The uniqueness of the seeds from southwest Asia Nigella sativa is first realized by the many names that it is referred to: (1)
- Black caraway
- Onion seed
- Black sesame
- Roman coriander
- Black cumin
“Black seed” is actually more of a description than a proper name, yet is preferred because it helps to distinguish it from caraway and cumin. Many health experts claim that it is, indeed, a true panacea; able to help cure everything from allergies to hypertension. Quite possibly, the most promising research has been done connecting Nigella sativa to multi-drug resistant bacteria. This is a real big deal because these so-called “superbugs” are becoming a significant public health risk. According to the National Institute of Health: (2)
- Strains of bacteria and viruses that are antimicrobial-resistant are becoming virtually impossible to treat; including HIV, staphylococcal, tuberculosis, influenza, gonorrhea, candida, and malaria.
- Between 5 – 10% of all hospital patients develop an infection from superbugs.
- More than 90,000 of these patients die every year, up from 13,300 patient deaths in 1992.
- People infected with superbugs typically have longer hospital stays, require more complicated treatment and don’t recover as well.
A study conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College researchers set out to determine just how potent black seed oil against some of these superbugs and pared it against several antibiotics such as Amoxicillin, Gatifloxacin and Tetracycline. According to the study,
“Out of 144 strains tested, most of which were resistant to a number of antibiotics, 97 were inhibited by the oil of black cumin!”
Next to oil of oregano, few things on the planet can boast this type of potency to microbes! The study uncovered that it was especially effective against multidrug resistant strains of P. aeruginosa and S. aureus.
The key to understanding why black seed oils benefits the body in this way is because it is rich in 3 key natural chemicals: thymoquinone (TQ), thymohydroquinone (THQ) and thymol.
The Power Behind Black Seed Oil Benefits: Phytochemicals
In an effort to offer a solution to the growing antifungal resistant problem people have with yeasts and molds, a recent study was conducted with the purpose of determining if Nigella sativa seed oil could help. Published in the Egyptian Journal of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, scientists tested thymol, TQ and THQ against 30 human pathogens and were surprised to discover that: (3)
- Each compound showed 100% inhibition for the thirty pathogens evaluated.
- Thymoquinone was the best antifungal compound against all of the tested dermatophytes and yeasts, followed by thymohydroquinone and thymol.
- Thymol was the best antifungal against molds followed by TQ and THQ.
What this study tells us is that Nigella sativa oil carries a very unique chemical constituency that is not only effective individually, but more importantly also collectively. Essentially proving that fungus and molds cannot exist in the presence of these phytochemicals, it is no wonder why researchers are seeking to solve the superbug problem with the mighty black seed!
Thymoquinone – An active ingredient in black seed, researchers have been investigating TQ since the 1960s. It is well known for its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties that have been reported to help with encephalomyelitis, diabetes, asthma and carcinogenesis. (4) Interestingly, thymoquinone acts as a free radical or an effective superoxide radical scavenger, in addition to preserving antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase. Both Glutathione peroxidase and S-transferase are heralded for being major detoxifiers and greatly aid in cellular antioxidant defense systems because they protect the liver from toxins. (4,5)
Thymohydroquinone – A kin to thymoqinone, thymohydroquinone is one of the most potent natural acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors on the planet. (6) AChE inhibitors are chemicals that stop enzyme activity, which increases the amount of time and the amount of the neurotransmitter acetylecholine remains active in the brain. To give you an idea of their usefulness, pharmaceutical-grade acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are used medicinally to treat a wide range of conditions including: (7)
Considering that the pharmaceutical approach to these diseases comes at a great cost to the patient, it offers much hope to literally millions to learn that safe, plant-based solutions are a viable alternative!
- Commonly used as a tuberculocide and virucides to kill TB and various viruses.
- Used as a medical and general-purpose disinfectant.
- Rapidly degrading, non-persisting pesticide.
- Used in food flavorings, perfumes, mouthwashes, and even cosmetics.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3642442/