Reducing inflammation and speeding weight loss are just two of the benefits of black cumin oil, which immediately makes us wonder, “Why are we just now hearing about this amazing superfood?” This supplement is finally starting to get the attention it deserves, so here’s why you need to pick a bottle for yourself.
What is black cumin oil?
Black cumin oil, also called black cumin seed oil, kalonji oil, or nigella sativa oil, comes from the plant Nigella sativa. This beautiful flowering plant originated in Southwest Asia, and black cumin oil is commonplace in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
Despite its recent rise in popularity, black cumin oil has been used for centuries. Nigella seeds were mentioned in the Old Testament as a cure for “anything but death,” and King Tut was even buried with some.
Uses for Black Cumin Oil
There are many uses for black cumin oil, including as an ingredient in curries, salad dressings, and smoothies. It has an bitter, peppery taste, that has been compared to burned onion, sesame, and poppy seeds that fall off an everything bagel. (That sounds delicious to us!) You only need one to three tablespoons per day, so think of it more as an aromatic oil, not a cooking oil.
Applying black cumin oil topically is also popular. One common method is to use black cumin oil for hair regrowth treatments. Black cumin oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that maintain scalp health by soothing irritating skin conditions like eczema and dandruff. It also contains the antihistamines nigellone and thymoquinone. People suffering from androgenic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness) or alopecia areata (patchy hair loss) often take antihistamines to regrow their thinning hair. Massaging black cumin oil into the scalp is a simple way to absorb those same antihistamines without having to be prescribed medication.
Black cumin oil is also available in capsule form for those who aren’t cooking with it or applying it topically. You can purchase it online ($14.97 for 120 gel capsules, Amazon) or at a specialty store.
Black Cumin Oil Benefits
Perhaps the most appealing benefit of black cumin oil is that it may help with weight loss. A study published in the June 2015 issue of Food & Function looked at what effects giving obese women nigella sativa oil (black cumin oil) had on their body weight and metabolism. Participants who received black cumin oil saw their weight and waist circumference “decreased significantly” compared to women in the placebo group.
That said, you can’t just chug black cumin oil and expect to lose weight. The reason this superfood works is likely that it deals with the underlying problems that cause obesity, like inflammation. Think of black cumin oil as a weight-loss tool rather than your primary method of weight loss.
If you suffer from acne and scarring, multiple studies have found that black cumin oil may be beneficial in preventing future breakouts and clearing up existing acne scars. A November 2017 review published in the Journal of Tropical Medicine cites a 2010 study published in the Iraqi Postgraduate Medical Journal that found that using a 20-percent concentration of nigella sativa oil worked better and had fewer side effects than a five-percent benzoyl peroxide lotion.
Whether you’re looking for a certain bite in your salad dressing or you’re desperately searching for a natural remedy for thinning hair, why not give black cumin oil a try?
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.