It’s thought that at least 9 million of us use complementary or alternative medicine to help support our wellness goals.1
However, it can be challenging to know the right approach to trying herbal or natural remedies. If you’re a regular visitor to your local health food store, you might have noticed black seed oil on the shelves. If you’re wondering whether this herbal supplement is right for you, we’ve got everything you need to know about black seed oil below.
What is black seed oil?
Black seed oil is made from the Nigella sativa plant, which is a flowering shrub that produces fruit with tiny black seeds. The plant is native to Asia, the Middle East, and Southern Europe.
Black seeds go by a variety of different names. These include black cumin, black caraway, nigella, fennel flower, and Roman coriander. We often use these seeds in cooking, but they can be pressed into an oil too.2 The black seed oil has a variety of reported health benefits, which is what it is used for most.3
Benefits of black seed oil
There’s a long-established belief that black seed oil is a ‘panacea’ or universal healer. Of course, it’s essential to take that with a pinch of salt. However, there are some reported black seed oil benefits.
These might include:
- Aiding breathing difficulties4
- Supporting weight loss5
- Stabilising blood sugar levels6
- Reducing cholesterol7
- Lowering blood pressure8
- Supporting brain health9
- Skin health10
The uses and benefits of black seed oil are not wholly proven. It’s essential to proceed with caution, especially if you have an underlying health condition. If you are experiencing symptoms or have a particular health concern, it’s best to speak to your doctor first.
Whether you’re sprinkling black seeds onto bread or adding them a curry, it’s unlikely that you will experience adverse symptoms from using them in the kitchen.11
However, this could be different if you choose to take black seed supplements or ingest a lot of black seed oil. There’s limited research about how taking large amounts for a long time will interact with the body.
There are some reported side-effects too. These may include:
- Kidney problems14
Black seed oil may also interact with certain medications.15 There’s also no research into how these supplements may react if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. With this in mind, it will be essential to speak to your doctor before using them in your health routine.
Recommended usage amount
Black seed supplements are available in pill, capsule, and liquid forms. You can ingest this supplement or use it topically as a natural skin care product. The exact dosage amount isn’t always precise, so it’s usually best to follow the instructions on your chosen product.
It’s worth remembering that supplements aren’t regulated like medicines are. Always try to choose products that have fewer added ingredients to be sure you’re using a reputable product.16
Last updated: 31 March 2021