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Black seed oil expert

Five ways to help you enjoy the taste of black seed oil

The tiny black seeds from the Nigella plant are used in cooking for their spicy warmth. Sometimes compared to oregano, the seeds of Nigella plant release aromatic heat that compliments breads, pizza, salads and curries. The taste of black seed oil is the same as the pungent hit you get when you crush a Nigella seed, multiplied by about seven.

black seed taste adds spiciness to cooking
For years black seeds have been adding spiciness to many cuisines

One question we get asked time and time again by newbs is how to make black seed oil palatable if you simply don’t like that taste…?

What to do if your black seed oil tastes bad?

First-things-first, ensure you have purchased pure cold pressed Nigella seed oil with non-chemical extraction. Its also best if the oil is packed in glass bottles.

If you’ve ticked all the above boxes and still cant handle the taste of black seed oil fear not! Our five-point action plan will have you gulping it down like a boss.

  1. Keep your oil in the fridge

Black seed oil kept in the fridge will not only maintain freshness but also significantly dampen the flavour of the oil as at room temperature black seed oil will give off more pungent vapours.

  1. Have something super sweet like honey straight AFTER…

A teaspoon of honey will immediately replace the taste of black seed oil your mouth. Importantly don’t have anything sweet immediately before, as this will amplify the taste of the black seed oil.

Black seed oil with honey works well
Honey goes really well with black seed oil and helps it go down easily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Hold your nose 

This one is a little bit of a cop-out but works when taking anything orally as most taste we experience is actually smell. The down side to this is you will be limiting your adaptation to the taste of black seed oil. Works well short term if you desperately need to take the oil but just cant handle the taste right now.

  1. Mix black seed oil with something really nice

This works well particularly for children. Black seed oil can be added to a bottle of sweet fresh fruit juice (apple or cranberry juice both seem particular good), milkshake or smoothie works well too. Shake the bottle really well and most kids will guzzle it down unaware!

Black seed oil mixed into fruit smoothie
Black seed oil in a smoothie – great way get kids to take it and thank you for it

Mixing up black seed oil with yoghurt works well too for masking the strong taste.

  1. Patience and perseverance…

This is really important because the effects of black seed oil are time and dose dependent, you need to stick at it. Most people will notice improvements quite quickly but the major benefits come from sustained daily use.

Like any new culinary experience our taste buds take time to adapt. If you think about some of the things humans enjoy (e.g. black coffee?!) black seed oil tastes much better.

Remember the majority of people will come to accept and even enjoy the taste of black seed oil with time especially when they start to associate it with feeling so good!

Black Seed Oil for Hay Fever

Black Seed Oil for Hay Fever?

The hay fever season is upon us and as pollen counts and tissue sales soar we review the evidence for the use of black seed oil for hay fever treatment.

Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis is the most common manifestation of atopic reactions to pollen allergens leading to uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy and stuffy nose, itchy throat and lots of sneezing. Unfortunately, these symptoms can become so extreme that it blights the summer for many of us.

There is no confirmed cure for hay fever so most sufferers use medication for symptom relief. Some of these medications have negative side effects such as drowsiness and can cause withdrawal symptoms.

Black seed oil has been utilised for its healing properties around the world for thousands of years. Today modern scientific studies have shed light on the way this powerful natural remedy affects our bodies. We know from many studies that black seed oil has modulatory effects on our immune systems up-regulating and down-regulating components. [1]

In this article we will look at studies that examined the effects of black seed (Nigella sativa) oil as a therapy in allergic rhinitis.

Study 1 – Evaluation of topical black seed oil in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. [2]

This study looked at therapeutic efficacy of black seed (Nigella sativa) oil as treatment approach for allergic rhinitis.

A total of 68 patients with allergic rhinitis were included in the study. 19 patients with mild symptoms, 28 patients with moderate symptoms and 21 patients were with severe symptoms of allergy. All patients were confirmed to have allergy through skin prick testing. Any individual with a negative skin test was excluded.

Patients were randomised into treatment and control groups. The treatment group received black seed oil and the control group vegetable oil. Participants were told to use the oil as nasal drops. Each individual applied 2 drops nasally (one in each nostril) 3 times a day for 6 weeks.

After the 6 weeks treatment course, 100% of the patients in the mild black seed  treated group became symptoms free; while in moderate black seed treated group 68.7% became symptoms free and 25% were improved; while in severe black seed treated group 58.3% became symptoms free and 25% were improved. Overall, 92.1% of total patients in the treated group demonstrated improvement in their symptoms or were symptoms free, while the corresponding value was 30.1% in the vegetable oil group. This was a highly statistically significant result.

The symptom most improved by treatment with black seed oil was nasal drip, followed by nasal itching, sneezing, nasal congestion and improvement of sleep. The only side effect of systemic black seed oil topical treatment was reported as nasal dryness (17.8%) in the treatment group.

The authors concluded that topical application of black seed oil as nose drops are effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, with only minimal side effects.

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Study 2 – Effect of Nigella sativa (black seed) on subjective feeling in patients with allergic diseases. [3]

A paper published from Institute for Transfusion Medicine, Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany examined the results of four studies on the clinical efficacy of black seed (Nigella sativa) oil.

The study included  a total of 152 patients with allergic diseases (allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, atopic eczema). All received a treatment protocol with black seed oil.

Patients were given capsules of black seed oil at a dose of 40 to 80 mg/kg/day. Patients were asked to subjectively score severity of allergy symptoms using a predefined symptom scale.

The allergy symptoms score decreased over the course of treatment with black seed oil in all four studies for all allergic diseases.

The paper concluded that black seed oil proved to be an effective adjuvant for the treatment of allergic diseases.

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Study 3 – Herbal treatment of allergic rhinitis: the use of Nigella sativa. [4]

This study examined the symptomatic effect of black seed oil on allergic rhinitis symptoms in patients.

Characteristics of the disease, including nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy nose, and sneezing attacks, were evaluated at the start of the study and up to the end of the study (day 30) an observer completed the symptoms severity questionnaire.

A total of 66 patients with allergic rhinitis, were included (22 males (33.3%) and 44 females (66.7%)). The mean age of participants was 47 years.

The results showed that black seed oil reduces the presence of the nasal mucosal congestion, nasal itching, runny nose, sneezing attacks, turbinate (nasal mucosal) hypertrophy, and mucosal pallor during the first 2 weeks (day 15).

These findings are consistent with existing evidence of the anti-allergic effects of Nigella sativa seed oil and components and the beneficial effects in allergic rhinitis. The authors concluded that black seed oil should be considered for treating allergic rhinitis.

Conclusions

The three studies were conducted on humans with allergy and have found statistically significant clinical benefit in treating allergic rhinitis (hay fever) with black seed oil both by oral intake and topical application as nose drops.

The benefits seen are likely to be due to the effects of black seed oil on modulating the immune response [1]  and also its anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine effects.[5]

This modern scientific evidence backs some of the traditional and ancient uses of black seed oil still practiced around the world today.

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[1] Majdalawieh AF, Fayyad MW. Immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory action of Nigella sativa and thymoquinone: A comprehensive review. Int Immunopharmacol. 2015 Jun 25;28(1):295-304.

[2] Alsamarai AM, Abdulsatar M, Ahmed Alobaidi AH. Evaluation of topical black seed oil in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Antiinflamm Antiallergy Agents Med Chem. 2014 Mar;13(1):75-82.

[3] Kalus U, Pruss A, Bystron J, et al. Effect of Nigella sativa (black seed) on subjective feeling in patients with allergic diseases. Phytother Res. 2003 Dec;17(10):1209-14.

[4] Nikakhlagh S, Rahim F, Aryani FH, et al. Herbal treatment of allergic rhinitis: the use of Nigella sativa. Am J Otolaryngol. 2011 Sep-Oct;32(5):402-7.

[5] Chakravarty N. Inhibition of histamine release from mast cells by nigellone. Ann Allergy. 1993 Mar;70(3):237-42.

Protective Effects of Black Seed Oil

Black Seed Oil: Protection In A Toxic World?

We are increasingly exposed to an array of different potentially harmful toxic substances in daily life. These come from chemicals we have become dependent on for almost everything from protecting our crops to delivering safe water and packaging foods.

Many of these chemicals are known to cause us harm in high concentrations and our continuous exposure to them may explain some of the heath dilemmas we face today. Scientists have implicated environmental chemicals in increasing cancer rates, plummeting fertility, increases in obesity, respiratory illness, depression, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity and fibromyalgia to name but a few.

Apart from isolating yourself to an organic commune and existing purely on a raw vegan organic diet is there anything else you can do to protect yourselves?

In this series of articles we will examine the effects of known harmful chemicals present in our environments and the potential role for black seed oil to protect us against them.

  1. Chlorpyrifos

Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide, which acts on the nervous system of insects. It is moderately toxic to humans, and exposure has been linked to neurological effects, persistent developmental disorders, reduced fertility and autoimmune disorders.

A study [i] investigating the effects of Chlorpyrifos in rats confirmed the adverse effect on fertility and hormone balance by causing decreased sperm count, daily sperm production, and sperm motility while increasing dead sperm and abnormal sperm compared with the control group. Additionally Chlorpyrifos also reduced testosterone, thyroxine levels, body weight, food intake, and relative weight of reproductive organs.

The same study administered black seed oil to the rats exposed to Chlorpyrifos and found that as well as boosting testosterone and antioxidant levels, black seed oil alleviated the reproductive toxic effects of Chlorpyrifos by improving semen quality and preventing toxicity.

  1. Bromobenzene

Bromobenzene is a volatile halocarbon frequently encountered in table-ready foods as contaminant residues. This toxic substance and can cause liver and nervous system damage if inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. A study[ii] was conducted to investigate if black seed oil could reduce liver and kidney damage caused by exposure to bromobenzene. The study looked at blood test markers of liver and kidney function as well as tissue architecture.

The results showed treatment with black seed oil provided powerful antioxidant properties and alleviated the markers of liver and kidney damage. Microscopic examination of the liver and kidney tissue structure showed black seed oil reduced damage and scarring. The authors concluded that black seed oil enhanced the liver and kidney protection mechanisms, reduced disease complications and delayed its progression in bromobenzene toxicity.

  1. Lead

Heavy metals are widely distributed in the environment and some of them occur in food, water, air and tissues even in the absence of occupational exposure. Among these lead, is a known hazardous substance to human and animals.

Lead is believed to be one of the top sources of toxicity worldwide. Routes of exposure to lead include contaminated air, water, soil, food, and consumer products. Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. Black seed oil has been found to be protective against a number of different lead induced toxicity.

Brain toxicity [iii]

The mad hatter from Alice and Wonderland may well have suffered from lead acetate-induced brain damage.

Co-administration of black seed oil component thymoquinone with lead acetate markedly decreased the incidence of lead acetate-induced pathological brain lesions. Thus the study indicates beneficial effects of thymoquinone against neurotoxic effects of lead in rats.

Reproductive toxicity [iv]

Lead is also known to cause oxidative stress in testes. A study examining the effect of the major active ingredient of volatile oil of black seed oil, thymoquinone on against lead-induced testicular oxidative stress found thymoquinone supplementation completely reversed these biochemical changes caused by lead. The study concluded that 5 weeks of thymoquinone supplementation is very efficient in preventing lead-induced testicular oxidative stress.

Liver and kidney toxicity [v]

As the liver and kidneys are exposed to most of what comes into our bodies they are vulnerable to damage from those very substances.

A study was carried out to investigate the possible protective effect of co-administered Nigella sativa seeds on lead acetate-induced liver and kidney toxicity in rats. Thirty-six male rats were divided into six groups, 6 rats each. The first group was served as a control, while the second group was fed on the basal diet with Nigella sativa addition, whereas the other groups contained lead acetate (10 and 20% of LD50) with and without Nigella sativa supplementation for six weeks. The results of this study revealed that lead acetate caused significant elevations in AST, urea, creatinine, total cholesterol and triglycerides in serum. Lead treatment also produced significant decrease in serum total protein and albumin. Histopathological observations showed severe damage in the liver and kidneys. Combined treatment of lead-exposed animals with Nigella sativa showed marked improvement in both biochemical and histopathological findings as well as reduction in the damaged areas. These experimental results strongly indicate the protective effect of Nigella sativa against toxic effect of lead on liver and kidney tissues.

  1. N-Nitrosodimethylamine

N-Nitrosodimethylamine is an organic chemical, produced as by-product of several industrial processes and present in low levels in certain foodstuffs, especially those cooked, smoked, or cured. N-Nitrosodimethylamine is highly toxic to the liver and may cause hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).

A study[vi] was conducted which examined the effect of black seed oil volatile extract thymoquinone on liver cancer induced by N-Nitrosodimethylamine. The results showed that thymoquinone significantly reduced the detrimental alterations by reducing abnormal cell proliferation. The results showed thymoquinone has potent anti proliferative activity, which may indicate a beneficial role in the treatment of liver cancer.

  1. Diesel exhaust particles

Diesel combustion exhaust is a source of contaminants; atmospheric soot and fine particles implicated in human cancer, heart and lung damage, and mental dysfunction.

A study[vii] was conducted to examine the effects of black seed oil extract thymoquinone on the effects of diesel exhaust particles.

After 18 hours of diesel combustion exhaust particle exposure significant reduction in pulmonary and cardiovascular functions in rats was noted. It was also noted that clot formation became likely. Pre-treatment with thymoquinone prevented the cardiovascular effects. Thymoquinone also prevented the decrease in platelet numbers and the prethrombotic effects of diesel exhaust particles.

 

The antioxidant properties of black seed oil are well recognised and its potential application in protecting us against the myriad of substances we are exposed to daily is becoming more evident.

In part two we will examine the effects of black seed oil on another 5 potentially toxic substances.

 

 

 

[i] Mosbah R, Yousef MI, Maranghi F, et al. Protective role of Nigella sativa oil against reproductive toxicity, hormonal alterations, and oxidative damage induced by chlorpyrifos in male rats. Toxicol Ind Health. 2014 Nov 25. pii: 0748233714554675.

[ii] Hamed MA, El-Rigal NS, Ali SA. Effects of black seed oil on resolution of hepato-renal toxicity induced bybromobenzene in rats. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Mar;17(5):569-81.

[iii] Radad K, Hassanein K, Al-Shraim M, et al. Thymoquinone ameliorates lead-induced brain damage in Sprague Dawley rats. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2014 Jan;66(1):13-7.

[iv] Mabrouk A, Cheikh HB. Thymoquinone supplementation ameliorates lead-induced testis function impairment in adult rats. Toxicol Ind Health. 2014 Sep 12. pii: 0748233714548474.

 

[v] Farrag AR, Mahdy KA, Abdel Rahman GH, et al. Protective effect of Nigella sativa seeds against lead-induced hepatorenal damage in male rats. Pak J Biol Sci. 2007 Sep 1;10(17):2809-16.

 

[vi] Raghunandhakumar S, Paramasivam A, Senthilraja S, et al. Thymoquinone inhibits cell proliferation through regulation of G1/S phase cell cycle transition in N-nitrosodiethylamine-induced experimental rat hepatocellular carcinoma. Toxicol Lett. 2013 Oct 23;223(1):60-72.

 

[vii] Nemmar A, Al-Salam S, Zia S, et al. Contrasting actions of diesel exhaust particles on the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems and the effects of thymoquinone. Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Dec;164(7):1871-82.