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Black Cumin or with its Latin name Nigella Sativa belongs to the crowfoot plant family (Ranunculaceae). In Arabic the plant is named Habbah-al baraka which means ‘seed of blessing’, often also called “the miracle herb from heaven”. This high reputation explains why Black Cumin has an almost four thousand years old history in the Orient. Berbers and Egyptian priests are said to have used the spice, the carrier oil and even the essential oil as a vitality drug and as a love spell. And the beautiful Egyptian Pharao queen Nofretete used it for the legendary beauty of her skin. Black Cumin seeds were found bottled as a burial gift in the tomb of the legendary Pharao Tut-Ench-Ammun (1347-1337 BC).
Today the herb is also grown in southern Europe, but originally it is native to North Africa, particularly Egypt, and to the western parts of Asia. Already in ancient times Black Cumin seeds were kneaded into bread dough due to its appetizing taste. Also well known still today as a spicy addition to Turkish bread it got its name as ‘bread spice’. And then then there is the famous statement ascribed to the Prophet Mohammed:
“Hold on to use this black seed, it has a remedy for every illness except death”
No wonder that the islamic culture is deeply linked to Black Cumin as a spice – with numerous recipes and dishes mentioning its unique value for health, cure, beauty, and well-being. The famous Persian physician Ibn’Senna (Avicenna) in “The Canon of Medicine”, praised Black Cumin as a revitalizer of physical energy and as a powerful remedy agains fatigue and lack of inner drive. The Greek physician Hippokrates (460-375 BC) and later Dioskurides and several Roman physicians describe different health benefits of the herb and used it therapeutically to cure all kinds of complaints. And the Christian Emperor Charlemagne even imposed the cultivation of Black Cumin in the monasteries of his empire. Until the 18. century the herb was an accepted therapeutic. It is only with the advent of pharmaceutical medicine that Nigella sativa fell into oblivion. Nevertheless in Oriental medicine as well as in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Black Cumin has its recognized place as a healing plant. And in Ayurveda, the Indian art of healing, the little seeds have their special place also. In Ayurvedic terms the little black seeds help to increase Agni, the digestive fire and thereby reduce Ama, the toxins, inside the system. Ayurveda also uses the oil to treat skin problems and as a remedy against hypertension and diabetes.
All of these historical and cultural sources prove the high estimation of this amazing herb. The plant prefers sunny regions and permeable humus soil, but can also be found on stony places and fields. Black Cumin is an annual plant reaching a height of 5 to 60 cm. The herb has erect shape and branched hairy stalks with interconnected leaves. The white blossoms appear in July and August. Out of these flowers develop the seeds in early autumn arranged as follicular fruits. The brownish-black seeds are about 2-3 mm big. Harvest begins when the plants start withering from the bottom, the seed capsules showing light-brown colour and the seeds have matured. The mown plants are laid down for drying on cotton or linen cloths before getting cold pressed in an oil mill. Alternatively the fat oil from the seeds can also be obtained by extracting it through ether and hexan, but the cold pressed oil is said to yield a higher quality. The taste of the oil is sharp, peppery and aromatic. And, last not least, there is also the possibility to distill or extract the seeds, yielding small amounts of essential oil with a higher percentage of the famous bio-chemical compounds “Thymoquinone” and “Nigellone”, major active ingredients of this remarkable plant.
The little seeds contain an Omega-6 and Omega-3 carrier oil with sth. like 3% of essential oils. Their usage is mainly as a spice to refine dishes due to being rich in nutritional components. The seeds are also a substantial source for vitamins, many of them water and fat soluble, mainly carotene, a forerunner of Vitamin A being a powerful anti-oxidant. Among the minerals, there is worth mentioning calcium, iron, potassium and sodium. All of these nutritional treasures make Nigella a good spice in salad dressings, and vegetable dishes, stew etc. Some people also like to have a few seeds in a coffee or to prepare a tea.
Healing, healing… no end
The carrier oil or essential oil obtained by the described procedure are
- good for the immune system
- beneficial to the digestive system
- usefull as a hormonal balancer and for menstrual problems
- an effective agent in case of skin diseases, allergies and for revitalizing the skin
- good against migraine
- very helpful for bronchial problems and asthma
- enhancing kidney function
- good for milk production in mothers
- helpful in case of opioid dependency
- a helper against hair loss
- efficient as an anti-microbial
- able to enhance sexual energy in both men and women
The most surprising results were achieved when finally the scientists started to do profound studies concerning the effects of Black Cumin. The return to the Black Cumin plant in Europe is certainly also due to the increasing “migration” of muslim population to Western European countries, especially Germany. With the German physician Dr. Peter Schleicher who published a book on Black Cumin and its manifold effects, the public interest rose quite substantially with regards to this miracle remedy. The following story spread the revived knowledge of before: The precious dressage horse of the physician’s daughter suffered from severe asthma attacks normally treated by Cortison. An Egyptian veterinary however recommended to mix Black Cumin seeds into the horses’ food – like it is done with Arabic horses since centuries in case of similar problems. And the seeds worked well! The doctor later tested Black Cumin on 600 patients suffering from allergies – and 70% of them were cured!
Scientific studies identified Nigellone in Black Cumin which is a powerful anti-histamine being responsible for its anti-asthmatic and anti-allergic properties – for example in case of pollen allergy. Thus the outstanding results in the treatment of allergies were better understood. Nigella’s bronchio-dilatory qualities also make it a helpful remedy if respiratory ailments like allergic rhinitis require treatment.
Today immunologists and medical researchers recommend Nigella as a nutritional supplement for they have rediscovered the many beneficial health benefits of the seeds. They decided to get to the bottom of the historical reports based on experience. The results did not only confirm the messages of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, but exceeded the wildest expectations. The reason why Black Cumin was classified as a panacea among the medicinal plants already in ancient times seems to lie in its complex chemical structure. More than 100 different ingredients were found in it – and it seems that isolating them and composing certain pharma-remedies often won’t reach the desired effect. As we know today, this is because herbs possess many active compounds interacting with one another and thereby producing their special therapeutic results. And this interaction of compounds in a scenario of natural “alchemical blending” is beyond our analytical understanding of today, because we have to go at least to the “quantum level” of vibratory or energy medicine to grasp some of Nature’s intelligence here…. It still remains a secret of Mother Nature how synergistic blends of natural bio-chemical compounds function in togetherness and, in countless ways, surpass the action of a single “active ingredient”. And yes, this unsolved riddle might explain why so often all these thousands and thousands of medicinal plants in so many cases are superior to the remedies of modern medicine.
A high ranking anti-cancer oil
Black Cumin presents a rich source of essential Fatty Acids (Linoleic acid and Linolec acid). They are omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids which the body is unable to produce. These acids are essential ingredients for the generation of immune cells, for the protection of the cell-membrane (cf. the fascinating research of Dr. Johanna Budwig) and for the development and preservation of the nervous system. Nigella also contains essential Amino Acids that form blocks of proteins. 15 Amino Acids were identified in the seeds, 8 of which the body is unable to synthesize. The analysis also revealed sterols, particularly beta-sitosterol which has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. Black Cumin strengthens the immune system and increases resistance to bacterial, viral and fungal infections, furthermore very remarkable, it can lower the blood sugar level and thereby – as we saw already – is used in the treatment of diabetes.
The cancer fighting properties are well authenticated. The Institute of Cancer Research in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina/USA has published an article titled ‘Study of Nigella sativa on Humans’. There in the American scientists state that Egyptian Black Cumin extract – having the most valuable quality – possesses a potent anti-tumor effects due to its Thymoquinone and other compounds in the volatile oil. This compound mentioned already before was discovered as highly efficient especially in case of pancreatic cancer, one of the most invasive cancer types. This reaction takes place by virtue of apoptosis or programmed cell death. Research published in ‚Drug Discovery Today‘ and The „Black Cumin Center“ in the US states that “thymoquinone has a long history of battling cancer in vitro and in vivo (in “test tube” experiments and animal studies), and modulates 9 of the 10 hallmarks of cancer….
“Pancreatic cancer is one of the hardest cancers to cure, diagnose and treat. The general survival rate is not more than 4.6%. Nigella sativa however has been proven to annihilate pancreatic tumor cells at a rate of 82%. So that means out of the 50,000 diagnosed, 41.000 will survive.”
Thymoquinone appears to be effective against cancers in the blood, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, liver, prostate, breast, cervix, colon and skin. Among the cancer attacking effects also leukemia can be emphasized. In summary it can be said that Black Cumin proves extraordinary properties to prevent the progress of cancer and to destroy cancer cells.
Significant to add that the scientists also found their results on the capability of the Nigella extract to stimulate the bone marrow cells that increase the production of immune cells and the production of white blood cells as well as the production of interferon. This interferon generating power makes it an important agent to treat auto-immune disorders, i.e. Hepatitis-C, especially when combined with garlic. The patient suffering from this physical imbalance carry a heavy burden because auto-immune disorder is an imbalance where immune cells destroy healthy cells in the body thereby attacking the functioning of different organs like the thyroid, the pancreas, the muscles, the nervous system and other body systems. Here Black Cumin may act as a harmonizer and prevent the occurrence of auto-immune diseases. The scientific term describing this characteristic is ‘immunomodulatory action’. The seeds also contain non-starch polysacharides an important agent in the prevention of colon cancer. Studies of the Indian Cancer Research Institute made the same discoveries. Egyptian scientists of the university of Cairo report on the protective energy of the oil in case of radiotherapy.
Anti-microbial research – A few examples
“Antibiotics, the marvelous drugs of the 20th century, have successively reduced the human mortality and morbidity during their golden period (from 1950s to 1970s) However, pathogens have gradually developed resistance to these miracle drugs. Recently, the antibiotics resistance has become a serious global health concern, with a huge economic burden on the community by increasing the cost of the treatments…. So far, it turns out that the development of new antibiotics, which are costly and time-consuming process, has become useless, as pathogens rabidly develop resistance to these new antibiotics…. Hence, medicinal plants appeared to be the best alternative source for new antimicrobial drugs.”
“The biological effect of Black Cumin (Ns) seed and Green tea (GT) has been tested using anti-viral, anti-cancer, anti-angiogenic and antioxidant assays. Results showed that Ns and GT have antiviral activity against Infectious Laryngotrachietis Virus (ILTV) at concentration of 35 and 4.22 µM, respectively.”Cf. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/239591320_Observations_on _the_Biological_Effects_of_Black_Cumin_Seed_Nigella_sativa_and_Gr een_Tea_Camellia_sinensis#pf3
“In a clinical study conducted on Egyptian patients infected with Hepatitis C virus (HCV), including some diabetic and HCV-positive patients who were not eligible for IFN/ribavirin therapy, there were administered with Nigella sativa for up to 3 months at a dose of (450mg three times daily). After treatment period, patients relatively revealed varied recovery and decrease in viral load, improvement in the oxidative stress, clinical condition, and glycemic control in diabetic patients.”Cf. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320931434_Black_Seed_Nige lla_sativa_As_Antimicrobial_Drug_A_Mini-Review
“Focus on anti-microbial effects, different extracts of Nigella sativa as well as Thymoquinone have a broad anti-microbial spectrum including Gram-negative, Gram-positive bacteria, viruses, parasites, schistosoma and fungi. The effectiveness of N. sativa seeds and Thymoquinone is variable and depends on species of target micro-organisms. The present review paper tries to describe all anti-microbial activities that have been carried out by various researchers.”Cf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4387228/
“Antimicrobial agents of plant origin, such as essential oils, plant extracts, and complete plant substances are considered as alternatives to the traditional anti-microbial feed additives. Nigella sativa oil is one of such alternatives that could be used as feed additives in order to reduce the pathogen load in poultry. Thymoquinone (TQ) has been found as the main bioactive constituent of the volatile oil of Nigella sativa seeds. In a study, Nigella sativa was found to exert an anti-influenza virus activity (Umar et al., 2016).”
“Because of its miraculous power of healing, Nigella sativa has got the place among the top ranked evidence based herbal medicines (Ahmad et al., 2013). Current story describes the immunomodulatory and therapeutic effect of this herb against the PPR virus in experimentally infected goats. Nigella sativa prevented the occurrence of clinical signs and significant decrease in clinical signs, gross and histopathological abnormalities.”
N. sativa against HIV virus:
“Since 1980’s when the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was isolated from patients with opportunistic infections and Kaposi sarcoma, there aremillions of people living with this dreadful virus (Barre-Sinoussi et al, 1983; Gallo et al, 1983; UNAIDS, 2010). It was estimated that no infectious organism has claimed more lives in history than HIV (UNAIDS, 2010). Although the prevalence of HIV infection is reducing globally, many factors had been associated with this gain. The advent of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) and vigorous campaign on sexual behavior considerably have reduced the loss of lives to HIV infection. However, HIV infection is still believed to be incurable and can only be managed with HAART. Nigella sativa was found to act against HIV in a number of reports (Onifade 2011,2012,2013).
“In summary, Nigella sativa and its derived compounds have been seen to act against a number of human, animals, birds and plant pathogenic viruses. Nigella sativa may be one of the best sources of anti-viral drugs.”Cf. https://pharmacologyonline.silae.it/files/newsletter/2019/vol2/PhOL_2019_2_NL007_Molla
And last not least some testimonials
“I have been using the Black Seed oil on my face for the past 6 weeks since coming of a month of antibiotics to treat the inflammation of ‘rosacea’ & perioral dermatitis. I haven’t had any new flare ups & feel the oil is healing the residual redness & scarring from the skin damage caused by the dermatitis/rosacea. I am using it at bed time every night & considering trying the capsules as well. I’m very pleased with this product & relieved I have finally found something natural that is working.”Cf. https://habshifa.com.au/testimonials/
“I decided to try these after reading up on the studies that have shown the benefit for Type II Diabetics. My experience has been startling. My blood sugars have dropped drastically in this past month or so of using this.. I’ve tested often to verify these findings over time, but even my diabetic counselor from the clinic is impressed and is going to suggest this to some of her other patients.”Cf. https://www.amazon.com/Indus-Organics-Black-Nigella-Sativa/productreviews/B0036RKIB0
“OMG! Tried this stuff and lost 5 pounds in one week did not feel tired at work mid day, slept like a baby. When my family heard how great I was feeling now everyone takes it now. For headaches, pain, acne. The bottle is now gone within a couple weeks. When I ran out I totally noticed a difference, definitely hooked!”Cf. https://www.bestblackseedoil.com/testimonials/
“I have just started using this oil, and can already ready feel the benefits. As I have Osteoarthritis and had surgery a few months ago on my right hand and thumb. Its been a slow process at healing. But with this oil it has taken away much of the discomfort. So glad my daughter has introduced me to this wonderful healing oil. Making my world a better place.”Cf. https://www.bestblackseedoil.com/testimonials/
“I have been taking BSO for two years and when I miss my evening dose, my sleep is interrupted by hot flashes 🙁 Prior to taking this amazing oil I was experiencing a movable object in my throat, it sounds weird but true. So I went to my physician and had some blood drawn. My results revealed thyroid problems and was given a script for medication. I started taking the oil religiously, made another appt., had my blood drawn, no problems revealed 🙂 I apply it topical to my left knee as a topical pain reliever for a prior injury. It’s a natural colonoscopy and anti-inflammatory. It’s an amazing natural supplement that has proven to benefit my health and overall well being. I never leave on vacation without it :))”Cf. https://www.bestblackseedoil.com/testimonials/
“I’ve been using the blackseed for about 3 months and have completely gone off all my allergy meds! I had been having problems with dizziness due to inner ear issues brought on by allergies. Ceterizine, Sudafed and Meclizine were giving me no relief and I thought I was just going to have to adapt to having vertigo even with all those, but I’m symptom free now! I sleep better and wake right up in the morning much easier feeling more refreshed since I’m sleeping better. I’ve experienced other benefits from using this product and thought it’s not a cure-all… I’m doing much better health-wise and am sticking with it.”Cf. https://www.bestblackseedoil.com/testimonials/
“For the past 5 months, I have seen a remarkable increase in my overall health since I have been taking black seed oil. In the past few years, I have suffered from chronic sinusitis, allergies, asthma, earaches, headaches, IBS, constipation, and joint pain in my knee and ankle. At one time, I was taking 6 different pharmaceutical pills (spending around $500 a month) to treat all these conditions. It’s hard to believe, just 1 tablespoon of this oil, two times a day (morning/night), can make such a huge impact in my health, but it has! I feel like finally, I have a measure of my health back without having to take a lot of pills.”Cf. https://www.bestblackseedoil.com/testimonials
The miracle about a plant like Black Cumin with its tiny little seeds is that they have an unassuming external appearance, but have an innate super-knowledge of what to unfold out of the potential they are gifted with. That is Nature! Sometimes one wants to say: the smaller , the better… What a miracle again of the “pranic intelligence” of the Cosmos to encapsulate “the large in the small” and endow it with an immense treasure of curative energies, hard to summarize just in a few words. I think, we are in good company when we join in the praises which our human ancestors have been singing out of their thankful hearts for so many centuries to the Black Cumin plant, a very unique beautiful vegetal being on our planet Earth.
After all, good to remember: Black Cumin has been declared to be THE therapeutically most successful natural remedy of the past decade. Salutations to the Black Cumin Spirit!