By Michael A. Smith, MD
We’ve said it once and well say it again: Inflammation is the common denominator of all age-related disease. Unfortunately, the typical American diet, often consisting of red meat, dairy products, and fried foods tends to fuel the flames of inflammation.
So, naturally, the best thing people can do is change their diets. If easing inflammation is your goal (and it should be), more greens, dark colored fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and cold-water fish are the foods to eat.
But we also acknowledge that making dietary changes can be hard and takes time. This is where anti-inflammatory nutrients can be so valuable.
If you’re not already doing so, start taking omega-3 fats. You may also want to consider boswellia since an extract of its sap eases inflammation as well.
However, there’s a new nutrient making research headlines: black cumin seed oil. When extracted from 100% organic, non-GMO, cold-pressed black cumin seeds, the oil has profound anti-inflammatory effects. Let’s take a look at the research.
Black Cumin Seed Oil Improves Inflammation
Black cumin seed oil was administered to 40 women diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis — a highly inflammatory disease. They were given two placebo capsules daily for one month, followed by 500 mg twice-a-day of cold-pressed black cumin seed extract.1
The researchers measured the participants Disease Activity Score (DAS-28) — an assessment of disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis patients. It is commonly used in clinical trials and in rheumatology practices. The higher the DAS score, the worse the disease.
After the study subjects received black cumin seed extract, the researchers noted a significant decrease in DAS-28 compared with the placebo phase of the trial. Similarly, the number of swollen joints and the duration of morning stiffness improved.1
Black Cumin Seed Oil Helps Nasal Allergies Subside
Sixty-six people were recruited for a double-blind clinical trial to test the effectiveness of black cumin seed oil on nasal allergies. The researchers tested the levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies during an allergic reaction.2
At the start of the study, total IgE levels were reported in all participants and 38 of them had levels greater than 100. After treatment, 59 of the participants had no IgE detected, and no participant had levels above 100. The change in itching and nasal congestion significantly improved.2
Black Cumin Seed Oil Enhances T-cell Immune Activity
An active component of black cumin seed oil is thymoquinone. It boosts survival and activity of other key cells in the immune response to infection or cancer, namely CD-8 T-cells.
These cells are the “field troops” that actively hunt down and kill infected or cancerous cells after activation by T-helper and macrophage cells. This activity, known as “conditioning,” amplifies the effectiveness of these vital immune system cells against cancer and infectious diseases.3
These effects appear in humans treated with black cumin seed oil as well, according to a study presented at a recent international conference. That study reported a 55% increase in the activity of T-helper cells and a 30% increase in natural-killer cell function following black cumin seed oil supplementation.4
Remember: Black Cumin is NOT Cumin Spice
Please don’t get the two mixed up! The culinary spice “cumin” is not the same thing as black cumin. In fact, they each come from totally different plant families.
Black cumin is from the Ranunculaceae family and is native to Southwest Asia. Cumin spice is from the Apiaceae family and is native to the eastern Mediterranean.
So why is black cumin seed oil the “next generation” anti-inflammatory nutrient to watch out for? Because it eases inflammation while at the same time enhancing the immune activity of your T-cells. Pretty interesting, isn’t it?
- Phytother Res. 2011 Dec 12. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3679.
- Am J Otolaryngol. 2011 Sep-Oct;32(5):402-7.
- Br J Biomed Sci. 2011;68(3):131-7.
- Int Immunopharmacol. 2005 Dec;5(13- 14):1749-70.
Benefits of Nigella Seed Oil
There are many benefits of Nigella seed oil, a natural remedy that has seen use in parts of the world for hundreds of years.
Nigella sativa is native to parts of southeast Asia and is called by many different names, including fennel flower, nutmeg flower, Roman coriander, blackseed and black caraway. It is also called black cumin, but it is not related to actual cumin. Like cumin, however, it is frequently used as a spice and has a bitter taste and smell. Nigella seeds are seeds from a relatively small, white flower.
Benefits of Nigella seed oil
Traditionally, Nigella sativa has held a place of honor as one of Islam’s most valued medicinal spices. By themselves, the seeds are frequently used to treat asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism and other related inflammatory diseases. They are also used to combat parasitic infections. Nigella seed oil is used to treat skin ailments, such as eczema and boils. The oil is also used to treat symptoms of the common cold, abscesses and ulcers. Current research also suggests that Nigella oil may have anticancer properties, as well. Research in guinea pigs shows that chemical compounds in Nigella seeds actually prevent bronchial spasms, so its use to treat ailments that lead to coughing is justified. Other compounds in Nigella seeds are effective for treating opioid dependence.
Nigella sativa oil is versatile and can treat many different ailments. Research into Nigella sativa oil shows it is actually effective at treating some bronchial spasms, ulcers, abscesses and tumors.