Amongst the many herbs and seeds used in the traditional medicine, Nigella seeds and nigella seed oil hold special value. You know it is an excellent healer when it is called “panacea”  or 'all heal' in Latin. In fact, nigella seed oil is in use since ancient times for the treatment of various diseases and the seeds have been found in the tomb of Egyptian pharaohs.

With the advent of keto diets, detoxifications and organic foods, nigella seed oil has slowly crept out of the tombs to become a rage once again.

But what makes it so special?

Studies indicate that nigella oil has various active compounds including thymoquinone, which makes it the medicinal marvel, or the all heal as it is known today. What are these benefits? You may ask. This article will answer all your questions regarding nigella seed oil and much more.

But before we begin, it is only good to know what exactly is black seed oil?

Nigella seed oil is a dark coloured liquid extracted from the seeds of Nigella sativa, which are also known as kalonji or black seeds. It is the same kalonji that is added in pickles and some of the yummy traditional recipes.

Popularly known as black cumin, nigella seeds are way different from cumin in that they taste a bit more bitter than cumin. Some people link their flavour to oregano or thyme. Just like seeds, the oil also has a strong taste with a peppery undertone. So, instead of using it as cooking oil, it is more commonly used in flavouring.

Here are some basic facts you should know about nigella seeds:

  • Botanical name: Nigella sativa
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • Common name: Nigella seeds, black seeds, kalonji, black cumin
  • Parts used: Seeds, oil
  • Native region and geographical distribution: Nigella plant is a native to Southeast Asia, North Africa and Southern Europe. It is widely cultivated in India, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria and the Middle East.
  1. Kalonji oil benefits
  2. Kalonji oil uses
  3. How to make kalonji oil: Black seed oil recipe
  4. Nigella oil (kalonji oil) side effects

Just like nigella seeds, nigella oil hosts numerous benefits for your health. But most importantly, it is excellent for hair growth and prevention of various skin conditions. Let us have a look at what these benefits are:

Kalonji oil for hair

Hair and scalp problems are pretty common across all ages and gender. Who is not bothered by early hair greying or hair fall? And the worst part is that most commercial products are chemical based, which come with their own set of side effects. As a natural product, nigella seed oil is like nature’s gift to your hair. Here is how it would aid you in getting long and lustrous hair of your dreams:

  • Nigella seed oil is an effective anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. This means that applying kalonji oil on your hair could protect you from the woes of scalp infections and itching and burning skin. They would also be effective in reducing hair fall.
  • Nigella seeds are rich in antioxidants and the oil obtained from these seeds inherits all of these radical scavenging compounds, making it the perfect anti-ageing oil. Regular use of kalonji oil keeps off premature hair greying and hair loss at bay.
  • Kalonji oil is used for the treatment of baldness in traditional and ayurvedic medicine. Research evidence indicates that application of nigella oil prevents early hair loss due to the presence of thymoquinone, which inhibits the action of certain inflammatory molecules.
  • It provides nourishment to your hair, thereby promoting hair growth.

Kalonji oil for skin

While Nigella oil is more commonly used for hair problems, it is won’t be an all heal if it forgets about your skin, right? In fact, it is a remedy for almost all of the common skin conditions. Here is how nigella oil benefits your skin:

  • Skin infections: Studies indicate that kalonji is an excellent antibacterial and an antifungal agent. In various lab-based studies, it has demonstrated effectiveness against pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa that commonly affect the skin. It also inhibits the growth of common infectious fungus Aspergillus, Trichophyton, Microsporum and yeast like Candida albicans.
  • Wound healing: Open wounds is the most common type of injury that could be troublesome when left untreated. Not to mention the pain and risk of infections. Preclinical studies have found that Nigella oil improves the wound healing properties of your skin by reducing inflammation and WBC accumulation in the injured area. Also, antioxidants present in this oil increase fibroblast proliferation, thus, making your wound heal faster.
  • Acne: Acne is a common skin problem caused due to clogging of skin pores by excess oil or dead cells. When infected, these papules become inflamed and painful. Some people have excessive outbreaks which cause massive discomfort apart from causing aesthetic issues. Nigella oil comes as a saviour for such conditions. Nigella oil lotion (10%) exhibits potent anti-acne properties, as evident from clinical studies. Regular application of this lotion reduces acne severity within 2 months. This has been attributed to the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of kalonji oil along with its immunity-boosting benefits.
  • Vitiligo: Vitiligo is a condition marked with the development of white patches on the skin. It occurs due to malfunctioning of melanocytes. Clinical studies have evidenced that applying nigella oil, two times a day for over half a year, can reduce vitiligo symptoms without showing any apparent side effects.
  • It has also been suggested to exhibit anti-cancer properties against skin cancer.

Kalonji oil for weight loss

Are you looking for some easy dietary additions to your weight loss regime? Did you know kalonji oil is believed to assist in losing weight? But is it all folk talk or does it actually have some scientific proof? Why yes it’s scientifically backed now that kalonji oil does indeed help you trim down those extra inches. The Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic disorders lists nigella in one of the top herbs for promoting weight loss.

As per the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, nigella oil, when taken along with your regular exercise routine lowers BMI (body mass index) by reducing the total fat in your body.

A review article published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, confirms the anti-obesity benefits of kalonji supplementation along with a reduction in the weight size.

(Read more: Weight loss diet chart)

If you are tired of dieting and exercising and are not able to lose weight, then use myUpchar Ayurveda Medarodh Fat Burner Capsule, it has no side effects, order it today and avail the benefits.

Kalonji oil for PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disorder that affects women in their reproductive age and is marked by irregular or painful periods caused due to hormonal imbalance and formation of cysts in the ovaries. While there is no permanent cure for this condition, the symptoms can be managed by following a healthy lifestyle and taking certain hormonal supplements. Though most of these are steroids and have their own set of side effects. Nigella oil comes as a natural alternative to PCOS drugs.

In vivo (animal based) studies indicate that administration of nigella oil can help decrease the number of cysts in the ovary. Nigella is used for the treatment of PCOS in Sidhha and ayurvedic medicine. Thymoquinone, the chemical compound present in Nigella is considered to be responsible for this.

According to a pilot study published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, Nigella also relives amenorrhea and oligomenorrhea associated with PCOS.

Kalonji oil benefits for men

Male reproductive problems are pretty common but they mostly remain untreated due to lack of communication or because of the whole taboo thing, especially in India. But what if you have a remedy at hand? Preclinical studies have found that kalonji oil causes an improvement in the levels of testosterone and sperm cells along with the thickness of the seminiferous tubules. It was further stated that this effect was mediated by improving the levels of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone.

Kalonji oil for arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition affecting the joints. Extensive study has been done on the remedial effect of Nigella oil in the treatment of arthritis, both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. In a clinical trial including 40 women Ayurvedic, administration of 500 mg of kalonji oil capsules, once a day, was found to reduce symptoms and pain within a month.

A previous study demonstrated that thymoquinone is the active anti-arthritic agent present in Nigella oil.

A recent clinical study published in the International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, thymoquinone exerts anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) effect on the rheumatic joints thereby reducing joint pain and swelling. It has been further suggested that the antioxidant effect of Nigella oil is also in part responsible for providing symptomatic relief in rheumatoid arthritis.

Finally, kalonji oil application is equally useful in reducing pain and swelling in case of osteoarthritis, as evident by clinical studies.

So, what are you waiting for? Add a few drops of this oil in massage oil and give yourself an anti-arthritic massage.

Black seed oil for respiratory system

As a proven anti-inflammatory agent, kalonji oil is quite useful for alleviating asthma symptoms. Preclinical studies suggest that nigellone present in nigella seed oil inhibits the release of histamine, an inflammation inducing compound released by the mast cells in response to the presence of an allergen. Nigella extracts have also shown significant relaxant action on the bronchial muscles of asthmatic patients, providing relief within 3 months of regular use. Since this active component is also present in nigella oil, it won’t be wrong to say that it may have inherited this benefit too. In fact, animal studies have already demonstrated the anti-tussive effects of Nigella oil.  

Nigella oil is not only good for asthma symptoms but also it exhibits protective action against sinus infection. According to a systemic analysis published in the Integrative Medicine Research, the fixed oil of kalonji has a series of actions that makes it the perfect remedy for sinus patients. This includes:

  • Anti-inflammatory Ayurvedic that reduces swelling and pain.
  • Antioxidant, antibacterial and immunomodulatory effects that aid in improving immune response against the infecting pathogen.
  • Analgesic or pain relieving effect which facilitates further pain reduction.

Nigella oil for stomach

Preclinical studies indicate the gastroprotective effect of Nigella oil and thymoquinone due to its radical scavenging activity. The antioxidants present in this oil protect the mucosal layer of the stomach against free radical damage, thus reducing the risk of gastric ulcers and damage of the gastric mucosa.

In other in vivo (animal-based)  studies, nigella oil administration was found to reduce secretion of stomach acids and total histamine content, leading to a reduction in gastric ulcer damage along with a lower risk of ulcer development.

However, for safety concerns, it is always best to talk to a doctor before ingesting nigella oil as a health supplement, especially in case of gastric ulcers.

Black seed oil for heart

Cardiovascular diseases refer to a set of condition that affects the heart and blood vessels and it remains one of the major causes of hospitalisation and mortality all over the world. Nigella seed oil has several benefits for your heart. These can be listed as:

  • Clinical studies suggest that Nigella seed oil is an excellent hypolipidemic. It reduces the level of LDL or bad cholesterol and increases the level of HDL or good cholesterol in the body, ascertaining a healthy lipid profile. (Read more: High cholesterol treatment)
  • As an antioxidant, it prevents lipid peroxidation, which is otherwise responsible for plaque formation in the arteries and atherosclerosis.
  • Nigella oil also reduces high blood pressure, which is a primary risk factor in heart diseases.
  • Thymoquinone has been found to possess anticoagulant properties, which may be useful in preventing blood clotting and preventing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

(Read more: Heart disease causes and treatment)

Kalonji oil is safe to be used in massage and as hair oil, though, it is a strong oil and it is better to add a few drops in your hair oil to reap maximum benefits. For ingestion, kalonji oil capsules are also commercially available, to be taken under the supervision of a doctor.

However, as a spice, it can be easily incorporated into various dishes without much fuss. Some people consume kalonji oil as such. However, its pungent taste is not for everybody so to be on the safer side, you can just put a dash of black seed oil over your salads or tea or put a drop or two into your favourite dip.

The earthy aroma of black seed oil is also used in aromatherapy for various purposes.

Now you know the many benefits of kalonji oil and how you can use it, but what if you want to go organic and make your own kalonji oil at home.

Well, it is not as difficult as you think, just takes a few kalonji seeds, your favourite carrier oil and a glass bottle. Here is the recipe:

  • Heat about 4-5 tsp oil (or more depending on how much you want to make) on medium heat in a pan. Do not let it boil.
  • Put 2 tsp of kalonji seeds in it and let it heat for 1-2 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat, strain the oil in a clean and dry glass jar (do not use plastic or China).
  • Seal the jar with an airtight lid and keep the oil in the refrigerator for about a week or as long as it doesn’t go rancid.

Alternatively, you can boil about 2 tsp of kalonji seeds in about 2-3 cups of water and make nigella wash for your hair. Take a bit of this mixture to be added to some coconut oil or olive oil and massaged onto your hair about 20 minuted before hair wash to get longer and healthier looking hair.

  • In a single case, a 53-year-old woman reported skin necrosis after application of kalonji oil regularly for a 2-week period.
  • In animal-based studies, nigella oil has shown to reduce total WBC and platelet count. If you are about to undergo surgery, it is important that you do not use this oil or talk to your doctor regarding its safety profile.
  • Traditionally, nigella oil is considered to be warming and drying for the body. It can worsen or cause respiratory problems in people with a pitta (hot temperament) body type.
  • Nigella oil is a potent anticoagulant. If you are on blood-thinning medicine, it is best to avoid using this oil or refer a doctor before using it.
  • In fact, black seed oil has so many active roles in the body and hence, it may interfere with the action of a number of drugs. It is always advisable to take the suggestion of your doctor before adding anything new to your diet or routine if you are on prescribed medicine or are suffering from a chronic disease.


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