After over 1000 years and hundreds of studies, science is bearing witness to the truthfulness and accuracy of what the prophet said about the black seed.
The black seed has been used as a remedy and health- promoting food by people living in South East Asia, Middle East and the Far East for thousands of years.
References to curative black cumin in the Bible are thought to be referring to black seed ( though black cumin can also refer to an entirely different plant and some experts frown upon the use of black cumin to refer to black seed).
Greek and Roman physicians such as Hippocrates, Dioscorides and Galen were also aware of the healing properties of the black seed and have both used and written about it.
The Melanthion, as it is called in Greek, was used for a wide range of ailments including digestive problems, snake and scorpion stings, headache and toothache, to name but few. It was also used for strengthening the liver by hippocrates.
Similarly, black seed’s healing abilities were known to ancient Egyptians. Presence of black seeds in King Tutankhamun’s tomb as one of the items worthy to be taken to the afterlife (so they believed) indicates how popular and treasured these seeds were to them.
Therefore, the prophet () was not the first to point out the healing power and health benefits of black seed.
But the prophet () was the first and the only one to pinpoint in a short and concise yet extraordinary and miraculous statement the health benefits of the Black seed: “… It is a cure for every disease except death”.
This statement is a good example of the unique ability Allah has given the prophet (May Allah`s peace and blessings be upon him) :conveying complex information with minimal wording.
With that very short statement, the prophet (May Allah`s peace and blessings be upon him) summed up all that could be said about the health benefits of the Black seed.
What is also remarkable about this magnificent statement is its clarity and lack of vagueness. Because of this it lends itself to be proven wrong or right.
After extensive research and hundreds of studies spanning over couple of decades, the scientific accuracy of the prophet’s statement cannot be disputed. It is now scientifically clear that black seeds have indeed the potential to cure any disease.
The most abundant constituent of black seed, thymoquinone (TQ), is now greatly investigated by scientists for its therapeutic potential in a wide range of diseases. It is likely that drugs containing this substance will be developed in the near future, as recommended by many researchers.
A cure-all but…
As the prophet () said and proven by research, black seed has the potential to cure any disease.
However, just like any other treatment, results can vary on a case by case basis. From environment to diet and psychology, many factors influence the response of the body to a given treatment. Proven treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy for cancer, for example, all fail to yield desired results from time to time: some people respond to treatment better than others.
Even though the black seed have the potential to remedy all diseases, the time taken for and the extent of recovery depends on other factors. Under optimal conditions the black seeds can single handedly cure any disease. On other times combining it with other remedies is required to achieve faster and more effective results
Seed is the best
Three options are available for those who want to improve their health with black seed : using the seeds themselves, the oil squeezed from the seeds or powder extract of the seeds such that is found in supplements.
Although you are bound to receive immense health benefits from using black seed oil or black seed powder extract, you have to be aware that using seeds has unique advantages over the other methods and is the best way to obtain maximum health benefits from this amazing herb.
First and foremost, the prophet (May Allah`s peace and blessings be upon him) praised and recommended black seeds, not its oil or any other derivative of the seeds. Strictly speaking, the prophetic guarantee of it being having a cure for every disease except death applies only when using seeds, and the sunnah can not be held accountable for lack of good results when using other black seed products.
The distinction between the original natural form of any food – be it fruits, vegetables, or seeds- and the products obtained from them through further processing is one recognised and established scientifically. It is also dictated by common sense and intuition : you would not expect drinking apple juice to be the same thing as eating an apple. This very much applies in the case of black seed.
lack seeds contain many nutrients and chemicals that work synergistically (together) to deliver health and nourishment to the body. These nutrients exist in each seed in a specific concentrations and ratio. For instance, 30-40% of a seed is oil and so on.
Because of this balanced and natural mix of chemicals , seeds are much safer than the oil form and more effective than the extract.
Not only does some of the nutrients are lost In the process of obtaining black seed oil or powder extract, but also the original chemical makeup of the seeds is disrupted, with the end products having slight chemical differences to the seeds.
This change in the original natural chemical makeup brings with it problems, not so much with the powder extract as It is with black seed oil.
Black seed oil is highly concentrated and should be used sparingly. It is a type of essential oil and can cause toxicity if used in large quantities. It is also more likely to provoke allergic reactions in first time users than seeds or powder extract.
Having said that , Black seed oil is highly potent and powerful health enhancing substance. In fact, almost all the available studies showing black seeds health benefits used the oil form rather than the seeds as this was more convenient. Chemical analysis have shown that the oil is also rich in thymoquinone, which is thought to be the source of the health improvement abilities of the black seed. This clearly indicates that black seed oil retains most of the miraculous properties of black seed.
Also using black seed oil or powder is often more convenient and time-saving than using seeds. It is because of this reason that researchers often use black seed oil in studies, as experimental animals can just be injected with it, avoiding the need to devise a way to feed animals with the seeds.
Most importantly, the oil can be used externally on the skin and hair. As well as being a remedy for many skin disorders, black seed oil is also renowned for nourishing skin and hair and keeping them look their best. As an added benefit, after application the oil gets absorbed into the stream yielding body-wide health benefits, albeit not as great as when taken orally.
Research have demonstrated that black seed and its oil contain many important health promoting nutrients. Take a look at what is in this awesome nutritional powerhouse while keeping in mind that these little amazing seeds contain around 100 different compounds some of which ( around 30) are not even identified yet.
At least 8 different types of essential unsaturated fatty acids Including Omega-6 , Omega-3 and oleic acid ( found also in olive oil).
Protein in the form of 15 different amino acids including 9 essential ones.
At least 4 different types of carbohydrates including glucose, xylose, rhamnose and arabinose.
Several important minerals including calcium, sodium, potassium and iron.
Vitamins, particularly the B complex vitamins such as Thiamin (B1) Riboflavin (B2) and folic acid (B9)
At least 7 different plant sterols including cholesterol and beta-sitosterol.
Quinones, mostly thymoquinone (TQ) which is thought to be responsible for black seed’s health benefits. TQ is currently the object of much research by scientists, especially in its potential to be developed into a cancer drug.
In short black seed contains the most essential nutrients to regenerate, strengthen and repair the building blocks of the human body, the cells. Through this, black seeds breathes vitality and resilience into the body, making it in a good position to ward off and recover from illnesses.
20 scientifically proven health benefits of black seed
Combination of animal and human studies have shown that black seeds possess many therapeutic and pharmacological effects. In other words, black seeds do similar and often the same job as that of many medical drugs combined, but without any side effects.
All the following pharmacological effects have been demonstrated experimentally by scientists using either black seeds, black seed oil or thymoquinone on animal or human subjects.
These benefits can be obtained using black seeds themselves or black seed oil. In fact, most of the health benefits below were actually established experimentally using only thymoquinone extract, the main active constituent of black seed. Fortunately, black seed oil is also rich in thymoquinone.
Black seed extracts have been shown to strengthen the immune system and improve the ability of macrophages (a type of white blood cells) to attack invaders. Function of T and natural killer (NK) cells is also enhanced.
As the immune system is the body’s defence against illnesses, this effect alone would have explained how black seeds can cure all diseases.
3 in 1 Antimicrobial
Studies have shown that thymoquinone prevents at least 11 different types of bacteria from forming bacterial biofilm, a necessary step for colonising and infecting the human body. Other studies have also shown black seed oil to be effective against the most stubborn and drug resistant bacteria including MRSA.
On top of this ability, black seed is found to be effective against both the other two types of disease- causing microorganisms : viruses and fungi.
Black seed was shown to have antiparasitic activity with an ability to annihilate tapeworms and schistosomes ( the flatworm that causes bilharzia).
This is one of the most well established benefits of black seed with evidence from many studies.
Black seed plays significant role in the prevention of cancer. Animal experiments demonstrated that thymoquinone acts as an anti mutation agent with significant genoprotective effects.
DNA is the brain of cells and cancer can not take place without harmful DNA change (mutation) occurring first as cancerous cells require different brain that gives independence to grow uncontrollably and harm other body cells.
Many researchers recommend combining black seed extract, thymoquinone, with conventional chemotherapy for better treatment results and to reduce the toxicity of cancer drugs on the body.
As well as preventing cancer in the first place, black seed is also able to deal with cancer once it has taken place. It shrinks existing tumours and prevents cancer spread and metastasis by inhibiting ability of cancer cells to grow blood vessels and increase their number in what is known as angiogenesis and proliferation respectively.
Inflammation is a natural process that occurs constantly within our bodies. Some degree of inflammation is always present, even when we are not ill. However, keeping inflammation to a minimum is crucial for good health.
Asthma and rheumatoid arthritis are extreme examples of how inflammation can wreak havoc upon the body. But some degree of inflammation exists in all ailments including minor ones. Day to day life stresses also have inflammation associated with it.
Black seed and its oil are found to possess potent anti inflammatory properties. Asthma is one of the diseases where inflammation plays major role in. One clinical trial on 29 asthma sufferers observed a significant reduction in asthma symptoms and frequency of attacks following administration of black seed extract over 3 months period. Pulmonary (lung) function tests also showed significant improvements.
Research has shown that one way black seed fights inflammation is by suppressing proinflammation chemicals called prostaglandins and leukotrienes.
Antioxidants are known for their anti inflammatory effects. Black seed is rich in antioxidants and this is another way that black seed combats inflammation.
Not only does black seed strengthens the immune system, but it also modulates its activity. This means it either decreases or boosts its activity as needed.
The immune system is highly volatile system that can misjudge the degree of activity required. In extreme cases of overactivity, it attacks the body itself, causing a range of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes. Immune system overdrive is also thought to be involved to a smaller degree in less extreme illnesses such as asthma. The ability of black seed to suppress or promote immune system activity as required makes it a double action immune system remedy suitable for all individuals regardless of their level of immunity.
Drugs used to control and prevent convulsions from epilepsy and seizures are referred to as anticonvulsant. These drugs are also often used for keeping some psychological disorders such as bipolar under control.
Black seed have been shown to exert calming effects on the brain. It normalises the nervous system signalling within the brain, making it good for preventing epileptic seizures and convulsions. One study found black seed to be more effective in this regard than valproate, the traditional anticonvulsant drug.
Anti-anxiety and antidepressant
Tests on the brains of rats fed with black seed oil showed increased levels of serotonin. A type of natural chemical messengers produced by the body, serotonin promotes positive mood and feelings of calmness and stability.
Elevated plus maze and forced swimming tests are two standard tests used by researchers to investigate effects of different substances on anxiety and depression using animals as subjects.
Animals given a daily dose of black seed oil for four weeks performed well in both tests, indicating the anxiolytic (anti anxiety) properties of black seed.
In agreement with modern research findings, the pioneering Muslim physician whose book “Canon of medicine” remained the main medical text in Europe until the 17th century, Ibn Sina (Avericia as he was known in the West) stated that black seed stimulates the body’s energy and helps in recovery from fatigue and dispiritedness.
Neurons are the cells that make up the nervous system. Concentrated in the brain and spinal cord mainly, they are the functional units of the nervous system responsible for processing and storing the information that makes us alive.
Experiments using black seed oil and thymoquinone showed that black seed protects neurons from degeneration and even promotes formation of new neurons in a what is known as neurogenesis.
This makes it effective against the natural degradation of brain neurons as part of the aging process and the diseases that accompany it such as Parkinson’s and dementia.
Protects and improves memory
Specific neurons in the brain facilitate learning and other cognitive skills such as memory. Therefore, any substance with neuroprotective properties would be beneficial for improving all brain functions including memory.
But as well as its neuroprotective activities, research shows black seed enhances memory and thinking in other ways.
Black seed is rich in flavonoids. Studies show that flavonoids are able to induce improvements in thinking, learning and memory.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals used by the nervous system to trigger certain activities in the brain and relay messages in other parts of the nervous system. The neurotransmitter Acetylcholine is used to promote memory, learning, thinking as well as positive mood. Neurotransmitters are short lived molecules and are destroyed by enzymes soon after they do their initial job.
Studies have shown that several of the chemicals present in black seed such as thymoquinone, thymol and carvacrol inhibit the process which leads to the destruction of Acetylcholine. This means there would be more acetylcholine molecules in the brain with more lifespan to trigger changes that enhance memory and thinking abilities.
Negative emotions are known to be detrimental to mental clarity and good memory. Black seed’s anti anxiety and calming properties further improve memory and thinking abilities.
Research shows black seed lowers blood pressure. One human study on people suffering from mild hypertension showed that administering black seed extract for 2 months reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
Histamines are chemicals that trigger immune system reactions to help the body rid itself of allergens. Histamines are involved in almost all allergies and allergic reaction type diseases such as asthma.
Black seed is proven to counteract effects of histamine overdrive, the root cause of allergies.
Black seed keeps blood sugar levels stable and prevents it from spiking up by reducing glucose absorption at the intestines, stimulating insulin release from the pancreas and making muscle and liver cells more sensitive to insulin so they use up more glucose. These effects are also likely to help with weight loss, as an added bonus.
Reduces cholesterol and fat
Experiments with black seed oil and thymoquinone have shown that black seed reduces amounts of Low Density Cholesterol (LDL), the bad type, while increasing amounts of High Density Cholesterol (HDL), the good type.
Alongside other potentially harmful lipids, levels of triglyceride (TG) , the main component of fatty tissue in humans, were also found to drop down.
These effects are beneficial for the health of the body as a whole but more so for heart and circulatory system.
As well as indirectly combating obesity via a number of different mechanisms such as promoting a better uptake of glucose by muscles and reducing cholesterol and fat levels, black seed is found to decrease food intake, the root cause of obesity.
In one experiment, 25% decrease in food intake for rats fed with black seed oil for four weeks was observed. Another study reported significant decreases in body weight of diabetic rats following treatment with 300mg of black seed extract per day for 30 days.
One of the limited human studies on the topic used 50 obese men as subjects. Reduced waist and hip sizes as well as overall body weight was observed after consuming 3 grams of black seed powder everyday for three months.
Atherosclerosis occurs when arteries become narrowed due to buildup of a plaques, a mixture of fatty substances such as cholesterol and other cellular debris inside them.
As well as combating the major risk factors for atherosclerosis such as diabetes and obesity, black seeds also prevent the formation of plaques.
One study reported black seed oil to be better than aspirin in preventing platelets, a type of blood cells responsible for clotting, from sticking together and forming a clot in what is known as platelet aggregation. This reduces the risk for diseases such as stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolism (PE), which all occur when a blood clot interrupts normal blood flow.
Maintains healthy heart
On top of maintaining heart health indirectly through the prevention of atherosclerosis, lowering bad cholesterol levels, protecting blood vessels from damage and combating diseases which can damage heart health such as diabetes and high blood pressure, black seed also protects the heart tissue itself from toxins.
Cyclosporine A, used after transplant surgery and in treatment of autoimmune disorders and Cyclophosphamide, used in chemotherapy are two common drugs known to have toxic side effects on the heart. In two separate studies, researchers demonstrated that thymoquinone, not only protects the heart and limits toxic damage, but can also reverse any previous harmful changes that have occurred.
Additionally, studies show that black seed affects the heart in a similar way that exercise does, increasing and enhancing its function. It moderately enlarges the heart and enhances its contractions. Researchers also believe it can improve heart energy production by improving the function of mitochondria, the cells’ power station where energy is produced. All this effects makes the heart stronger and more resilient to demanding and stressful work loads.
Excessive heart enlargement is unhealthy and hinders the heart from doing its job properly. This normally occurs after sustained periods of high heart rate and extra contractions due to disease or just extra workload on the heart. Miraculously, black seed also prevents this from happening.
Different studies found black seed to inhibit unhealthy heart rate and contractions. Diltiazem is a drug used for controlling unhealthy heart rhythm in cases of heart attack and other heart disorders. Lab experiments on isolated hearts from Guinea pigs showed black seed to have a comparable or even higher effect than Diltiazem.
Thymoquinone from black seed is shown to have strong and effective pain relief capabilities. It was shown to significantly reduce writhing in rats injected with acid and is seen by researchers as a promising pain reliever for arthritis, especially given its anti inflammatory properties.
The liver is the body’s purification plant and works around the clock to clean and neutralise toxins and harmful substances. As it is on the front line of this battle, It is vulnerable to damage and injury, especially with an unhealthy lifestyle.
Experiments on rats have shown that black seeds protect the liver tissue from damage and injury. Rats given thymoquinone were found to have less liver injury than others after both groups were made to consume toxic substances.
Evidence from experiments shows that black seed protects the stomach and bowel lining from injury and damage which often subsequently leads to ulcers.
Reduced acid secretion, one of the main causes of stomach ulcers, was observed with rats fed thymoquinone extract as well as less gastric surface erosions and ulcers.
Histamine is involved in gastric ulcer formation after it is released following injury. On the contrary, antioxidants are known to help prevent ulcers and speed healing. Black seed is rich in antioxidants and is antihistamine, which makes it effective in speeding up the healing of any injuries and preventing it from developing into an ulcer.
As well as alcohol (which isn’t a Muslim’s concern), excessive consumption of spicy foods and pain killers are major factors which can aggravate gastric injuries and contribute to ulcer development. Stress and anxiety are also thought to do the same.