Black Cumin Seeds: A New Year’s Resolution
By Sabeen Faquir
Black cumin seed oil – one of the many secrets of the ancient Egyptians, was found in King Tut’s tomb dating approximately 3,300 years ago. But why would the ancient Egyptians regard black cumin seeds so? What ARE black cumin seeds?
The scientific name for black cumin seeds, sometimes just named black seeds, is Nigella sativa. It is not to be confused with black cumin, Bunium bulbocastanum. Nigella sativa is native to south and south-east Asia and often used in cooking. But again, why would the ancient Egyptians regard it so highly? Since it could potentially benefit a pharaoh in the afterlife, what does it do for the living?
Most recently, it has been found to have anti-virulence properties for bacteria effecting baby formula. In one study, researchers isolated thymoquinone, the active ingredient of black cumin seeds, and tested it against Cronobacter sakazakii, the bacteria contaminating formula and causing food poisoning. It was found that the black cumin seed constituent inhibited the binding of the pathogen to a cancerous cell line found in the intestines (Shi et al). In addition, black cumin seeds are attributed with having apoptotic effects on some other cancer cell lines like U937 (Arslan et al).
Furthermore, it has also been found to help glucose and serum lipid levels in those suffering from imbalances. In a seven-trial meta-analysis, it was found that N. sativa significantly improved fasting blood sugar by reducing it by 17.84mg/dl on average. It also reduced HbA1c values by 0.71%, total-cholesterol by 22.99mg/dl and LDL-cholesterol by 22.38mg/dl. Because of studies like this, black cumin seeds are considered a healthy supplement for those suffering from type II diabetes (Daryabeygi-Khotbehsara et al).
Considering this recently revealed research, black cumin seeds could have preventative and alternative benefits for you. With the new year, consider some new techniques to support your health. Like always, discuss any supplement regimen with your personal healthcare provider first.
Disclaimer: The statements in this article are not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose, or cure disease.
Shi C, Yan C, Sui Y, Sun Y, Guo D, Chen Y, Jin T, Peng X, Ma L, Xia X. Thymoquinone Inhibits Virulence Related Traits of Cronobacter sakazakii ATCC 29544 and Has Anti-biofilm Formation Potential. Frontiers in Microbiology. Nov 2017 28;8:2220
Arslan BA, Isik FB, Gur H, Ozen F, Catal T. Apoptotic Effect of Nigella sativa on Human Lymphoma U937 Cells. Pharmacognosy Magazine. Oct 2017 13(Suppl 3):S628-S632.
Daryabeygi-Khotbehsara R, Golzarand M, Ghaffari MP, Djafarian K. Nigella sativa improves glucose homeostasis and serum lipids in type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. Dec 2017 35:6-13.