[dropcap]B[/dropcap]lack seed oil is extracted by compressing seeds, known by several names. These include nigella sativa, cumin or kalonji seed.
It is reported to have been used by Cleopatra for her skin and hair and also found in King Tuts tomb.
Black seed oil has been around for thousands of years to help maintain health and vitality.
It is not the most appetising flavoured oil having a pungent, slightly bitter, taste.
This is due to the compounds that black seed oil contains.
But have you ever noticed how things that don’t taste particularly nice are often really good for you?
For this reason it is best to add it to other ingredients, such as a teaspoonful in a smoothie.
Or it can be mixed with honey – preferably organic or Manuka which are also really good for you.
It should not be heated but is also delicious in warm (not hot) milk with a little cacao.
The oil can be used to flavour bread and pickles or added to curries, sauces and stews. It is also available in capsule form which is probably the most desirable way to take it internally.
It is best taken on an empty stomach so as not to weaken its effect.
There have been over 500 studies on the multitude of health benefits of black seed oil.
Like many other natural herb oils, this oil has many healing benefits.
However, the effect of this oil is quite powerful and can interact with and increase the effect of some medicines.
This may be dangerous especially in the case of blood pressure as it would take it too low.
The same applies to blood thinners like warfarin. It is, therefore, very important that you consult your doctor first.
Bearing that in mind, however, it is a fantastic ingredient to add to both your food and medicine cabinets in order to fight disease and illness.
Here are some examples which should motivate you to give it a try.
The health benefits of black seed oil
Known as the ‘Blessed Seed’, black seed oil has many health-improving abilities.
This is due to it being a powerful anti-oxidant. We are swamped with free radicals that come at us from all angles.
Free radicals come from the environment and chronic diseases.
They are also produced by normal body functions.
And they damage our cells and break down substances in our skin; both of which make us age faster.
As our bodies age our immunity is also reduced.
This can leave us more vulnerable to a range of chronic, age-related conditions.
However, recent research has found that this powerful black seed oil can help to increase the presence of two types of immune cells.
These two work together to boost immunity.
This is great news especially bearing in mind the oil is not toxic.
Vanity instead of overall health, is often a reason black seed oil is used.
Remember Cleopatra from earlier?
In fact some sources suggest it is the best anti-aging product on the market.
This is due to it having omega fatty acids which are great moisturisers. Black seed oil soothes the skin.
It smooths wrinkles too and has been reported to make those who use it look younger in appearance.
The oil is also great to soothe sunburn and has even been found in studies to be effective against melanoma – a form of skin cancer.
Black seed oil can help to eliminate acne, pimples and psoriasis.
This benefit comes from taking it internally but is boosted by applying it generously to the affected areas.
Acne breakouts can be reduced within just two months.
Black seed oil is said to be good for auto-immune disease.
So what are auto-immune diseases?
A simplified explanation is this.
Normally the immune system attacks foreign bodies such as germs, viruses, and bacteria.
These can all potentially harm us so the body needs to protect itself against them.
This is a normal process. However, with auto-immune disease, the body gets a little confused and it starts to attack itself.
Auto-immune diseases that can be eased by the effect of black seed oil include allergies, asthma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, under-active thyroid and even cancer.
Studies have looked at the effect of black seed oil on these conditions.
Overall they conclude that the black seed oil moderates the immune system.
In other words it lessens the symptoms by its anti-inflammatory effect.
We hold a lot of stress in our gut due to modern life which leads to lots of people having digestive issues.
The oil is great for digestion and healing these stresses in the gut.
Acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, fungal growth, SIBO (which is too many bad bacteria in the small intestine), and colitis can all be eased by black seed oil.
Black seed oil helps with these issues as it has a cleansing effect on the gut.
It can also reduce cells in the body that cause inflammation.
It contains an ingredient that protects the stomach lining which is very delicate.
Damage to the stomach lining makes it vulnerable to the effect of alcohol and toxins in the diet.
This can lead to the development of painful ulcers, stomach pain and cramps.
Black seed oil has tremendous power when used for the health of the liver and gall bladder.
It has a stimulating effect which improves the flow of bile.
Bile comes from the gall bladder and is very important for the digestion of fat.
Another benefit of this versatile oil is that it is incredibly effective at killing off fungus, bacteria and even viruses.
This anti-microbial ability can help both internally and externally.
This is because it can be eaten and also applied topically to the skin.
The oil’s anti-microbial effect is particularly useful with protecting against viruses.
Having the warm milk drink, mentioned earlier, is a good way to benefit from the anti-viral effect when you have a cold, flu or just feel a little under the weather.
To fight illness, take three teaspoons of the oil a day, before meals, until the symptoms go.
Taking one teaspoon a day is a great habit to develop to prevent disease and illness and maintain your future health.
With regard to fungal and yeast infection, although this oil can help kill off the fungus you need to be aware of the fact that the fungus and yeast are feeding off the sugar in your diet.
Prevention is always better than cure so if you are prone to these type of infections try and reduce the sugar in your diet.
Black seed oil has even been shown to kill off the bug MRSA.
We often hear that this bug is widespread in hospitals and is anti-biotic resistant.
Anti-biotic resistant means that anti-biotics are not effective at killing the bug off.
So if you get MRSA it can be difficult to get rid of. This task is made easier if you use black seed oil.
This versatile oil not only helps to keep hair shiny but massaged into the scalp it can help reduce hair loss.
One reviewer even mentioned that new hair began to grow on a bald spot within two weeks of daily treatment.
Joint and muscular pain
We have already learnt that black seed oil can reduce inflammation.
Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are both inflammatory conditions that affect over 20% of the American population.
So this oil is great for reducing joint pain caused by these conditions.
Mix it with apple cider vinegar and honey and rub into the affected joints twice a day to relieve the pain. You can also take it as a supplement.
This method was effective in 40% of women who took it for just a month.
Black seed oil has been shown to be great for diabetes.
It can help to regulate blood sugar and insulin resistance.
Both of these are factors in the development in diabetes.
Insulin resistance is what happens after years of eating too much sugar and processed and refined carbohydrates.
Sugar in the blood causes insulin to be released by an organ called the pancreas.
Insulin is the signal to cells to use the sugars in the blood for energy.
However, if there is too much sugar then there is also too much insulin and the cells begin to ignore the messages from the insulin.
Put simply, black seed oil effectively opens the channels of communication between the cells and insulin.
The effect of black seed oil on insulin resistance will inevitably impact weight loss in a positive way.
The oil also has been reported to aid weight loss generally although the reason is unclear.
One suggested way to take the oil for weight loss is to mix 1 teaspoon of oil with 1 teaspoon of honey and half a teaspoon of organic cinnamon with hot water.
Allow to cool slightly and then drink once a day.
Now obviously you cannot eat whatever you want and have a bit of black seed oil and expect the weight to drop off.
You do need to watch what you eat and, if possible, take regular exercise too.
When you are unfit your resting heart rate is often much higher than when you are fit.
Ideally a resting heart rate should be about 65 on average.
A study showed that black seed oil was able to reduce heart rate considerably.
Reducing the resting heart rate is a great result, especially for those with limited mobility who are unable to exercise.
Atherosclerosis is a condition where plaque builds up in blood vessels.
The plaque is made of fat, cholesterol and calcium and is caused by a poor diet and lack of exercise.
It is also a condition caused by inflammation in the body.
The plaque can block the flow of blood and can lead to heart attacks, strokes and, therefore, to death.
This oil can lessen the fats and cholesterol in the blood.
Therefore the likelihood of a build-up of plaque is reduced.
A study of women taking black seed oil alongside exercise had great results.
These results were that ‘bad’ cholesterol went down and ‘good’ cholesterol went up.
Other ‘bad’ fats, called triglycerides, were also reduced. BMI, or body mass index, is a medical term that measures obesity levels.
This study also showed that BMI was reduced. However, even though black seed oil is beneficial it won’t work miracles on its own!
Ideally, you do still need to follow a healthy diet and take regular exercise. The good news is that it can boost the results from diet and exercise.
Black seed oil is also an anti-coagulant which means it helps blood to remain at the correct consistency.
This is necessary for healthy blood flow through the blood vessels and to prevent blood clots that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Asthma and hay fever
Sadly, allergies (including hay fever) and asthma are becoming more widespread these days.
The runny nose, weepy eyes and congestion can cause us to feel pretty miserable.
However, they are due to the action of our immune system being stimulated by what it sees as an invader.
This could be pollen or nuts for example.
The body obviously needs to be able to defend itself but the resulting symptoms are not pleasant.
This is where black seed oil comes in with its anti-histamine ability.
Once again it can reduce cells that create inflammation whilst simultaneously boosting anti-inflammatory cells. The oil has been found to be as effective as steroids.
If you suffer from hay fever take the oil with local honey.
Local honey has been found to be much more effective than regular honey in combating the effect of the pollen which is produced from the local grass and flowers.
Kidneys are linked with helping to control blood pressure and black seed oil is recognised as being able to reduce blood pressure.
Studies have shown that taking it for two months will have a positive effect.
People suffering from diabetes often have weak kidney function and can even experience kidney failure.
Black seed oil acts directly on the kidneys in a completely safe way to improve kidney function.
In conclusion, as you can see black seed oil is fantastic to use to maintain and prevent all aspects of health and no household should be without.
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