Black Seed Oil: What You Need to Know About This Natural "Cure-All"


Oct. 16 2023, Published 1:58 p.m. ET

Black seeds in a wooden bowl
Source: iStock

Nigella sativa is a plant that is used to make black seed oil.

The Gist:

  • Black seed oil comes from the Nigella sativa plant, a flowering shrub native to Asia and the Mediterranean.
  • Black seed oil has been used for centuries to treat various ailments and skin conditions, including acne and psoriasis.
  • You should know the best time to take black seed oil to reap the most potential benefits.
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Black seed oil originates from the Nigella sativa plant, per Mother Nature Organics. It is also known as black caraway, black cumin, and black onion seed, and the oil is used in food and for medicinal treatments. Taking black seed oil is associated with several useful health outcomes, such as reducing inflammation, treating eczema and psoriasis, and supporting blood sugar regulation and weight loss.

If you have consulted with your physician about the potential health benefits of black seed oil and decided to try it, optimize it by taking it at the proper time. Let's dig into the long history of black seed oil's uses and how you might incorporate it into your routine.

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bowl and spoonful of black cumin seeds
Source: Getty Images

When is the best time to take black seed oil?

You can find black seed oil in either a liquid or a capsule form from plenty of retailers. According to Mother Nature Organics, the best time of day to take black seed oil is before meals or at bedtime, on an empty stomach. Consuming it with food is not recommended as some foods could interfere with its effectiveness. You may prefer a capsule, especially if the taste is too strong for you.

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MED Shadow Foundation recommends sticking with organic black seed oil from trusted sources and searching for the terms "therapeutic grade" or "100% pure black seed oil." It also notes that the FDA has deemed black seed oil "generally safe."

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What are some black seed oil benefits?

Black seed oil has been recommended for treating or managing several health issues, per the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. Many of its benefits are thought to stem from the thymoquinone found in black seed oil.

According to Healthline, black seed oil can be a natural remedy for skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema. It may also help to treat high blood pressure, inflammation, and infections.

Although physicians aren't likely to recommend skipping traditional cancer treatments, black seed oil may even have some benefits for cancer patients. According to the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, black seed oil has some anti-cancer properties. However, research is limited, and exactly how black seed oil works is unknown.

Other potential benefits of black seed oil, per WebMD, are easing symptoms of asthma, hay fever, and menstrual cramps. It may also help strengthen the immune system and manage blood sugar.

However, before using black seed oil, consult a trusted medical professional. Be aware that many of the benefits of this supposed "cure-all" have not been scientifically proven.

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