Nigella sativa, also known as kalonji seeds, black cumin, or black seeds, are the seeds of the flowering nigella sativa plants expansively grown in India.
A member of the buttercup family, these seeds are often used as flavoring in foods such as naan, curry, and dal. They are the approximate size of a sesame seed with a triangular shape and add a nutty and peppery flavor to dishes.
These seeds have a high oil content and are often made into oil for ingesting or topical use. Often touted as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments and afflictions, nigella sativa is becoming more popular among naturalists and practitioners of homeopathy.
Health Benefits of Nigella sativa
The following slides will detail some of the most effective health benefits of nigella sativa.
1. Manages Blood Pressure
Though some individuals may never have symptoms of high blood pressure, many will deal with severe headaches, nosebleeds, anxiety, throbbing pulse, and shortness of breath.
Long-term high blood pressure can have devastating effects on a patient’s health including arterial damage, heart failure, and stroke. Ingesting nigella sativa on a regular basis manages blood pressure.
In most cases, both diastolic and systolic pressures are lowered while supplementing the diet with nigella sativa. It is thought the high potassium content of black cumin helps to regulate blood pressure.
Increasing one’s dietary intake of nigella sativa can be beneficial to individuals who must closely monitor their blood pressure.
2. Lowers LDL Cholesterol
Cholesterol is necessary for the body to synthesize certain hormones, Vitamin D, and some digestive juices. It also helps the organs function properly.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is considered bad cholesterol. It is a type of fat that can build up in the bloodstream and form plaque in the arteries. This can cause the arteries to harden, and if blood flow should be cut off to the heart, the patient may suffer from a heart attack.
Nigella sativa is loaded with both poly- and monounsaturated fats that make up high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also known as the good cholesterol. This can help lower LDL cholesterol by acting as a broom and sweeping it out of the body as waste.
In long-term studies, a diet supplemented with nigella sativa decreases LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol.
3. Eases Headaches and Joint Pain
Headaches can be a nuisance or even completely debilitating with pain in the head and neck. There are numerous causes for headaches, including dehydration, stress, and infection. Likewise, joint pain can be caused by inflammation, strains, infections, and injury.
Black cumin seed eases headaches and joint pain because it is a natural analgesic. It helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Black cumin can be taken orally or applied topically in oil form.
To use topically, the patient must apply nigella sativa oil directly on the site of the pain. Relief often happens quickly allowing individuals to go about their regular daily activities once again.
4. Full of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds within certain supplements that help reduce oxidative stress inside the body caused by free radicals, which are responsible for chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Antioxidants also help to prevent the occurrences of free radicals in the body. They have been known to induce cell death in certain cancer cells.
Nigella sativa is full of antioxidant, and it is believed the compounds responsible for black seeds antioxidant properties are thymoquinone, carvacrol, t-anethole, and 4-terpineol.
Therefore, nigella sativa can be an important supplement for preventing certain diseases and repairing oxidative damage to the body’s healthy cells.
5. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
High blood sugar can lead to excess thirst, lack of focus, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue. Long-term effects of consistently high blood sugar can result in difficulties with vision, slow wound healing, and nerve damage.
Over time, high blood sugar could result in chronic illnesses like diabetes. Supplementing a balanced diet with nigella sativa helps regulate blood sugar by slowing or stopping the absorption of glucose during digestion and improving glucose tolerance.
Nigella sativa can also help enhance the insulin sensitivity of the liver cells to help prevent diabetes altogether. In studies, participants who added black seeds to their diets were able to lower both their fasting and average blood sugar levels.