Black seed oil is the oil obtained from black seeds. These are tiny, incredibly black colored seeds which are commonly called “black cumin”. That is why, black seed oil is also called black cumin seed oil. Black seed oil has been used in Ancient Egyptian and Middle East civilizations for its amazing medicinal qualities. This oil was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun , the famous boy Pharaoh. The inclusion of black seed oil to be kept in his grave in that massive pyramid just goes to show how important, or maybe even sacred was black seed oil to the Ancient Egyptians.
In terms of nutrition, black seed oil is different from other common oils, like coconut oil, olive oil and even from essential oils. That may be the reason behind its astounding versatility as a medicinal oil.
Black seed oil comes from the black seeds. The biological name of these seeds is “Nigella sativa”. This oil is therefore also called nigella sativa oil. There are many other names for the black seed, namely black cumin, Roman coriander, fennel flower. Less common names are nutmeg flower or black caraway. Another common name for this seed is kalonji which comes from India.So, it is regionally referred to as kalonji oil.
Nigella sativa is actually a flowering plant. These seeds grow on large follicles over the fruits. Each flower contains many seeds. Nigella sativa is incredibly nutritious.
The famous prophecy
Black seed is associated with a famous prophecy by Prophet Mohammad. A later references tells us that he once said ” There is healing in black seed for all diseases except death .” Modern research is beginning to open the avenues to understanding more about this seed and its medicinal qualities. And whatever we have found until now is quite amazing.
Just like the seed, black seed oil can be used to cure many health conditions and provide excellent health benefits.
The list of pharmacological and therapeutic properties of black seed oil is enormous.
- Anti-rheumatic – it provides relief from rheumatoid arthritis.
- Anti-inflammatory – black seed oil is strongly anti-inflammatory.
- Anti-allergic – it has been found that black seed oil can suppress food allergies.
- Anti-diabetes – it has blood glucose lowering effect.
- Anti-cancer – the chief anti-cancer compound is thymoquinone.
- Hypotensive – its volatile oils aid in managing blood pressure.
- Anti-tumor or antineoplastic
- Radioprotective – safeguards our cells from harmful effects of damaging radiation.
- Hepatoprotective – within safe limits, it protects the liver.
- Renoprotective – black seed oil also exerts a protective effect on the kidneys.
- Apoptosis Induction – programs potentially harmful cells to die automatically.
- Immunomodularity – keeps the immune system at a balance.
- Analgesic – pain reliever.
- Antipyretic – alleviates fever.
- Antibacterial – kills many bacteria strains, even the most antibiotic resistant ones like MRSA.
- Antiviral – kills virus
- Antifungal – easily kills many fungi
- Galactagogue – promotes lactation.
- Adjuvant – modifies the effect of other therapeutic agents.
- Bronchodilator – aids dilation of air passages.
- Laxative – promotes timely bowel movement.
- Antioxidant – protects from free radicals.
- Lipid lowering – makes the lipid profile healthier.
- Insuling – sensitizer – it affects the secretion of insulin. Very few things can impact the pancreas.
- Interferon booster – it can stimulate the production of interferon which boosts immunity against pathogens.
- Antispasmodic – it relieves involuntary spasms of the respiratory tract, thus providing relief in asthma and other kinds of cough.
- Anti-convulsive – calms seizures
Uses and Health Benefits
Above mentioned properties are a testimonial to the fact that black seed oil can possibly be helpful in every health issue. Despite the low awareness about this oil, the scientific community is actively searching and indexing its health benefits, properties and medicinal uses. It can be used for simple conditions and personal issues, like a fungal infection, or bloating to more serious infections and conditions, like cancers and tumor.
1. Black seed oil for acne
Although one can apply black seed oil directly on skin, but this may lead to irritation and even muscle spasms in some cases. Therefore, be on the safe side and use this remedy for acne.
Black seed oil
- Directions / How to use
Add 10 drops of black seed oil to 2 quarts of boiling water. The vapor from this water contains volatile components of black seed oil that are beneficial to acne damaged skin. Take vapor from this mixture and keep a towel over the face. Keep your eyes closed. After about 5 minutes, take away the pan and wipe the face with a clean towel. It is essential that towel be absolutely clean.
- Why it works ?
Black seed oil has potent antibacterial properties. It kills the P. acnes bacteria that causes acne. Secondly, steam opens up the pores.
2. Hair Loss
Black seed oil may help in regrowing hair on bald regions of the scalp. Add black seed oil to olive oil in a ratio of 1 : 1 . Now rub this oil vigorously on bald patches. Wash this with water after about 30 minutes.
3. Hair Health
For better scalp and hair health, one can apply black seed oil to the scalp in low concentration. Add black seed oil to coconut oil in a ratio of 1 : 2. Now, massage this into the hair. Wash after 30 minutes. This treatment keeps hair safe from hair loss and also makes the hair looks moisturized.
There is some anecdotal evidence that this oil can make hair grow faster.
Black seed oil is an analgesic. One can apply it on a tooth causing pain using a cotton ball undiluted. Only use 3 – 5 drops of oil. This relieves the pain. If this doesn’t provide much help, try clove essential oil for a powerful toothache pain relief.
5. Headache relief
Apply a very small amount of black seed oil on a handkerchief. Keep this cloth with you and smell it every once in a while. The aroma of black seed oil relieves a headache.
6. Did a wasp bite you ?
Black seed oil can take the sting out of a bite. Take some warm water and add 8 – 10 drops of black seed oil. Now dip the affected body part in this water. Keep it for about 5 minutes. There should be reduction in pain and stinginess of the insect bite. Throw away that water.
7. Black seed oil for asthma
For this, one needs a vaporizer. Add a few drops of black seed oil to vaporizer. Let its aroma diffuse inside the house. Keep the asthmatic patient in this air. It improves respiration, dilates the bronchi and protects from bronchial spasm. Drink a coffee all this while to get some relief from asthma. Doing this home treatment can ward off an impending asthma attack.
Thymoquinone in black seed oil reduces airway inflammation caused by allergens and inhibition of excess mucus secretion by goblet cells. 
8. Reduce an Allergy
This is a prominent effect of black seed oil. It can dull or minimise an allergic reaction. So, if you are allergic to something that happens in spring, start taking black seed oil a few days in advance. This can prevent the allergic symptoms like sneezing, sickness, red eyes, burning sensation and watering from the nose and eyes.
Add a teaspoon of black seed oil to milk, smoothie, shakes or any other beverage. This way, one doesn’t have to bear its taste. The best way to take it would be to drink it in concentrated lemon juice, which effectively masks its taste, but not the aroma. Do this 2 times a day.
9. For alleviating a fever
Add 8 – 10 drops of black seed oil in half a quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray this water all over your body. This has an antipyretic  and cooling effect which alleviates the fever.
10. Anti-bacterial effects of black seed oil
Nigella sativa oil can combat many strains of bacteria. For airborne bacteria, one should diffuse it in the air using a vaporizer. If the smell is too strong, mask it with more pleasing oils like lavender. For internal bacterial infection, add few drops of black seed oil to a beverage. For skin infections, apply it diluted in a carrier oil, preferable olive, coconut or grapeseed oil.
These are the bacterial strains which it kills.
- Escherichia coli
- Salmonella Enteritidis
- Salmonella Typhimurium
- Shigella flexneri
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Listeria monocytogenes
- MRSA – Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
These bacteria cause dangerous infections. Among them, the MRSA strain of bacteria cause the most dangerous infections which are very difficult to treat with conventional medicine. Black seed oil can kill MRSA bacteria, which is nothing but a stubborn Staphylococcus aureus.  
11. Use black seed oil to prevent a seizure
People who often suffer from seizures should keep this oil at close hand. It is a strong anti convulsant. It can be sprayed using a sprayer or diffused in the air using a vaporizer.
12. Black seed oil in diet
Black seed oil is an edible oil. One can include it in diet, like a salad dressing. To get its health benefits, one should aim for 2 – 3 teaspoon of oil consumption. You can add this to your salads, juice, shakes or anything else. A convenient way to consume black seed oil is to mix it with organic honey. Or, you can drink it in lemon juice extracted from a juicer with the rind on. This juice is much more healthier than the one taken from a citrus juicer. Taking black seed oil in diet has the following health benefits.
- It can improve lipid profile and lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Taking it in a fruit juice can make the person more active throughout the day.
- Drinking it around the sleeping time induces better sleep.
- It reduces inflammation in the body.
- It has anti-cancer activity against prostate cancer, colon cancer and even pancreatic cancer.
Black seed oil and pancreatic health
There are very few foods which have anti-cancer effect against pancreatic cancer. The cancer of the pancreas is very difficult to detect early as its symptoms start surfacing later on in the disease. Of all the various cancers, it is one of those that are difficult to treat and manage. Black seed oil’s effectiveness in treating this cancer asserts the powerful nature of this natural supplement. It also boosts the functioning of the pancreas by improving beta cells function. These are the cells that release insulin in the body. This information is immensely helpful to people with pancreatic health disorders, like diabetes. One can say that it is a kind of natural insulin booster.
Potential health benefits of black seed oil
These are some more health benefits of nigella sativa oil, which are based on anecdotal evidence.
- Applying it in the nose can cure sinusitis. You just need to add a few drops inside the nose.
- Applying warm black seed oil to painful joints relieves their pain. This applies to all kinds of arthritis, gout and any other cause of inflammation in joints.
- Sniffing black seed oil may boost memory.
- It can minimise colic in babies. However, its safety is not evaluated for kids.
- According to Ibn Sina ( also Avicenna ), the famous herbalist, black cumin boosts alertness and alleviates fatigue.
Side Effects, Safe Dosage And Toxicity Issues
There is not much information on the side effects of black seed oil consumed in large doses. However, a daily consumption of about 3 teaspoons seems to be safe. One should avoid giving it to babies. People who are allergic to black seed should also avoid this oil. In large doses, it can start to become toxic, mainly because of a nutrient called melanthin. It may also turn out to be paralytic in high doses because of nigelline.
This safety data applies to the consumption of black seeds as well.
In regard of topical application, one should always dilute this oil. The dilution need not be like an essential oil. One can make dilutions of 1 : 1 with olive oil. When used neat ( undiluted ), there is a risk of contact dermatitis.
Nutritional and Medicinal Information
Of the total fatty acid composition of black cumin seed oil, these are the amounts of the major fat classes.
- Saturated fat – 16.8 gm
- Unsaturated fat – 82.9 gm
However, the oil is not completely composed of oils. There are numerous volatile compounds and micro-nutrients in this oil that are responsible for most of the health benefits.
Fatty acid composition of Nigella Sativa ( Black Seed ) oil
|Palmitic Acid||13.1 %||Saturated fat|
|Stearic Acid||2.3 %||Saturated fat|
|Palmitoleic Acid||0.2 %||MUFA|
|Oleic Acid||23.8 %||MUFA|
|Linoleic Acid||58.5 %||PUFA|
|Alpha Linolenic Acid||0.4 %||PUFA|
|Arachidic Acid||0.5 %||PUFA|
|Myristic Acid||1 %||Saturated fat|
Source : 
The oil is high in linoleic acid, that is omega – 6 fatty acids and almost negligible amount of omega – 3 ( alpha – linolenic acid ).
Black seed oil is rich in volatile organic compounds, most of which are aromatic. These are the oil nutrients which diffuse into air upon opening the oil bottle. There are about 32 major volatile compounds  in black seed oil. The prominent among them are –
- Thymoquinone – responsible for most major health benefits of black seed oil.
- Dithymoquinone ( also Nigellone ) –
- Trans – Anethole
Black seed oil is also rich in phytosterols. This is a drilldown of the composition of sterols in black seed oil.
|Sterols||Percentage of total sterols||Property|
|Cholesterol||0.9||Manufacture of bile and hormones|
|Stigmasterol||17.8||Anti-cancer, hypoglycemic. Antioxidant|
|β – Sitosterol||49.4||Anti-cholesterol hair growth|
|Δ5 – Avenasterol||12.4||Used to predict hyperglycemia|
Black seed oil is terrific for recovering from various illness and boosting health in general. It reasserts the fact that the ancient people knew a lot about the health benefits and medicinal uses of foods, and that too in a safe, pretty much non-invasive manner. There is immense potential in this oil, and with more research work, one would be able to know more about black seed oil.
1. From here to eternity – the secret of Pharaohs: Therapeutic potential of black cumin seeds and beyond. Subhash Padhye, Sanjeev Banerjee, Aamir Ahmad, Ramzi Mohammad, and Fazlul H Sarkar. NCBI
2. Effect of Nigella sativa (black seed) on subjective feeling in patients with allergic diseases. Kalus U, Pruss A, Bystron J, Jurecka M, Smekalova A, Lichius JJ, Kiesewetter H. NCBI.
3. Pharmacological and toxicological properties of Nigella sativa. Ali BH, Blunden G. NCBI.
4. Antibacterial Activity of Thymoquinone and Thymohydroquinone of Nigella sativa L. and Their Interaction with Some Antibiotics. Eman Halawani. NCBI.
5. Antibacterial effect of black seed oil on Listeria monocytogenes. Manoj Kumar Mohan Nair, Pradeep Vasudevan, Kumar Venkitanarayanan. NCBI.
6. Chemical investigation of Nigella sativa L. seed oil produced in Morocco. Said Gharbya, Hicham Harhara, Dominique Guillaumec, Aziza Roudanib, Samira Boulbaroudd, Mohamed Ibrahimie, Mushtaq Ahmadf, Shazia Sultanaf, Taibi Ben Haddah, Imane Chafchaouni-Moussaouii, Zoubida Charroufa. Journal of the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences.
7. Chemical Composition of the Fixed and Volatile Oils of Nigella sativa L. from Iran . Bahman Nickavara, Faraz Mojaba, Katayoun Javidniab, andMohammad Ali Roodgar Amolia