The term “superfood” is thrown around rather casually these days.
However, there’s one natural ingredient that certainly merits the term and your close attention: black cumin seed oil. (Also known as black seed oil.)
Read on more to discover why the likes of modern scientists, Egyptian queens, Ayurvedic doctors, and health enthusiasts love the universally helpful seed that is black cumin seed oil.
What is Black Cumin?
Scientifically speaking, black cumin is called “Nigella Sativa,” which comes from a lovely purple flowering plant, also known as “Fennel Flower” or “Roman Coriander.”
(Because there is often confusion, black cumin and turmeric/curcumin are different and come from different plants.)
Black cumin has been hailed as a powerful medicinal plant in ancient cultures for eons. This spice was coined the “oil of the Pharaohs” due to the seeds apparently being found in the tomb of Tutankhamen.
For centuries black cumin has been used to treat a variety of ailments such as fever, eczema and respiratory issues like bronchitis. Earliest records of using this seed in more “modern” medicine dates all the way back to the 1600’s. It’s since won the approval and interest of health and medical experts alike.
For those new to black cumin or wanting to know more about it, here are 7 science-backed benefits of this impressive little seed.
Black Cumin Health Benefit #1
Black cumin seed oil is loaded with antioxidants making it an excellent addition to any healthy lifestyle. As we know, an antioxidant rich diet is thought to help prevent a variety of illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and has shown promise to be extremely helpful with cancer prevention.
Several studies have indicated that black cumin seed oil may improve symptoms for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
At least one clinical study reported that patients with rheumatoid arthritis who supplemented with black cumin seed oil demonstrated significantly lower levels of joint inflammation and oxidative stress compared to those who didn’t supplement with the oil.
Keep inflammation at bay by consuming this seed regularly.
Pro tip: It can help with external inflammatory issues too such as acne, too!
Black Cumin Health Benefit #2
Promotes Healthier Skin
Black cumin seed oil was rumored to be the beautify oil of choice for both Cleopatra and Nefertiti, the ancient Egyptian queens.
And, as mentioned, Egyptian Pharaohs have been found buried with them in their tombs — clearly these precious seeds were considered worthy of taking into the afterlife.
Highly moisturizing and full of nourishing vitamins, minerals and omega fatty acids, using black cumin seed oil as part of a skincare routine may help minimize acne, heal and retain your skins moisture barrier, promote softness and radiance, and help issues related to dry skin such as eczema and fine lines.
Black Cumin Health Benefit #3
Aids in Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Healthy cholesterol levels are always a significant health marker for people of all ages. With heart disease being a leading cause of death worldwide, anything that promotes a healthy ticker always sparks interest.
Results from a study done by the National Library of Medicine found that black cumin seed may be particularly effective at lowering total cholesterol levels while simultaneously decreasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Studies indicate that black cumin demonstrates notable potential to lower and maintain healthy cholesterol levels overall.
So, while science is figuring out the best dosage and form to use this healthy ingredient for heart health, you can use it generously in the kitchen to reap heart-healthy benefits.
Black Cumin Health Benefit #4
Promotes Weight Loss
Clinical studies using black cumin seed oil for weight loss found that it promotes it on three fronts:
It may increase fat loss: A randomized, double-blind, controlled study published results showing that out of 20 sedentary, overweight females, the control group that supplemented with black seed oil while on an aerobics program lost more fat and had a greater reduction in BMI than the other group. The second control group did the same aerobics program but didn’t supplement with black cumin seed oil.
Supports Balanced Blood Sugar: One study found that consumption of black cumin seed oil appeared to decrease blood sugar levels, increase insulin production, and decreased insulin resistance. This is promising for weight loss considering that excess amounts of insulin produced due to insulin resistance is one the the reasons behind a sluggish metabolism and unnecessary fat storage.
May Reduce Inflammation: As touched on earlier, the antioxidant profile of black cumin seed provides distinct anti-inflammatory benefits. Excess fat isn’t the only thing to blame for excessive weight. Inflammation is a key culprit to pushing up the numbers on the scale. Black cumin seed oil’s ability to combat inflammation in the body may make it an ideal supplement to incorporate for overall weight loss!
Black Cumin Health Benefit #5
Supports Gut Health
Did you know that one of the oldest uses for black cumin seed oil was to treat indigestion, bloating, diarrhea and just about every other digestive issue?
Studies have indicated that black cumin seed oil may help prevent colorectal cancer and reduce the production of stomach acid while simultaneously improving the structure and secretion of mucus needed along the lining of the gut.
Additionally, black cumin seed oil may suppress harmful gut bacteria while promoting healthy ones.
With gut health being so very important to both mental and physical health — including immunity — that’s exciting, indeed!
Black Cumin Health Benefit #6
Bee products like honey and propolis may come to mind as natural remedies for dealing with allergies, but for those looking for an all-natural vegan alternative, black cumin may be just your ticket out of sneeze-ville.
In a 2019 review of experimental and clinical studies on black cumin between 1993 and 2018, researchers found repeated evidence that this oil may act as an all-natural antihistamine (with regards to a variety of allergens) and can also help prevent asthma.
Black cumin seed has been used for centuries to treat not just allergies but respiratory issues which carries on over to our next point…
Black Cumin Health Benefit #7
Protection for Your Lungs
Clinical trials have found that black cumin may have very strong lung-protective properties.
This includes in ALL areas of the lungs such as alveoli, bronchi and bronchioles while simultaneously promoting the formation of healthy lung tissue.
Additionally, clinical experimentation found that black cumin may even enhance pulmonary function, increase antioxidant markers and lower inflammation.
Interestingly, supplementing with black cumin resulted in an increase of other nutrients that promote lung health such as glutathione and vitamins C and E.
To top it off, black cumin contains high levels of an active compound called thymoquinone (TQ). TQ may just prove to be a powerful ally when it comes to protecting ourselves from viral invaders.
Apart from its apparent antiviral, antioxidant and anti-coagulation effects, what makes TQ particularly interesting is the immunomodulatory effect it may have on your body.
A 2021 review of clinical studies conducted around the globe found that TQ may increase cytokine suppressors, natural killer cells, lymphocytes and macrophages.
What does this all mean?
It essentially could act like an adaptogen for our immune-response in the sense that it prompts our immune system to react appropriately in response to a viral attack — not too much, not too little.
The bottom here is that while studies are still early, the potential lung-protective properties of black cumin are well worth your consideration.
How to Find and Select Black Cumin Products
Black Cumin seed can be found in a variety of forms.
Using the seeds is great as a garnish, but using an oil is like having the health-promoting power of thousands of seeds in one serving.
The oil is an ideal supplement and, as you’ll see in the recipes below, it can also be a tasty and super-healthy cooking ingredient!
When choosing black cumin seed oil, do opt only for those that are USDA Certified Organic, to ensure the cleanliness, potency, and purity.
And look for those that use a careful approach to properly press the oil from raw and undamaged seeds.
Quality packaging is also important when it comes to retaining the nutrient properties of black cumin seed oil — look for those stored in glass and dark-colored bottles, which protects the oil from damaging UV light and oxidation.
Simple Recipes Using Black Cumin
Using black cumin seed oil as a supplement can be very wise, as you can tell from all the benefits above.
It’s also EASY — I simply take one teaspoon a day of this USDA Certified Organic black cumin seed oil.
(See below for more insights on this recommended brand if interested. And, as always, it is smart to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any supplement — especially if you have any health conditions or take medications.)
What’s more, black cumin seed oil can also be used in many recipes!
Now, this first bears noting — though named similarly, black cumin is NOT to be confused as a relative or variant of cumin, and the two taste quite different.
(Black cumin is not the same as cumin which is not the same as turmeric/curcumin — all three are different from one another!)
In cooking, black cumin tastes less “earthy” than cumin and is distinctly sweeter and more astringent (think lemony) in its raw form and mellows out with a nuttier taste when toasted.
Elevate the taste of your meals by drizzling or mixing black cumin seed oil over your salad or soup. (FYI, you could cook with black seed oil, but be aware that cooking breaks down the structure of the oils and many of the health benefits can be lost.)
Try these black cumin seed recipes to enjoy its unique taste while adding a nutrient punch to your meal!
This creamy and zesty salad dressing pairs well on a bed of mixed greens, tart berries and crisp root veggies like radishes or carrots. You can batch-make this dressing ahead of time and should keep in the fridge for 5 days.
- 1 tsp Organic Black Cumin Seed Oil
- 1 tsp Honey (Maple syrup if you want to keep it vegan)
- 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- 1 pinch salt
- Place all ingredients into a bowl and whisk until ingredients are well incorporated and the dressing takes on a creamy consistency.
Elevate your next smoothie and try this Black Cumin Seed Oil Smoothie. Loaded with anti-inflammatory ingredients, this smoothie is an ideal afternoon pick-me-up or a post-workout drink that you can pair with a protein for a more well-rounded meal.
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (your favorite type, including any plant-based)
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½- 1 tsp Black Cumin Seed Oil
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of dried ginger
- 1 cup ice
- Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until the ice breaks down.
- Blend until smooth.
This warming recipe has you drizzle Black Cumin Seed Oil over your soup to your heart’s content so you can really appreciate the taste to your desired level.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 750 grams raw beetroot peeled and finely diced
- 1 large potato finely diced
- 1.25 liters cold water
- 3 tablespoons of good quality red wine vinegar
- 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 100 grams (a little less than a cup) of Greek or plant-based yogurt; if thick, consider thinning with a little water and also seasoning with 1 garlic clove crushed to a paste with sea salt and black pepper
- Black Cumin Seed Oil to drizzle
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt.
- Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to color. Now add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes to release their flavor, followed by the beetroot and potato.
- Pour in the water, bring to a gentle simmer and cook until soft, about 15 minutes.
- Place the vegetables and the cooking liquid in a blender or food processor and blend until just smooth.
- Return to the pan, add the vinegar, half the parsley and salt, and pepper to taste.
- Serve with a little yogurt on top and a generous drizzle of Black Cumin Seed Oil your liking.
Black Cumin Seed Oil Bath
As a final “recipe,” maximize the versatility and benefits of Black Cumin Seed Oil in this indulgent bath fit for a king or queen. It’s subtle herby scent means it plays well with other essential oils that carry a much stronger scent. That means you can mix it in a relaxing lavender soak or a revitalizing peppermint bath without having to sacrifice the harmony of your aromatherapy palette.
Try this end-of day Black Cumin Seed Oil Bath to nourish your skin while soothing your senses:
In a hot bath, mix:
- 1 pound epsom salts
- 1-2 teaspoons Black Cumin Seed Oil
- 5 drops Neroli essential oil
- 10 drops Lavender essential oil
Top-Recommended USDA Certified Organic Black Cumin Seed Oil
After extensive research, the black seed oil I personally use and recommend is this USDA Certified Organic Black Cumin Seed Oil from Andreas Seed Oils.
I take 1 teaspoon of it daily as a supplement and — as you see in the recipes above — it can also be used in dressings on salads, in smoothies, and in many other recipes.
Interestingly, the creator of this exceptionally clean and healthy black cumin seed oil was an Olympic gold medalist — Andreas Wecker — who suffered Crohn’s disease and who managed to dramatically turn around his deteriorating health through certain plant oils. (You can see his story about 3/4 down the page right here.)
Not only is this black cumin seed oil independently certified organic (i.e., USDA Certified Organic), the seeds are also carefully pressed using a custom-built seed press technology that Andreas created — covered by four patents — that unlocks and releases the full benefits of the oils.
Furthermore — and as noted above, this is important with black seed oil — it is packaged in dark glass bottles to avoid oxidation and further preserve the benefits.
Head here right now to discover more about this top-recommended organic Black Cumin Seed Oil from Andreas Seed Oils.
If you are interested, you’ll see you’re getting an outstanding deal on it today.
Whatever brand you choose, enjoy the unique and powerful benefits of black cumin seed oil, the “oil of the Pharaohs” and a TRUE superfood!