When it comes to versatility and the power of its health benefits, black cumin seed stands above other botanicals. Are you using black cumin seed?
A Long History of Therapeutic Use
The black seed of nigella sativa (black cumin seed) has been used for over three thousand years for preventing and treating many different diseases. In ancient texts and historical documents black cumin seed is noted for its therapeutic attributes and ability to support the body in its own natural healing processes. Archeological studies report that black cumin seed seeds have been found in several sites from ancient Egypt, including in the tomb of Tutankhamun. It has been revered as a beauty secret since ancient times as Queen Nefertiti, renowned for her complexion, was, a reportedly a devoted black cumin seed user. Ibri Sina, the Persian physician and philosopher, discussed black cumin seed in the text Canon of Medicine, considered a hallmark publication in the history of human medicine and used as the primary medical text throughout Europe until the 17th century. In it he states that black cumin seed has preventive and restorative features as it “stimulates the body’s energy and helps in recovery from fatigue and dispiritedness.”
What conditions can black cumin seed help address?
- Cancer. Black cumin seed has potent anti-oxidant properties and these are thought to be behind the cancer prevention properties demonstrated in animal studies. In vitro and animal studies also show inhibition and reduction of tumor growth in various types of cancer including blood, breast, colon, pancreatic, liver, lung, skin, kidney, prostate and cervix. There are also demonstrated benefits as an adjunctive to chemotherapy in humans—for instance, black cumin seed shows a potential ability to decrease the incidence of side effects in children with brain tumors who are on chemotherapy. Its active component, thymoquinone, sensitizes brain cancer cells to chemotherapy, making treatment more effective.
- Heart Disease and Diabetes. Black cumin seed favorably affects several parameters related to heart disease risk including lowering total and LDL cholesterol, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, reducing plaque formation. It also reduces blood glucose, as well as diabetic-associated complications such as neuropathy.
- Infections. Black cumin seed is a potent antimicrobial with the ability to fight bacteria, parasites, fungi and even viruses. It has demonstrated activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the strain of bacteria that is difficult to treat and resistant to antibiotics. Black cumin seed even reduces viral load and improves other markers in patients with hepatitis C.
- Neurological Conditions. Black cumin seed has been shown in in vitro and animal studies to be protective of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury. Learning and memory is also improved in animals given black cumin seed. Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties are thought to be responsible for this effect.
- Immune Disorders. Black cumin seed has been shown helpful in autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and rheumatoid arthritis, and also allergic asthma, sinusitis, and eczema. In a 2018 placebo-controlled clinical trial, anti-TPO antibodies reduced from an average 295 to 148 (IU/ml, p=0.019) and TSH decreased from 6.42 to 4.13 (mIU/l, p-0.03) in patients receiving 2g/d powdered black cumin seed for 8 weeks. For a deeper dive into the application of black cumin seed for asthma and allergy, evidenced by several human studies, you’ll want to read our recent article by CDP colleague Sezelle Gereau, Functional otolaryngologist: Consider Nigella Sativa for Asthma and Allergy.
- Pain. Black cumin seed oil, applied topically, is better than moderate dosing of oral acetaminophen (paracetamol) at reducing pain from knee osteoarthritis. Oral black cumin seed oil also has general analgesic effects, according to animal studies.
What Form to Take? Seed or Oil? And How Much?
In human clinical trials, dosages of 1-3 grams of black cumin seed powder has been used (orally) for up to 12 months. 2 months is recommended before checking on changes to cholesterol or blood glucose management. Black cumin seed oil is used orally at doses up to 5 mL or 40 mg per kg for up to 8 weeks for therapeutic effects. Topical use, for example for knee osteoarthritis, has included 1 mL applied locally three times per day.
Tell us – have you been using black cumin seed oil? Will you start using it? Add your comments below.
Our Nutrition Resident, Jim Wilday, contributed to this article. This personal note is from Jim: I have been including 1 tsp of black cumin seed oil in a morning smoothie for better than three years. There are lots of health-giving ingredients in this drink so it’s difficult to distinguish with pinpoint accuracy, what black cumin seed’s effects are for me. My sense is that it improves my energy and alertness throughout the day and has allowed me to sleep through the night without interruption. My interest in doing additional research was piqued when learning of a patient whose list of unwanted symptoms all disappeared when taking black cumin seed and promptly returned when he discontinued usage. I promptly went to the U.S. Library of Medicine database, PubMed, and did a search on “black cumin seed oil”. It returned 1,069 peer-reviewed scientific studies.
Jim’s bio – Jim Wilday MS has a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from University of Bridgeport and is a certified health and wellness coach by Real Balance Global Wellness Services. He is currently working toward Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) licensure. Prior to enrollment in the Functional Nutrition Residency Program (FNRP) under Dr. Kara Fitzgerald ND, Jim was interning within a New Jersey practice specializing in nutrition counseling and chiropractic care. Jim’s prior career was as both a direct sales and management executive selling high-end software solutions primarily to the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industry. Having had a serious interest in natural healthcare for decades, he is excited and inspired by the quantum leap forward in healthcare that he recognizes Functional Medicine to represent and is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the FNRP.
I found this a great supplement to catch the beginnings of an infestation with an intestinal parasite. In young primary school children, after three days of slight anal itching around bedtime, you start thinking how to avert an oncoming suspected threadworm infestation… I recommend one capsule Black Seed Oil daily for at least three weeks. The symptoms should clear after a few days but treatment needs to be continued for another fortnight to catch any unhatched eggs.
I and a friend of mine have both found topical black seed oil to be very helpful in the treatment of psoriasis.
So what is the dosage recommendation for black cumin?
Dosage should be personalized to each individual. Research shows that 1-3 grams of black cumin seed powder used orally daily is safe for up to 12 months. The oil is dosed based on weight at 5 mL or 40 mg per kg for up to 8 weeks. The recommendation is to check changes to cholesterol or blood glucose at 2 months and make dose adjustments as needed. Be sure to work with a practitioner trained in herbals and Functional Medicine to manage cholesterol and diabetes.
That dosage is almost half a litre a day for a 80 kg person. That sounds seriously high. I’ve been using a teaspoon every evening for a year. There would be an explosion.
I saw a few worms in my puppy’s poop, 2 weeks after he had a chemical treatment. Since I wasn’t sure he could start a new treatment so early, I researched a natural treatment. The only thing I had was my daughter’s black seed (whole), which an article adviced 1/2 tsp. I used it yesterday morning. Eek, last night he pooped an enormous amount of worms. I was in a panic until I remembered I gave him black seed. I gave him some again this morning. It seems to be really eliminating the worms, because I have never seen so many in an animal’s poop. I am now going to try it for my kids’ allergies, intestinal problems and my autoimmune problems.
Great article. Indeed, nigella sativa is often used in Islamic medicine. The quote about nigella sativa being a cure for everything except death comes from the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). Al-Bukhari documented authentic Hadith (i.e. narrations of the Prophet), but he is not the originator of the statement.
I started taking the oil about a month ago, I have candida, extreme fatigue and muscle aches. My immune system is compromised. I take every supplement out there…..the oil has a lot of calories so I’ve been searching to find out about the seeds. Leaky gut is so difficult to heal. I take L-Glutamine every morning. Wondering which is better oil or seeds? or both
I read about Black Seed from a grocery store booklet, glad I did.
I have been diagnosed with endometrial carsinoma, serous carsinoma. I have had a full hysterectomy and almost ready for my 3rd chemo. Then 5 weeks of radiation then 3 more chemos. I was wondering if either the seeds or the oils may help me? I have read where they help some cancers. I would really like your opinion on this to figure out which would be more beneficial for me. Thank you
Yes I’ve been taking Black cumin for 8 months and can’t believe how it’s changed my life I started for help with pre diabetes (type 2) and it’s done so much more my panic attacks are gone had a tumor on right shoulder gone COPD Haven’t had to use in hailer in 8 months blood pressure is normal for first time since I was 20 turning 50 in March I take the capsules started taking 6 a day now take 3 a day
How much do you use and what form? Your story is Amazing! I too have multiple issues you spoke of… Any help would be appreciated 😁❤🌱
I started consumung the seed, nit the seed oil, about a week ago. I see so much about the oil and hardly anything about the whole seed.
Because of this article I have started using the black seed oil topically for tennis elbow pain and shoulder burn due to over use from my work. I have also recommended it for acne clients and topical relief from inflammation and pain. Acne clients have seen improvement in healing time and I have experienced relief for my muscle and nerve pain. My mom is currently under the care of a Natural Path Doctor and is working on some cholesterol issues. Currently they have her on Red Rice Yeast and waiting to retest to see results of use. I would like to see them move her on the the Black Seed oil and see what her results are.
I think you need to recheck your dosage recommendations.
My husband gets gas problems if he takes it regularly. It it natural? I boil the (1/4 of a teaspoon) powder in 1 cup of water for him to consume.
I’m very very excited about this informaton I unfortanately have a few health issue to see the results of the seeds or oil..
Hi I have been dealing with atrial fibrillation for about six weeks right now. For the last month I have had diastolic readings above 100. After three doses of black cumin seed in the form of a tablet from standard process along with a couple of other supplements my blood pressure basically dropped 25 points. The systolic readings too low at 105 and 110 but I was glad to see my diastolic readings drop to between 92 and 78. I of course have been on blood pressure medication and have been for 10 years. This has been absolutely dramatic!
Which SP is this? I cannot find it! Please
How much should I give teen 15 yr old who is nervous, stressed and anxious? In tsp please And how much yo take for respiratory problems for adult.
Dosage should be personalized by age, weight, and condition while keeping in mind other contributing factors like diet, lifestyle, supplements, and medications as part of a comprehensive Functional Medicine approach. These sound like they are somewhat complex cases if possible work with a FxMed trained practitioner to help guide.
I have been using black caraway seeds for 2months and I one week my allergies have gone away. I live in San Antonio and work in Boerne,Texas and the mountain cedar there is always high. I have yet to suffer from the dripping nose and headache caused from that. The area Hassan abundance of oak trees that during the fall the Oak falling leaves would also affect me. All I need to take in the morning on an empty stomach is 7 seeds and I like to chew them the taste is not bad. You can take them in whole with some water as well. Then 7 more seeds before bed and wake up great. My 5 year old son suffered from runny nose and ear infections and has not had any since given the seeds.
Have u used the caraway seeds on cumin seeds?
I started using the black cumin seeds a few months ago. Oh wow are they delicious. I sprinkle them on literally everything – potato dishes – salad – avocado (Im vegan). I think they have a citrus nutty taste – but my body knows one thing – those seeds are awesome for health – and I actually crave them. Must need them. Try them – you’ll love them.
I thought black cumin seed was totally different from black seed nigella sativa. You give the impression they are the same, is that correct?
They are basically the same thing and have many names. Black cumin, nigella sativa, black seed, kalonji, black caraway are all names for the same plant and its seeds, the one you are actually looking for ;-). Not to be confused with Nigella damascena, which is mainly an ornamental beautiful flower, but should be enjoyed only as a decoration in your garden.
I chewed some seeds today for the second time, i feel energized to work.
Thanks for the information. My black cuman power arrived today and I plan to start using it momentarily.
Black Seed has many benefits but need to establishing their efficacy and safety. against COVID-19 through clinical trials. Learn more on the WHO website. Advice for the public.
Thank you, Victoria. We would love those details if you can send us the papers and/or links. DrKF
where and how can I get black cumin seed power?
Most health food stores would carry it, at least the seed which can be ground up in an herb/coffee grinder. We also like Mountain Rose Herbs as a source for many herbals. https://mountainroseherbs.com/black-seed
I’m on CBS extract from standard process for chronic viral gastroenteritis. One of 4 supps I’m taking for it. I’m detoxing badly. We’ll see. I have a great doc who prescribed it. It’s supposed to fix everything but death.
Is black seed oil same as black cumin oil?
Black seed oil i is Nigellaa sativa as well as black caraway and black cumin, black onion seed, kalonji.
Hi! Quick question, How’s anyone taken the Black Seed with capsules. Is it ok to put the seed in capsules and take it? Or do they HAVE to be fully grounded. I took them fully grounded but don’t think they did anything for me.
Seeds are generally not fully digested by humans, so oils and extracts are usually more useful for therapeutic use.
What about black seed oil for Huntingtons disease?
Interesting question, not aware of any significant research connecting black seed oil to Huntington‘s disease one way or another.
I make tea from black cumin seeds, I was just wondering why they give you energy / stamina?
Do they contain caffeine or would it the the vitamin B that they contain?
There are no significant stimulants in black cumin that we’re aware of. They do contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals (including some B vitamins).
I usually chew the black seed and tale a glass of water twice daily.
I want to start using Black cummin oil but can it cure Amenorrhea and fibroid?
Although a couple of research studies suggest Nigella sativa oil COULD be helpful for menstrual irregularities, there is currently insufficient reliable scientific evidence to support the use of black cumin in either of those conditions. There are other options for uterine fibroids and you can read all about them in our blog here: https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2021/01/12/uterine-fibroids-mechanisms-treatment-challenges-and-the-power-of-embracing-a-functional-approach/
Excellent stuff….I find it really controls weight. I don’t fluctuate like I used to. I’ve only recently started taking the oil, I’m hoping to eliminate a lot of inflammation and hopefully cure my hashomitos. I can’t say enough about black cumin.
My voice was gone and I started drinking black seed oil and within two days my voice was back
This is not a common, this is the question I have :
Can I take Black Cumin seed ( Nigella Sativa ) instead of calcium supplement?
It truly depends on your individual needs and nutrient status. It is best to work with a Functional Medicine practitioner to find out what is best for you.
I just started using black cumin seeds, ground with a nut grinder, for migraines. I had chronic migraines until I switched to a whole food plant based diet almost two years ago, and that reduced them from 18-20 per month down to 4-6, so I’m fairly sure it’s a systemic inflammation response. I’m hoping that adding the seeds will help eliminate them altogether. Right now, I’m taking one teaspoon at night before bed. If I have no negative reaction after one week, I may increase that to twice a day.
Most definitely I hear it dose alot
I just started taking it the last 2 days ,I really burp it after I take it,(take 1/2 teas.) I have a broken back T5 vertibra ,and Multiple Myeloma.
Do you think 1/2 teaspoon can still provide some health benefits, for fatty liver?
Im planning to buy an 8oz bottle of one of these, any brand you recommend?