt like flu symptoms. I drank a cup of hot green tea and took 2 black seed oil capsules every hour on the hour from 10 pm until about 3 am. After a few hours of sleep, I was able to get up and go to work feeling fine. Now black seed is a part of my daily regimen.

  7. Belinda

    My husband and I have been taking black seed oil for about two months and we see a difference. I also rub my knees and ankles with it it helps the pain. I haven’t had any side effects.

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