1. Strengthens the immune system
Immunity in a broader sense includes auto-immune diseases such as cancer, diabetes and migraines. Black cumin has shown the capability to boost the immune system among human beings by 72% in as brief a period of time as a month. Re- search was performed as early as 1987 by the I.I.M.E.R. to verify the pro-immune system effects of black cumin. These studies showed a marked difference between those administered one gram of black cumin twice daily and the control subjects.
Today, black cumin has become a sustainable treatment for those suffering from auto-immune diseases that are a significant cause of death among the world populace (In 2010, around twenty three and a half million people in America alone were patients coping with auto-immune diseases, eighty of which were deemed as serious health hazards). These auto-immune diseases range from the obscure to those much more prevalent.
2. Alleviates allergic conditions
Allergies are major health problem throughout the world, in particular, the third world countries where adequate medical treatment is unavailable for diseases such as asthma, that cause 200 deaths and over a hundred and fifty thousand hospitalizations among children annually in the U.S. alone. There are many factors which contribute to these allergic conditions including infection, being exposed to allergens, smoke of various types and other environment based pollutants. Additionally, pollen and various foods such as nuts are known to cause allergic reactions in some patients. Recent studies have pointed to black cumin’s allergy alleviating properties – even a small dose of this miraculous seed’s oil can be enough to limit the production of allergy inducing chemicals in the body. The active parts of the oil which help fight allergy are thymoquinones and other similar compounds.
Four human studies demonstrated that black cumin oil had the capability to relieve the effects of conditions such as allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma and atopic eczema. When black seed oil was administered to patients in the four studies, in which the subjects were both adults and children, there was a marked improvement in the way their bodies reacted to the allergies. Allergic rhinitis among children and adults was most notably improved as was the bronchial asthma among children. A potential explanation for this allergy relieving behavior of black cumin oil can be its effect on the production of leukotrienes and thromboxane. These are compounds that contribute to allergic conditions such bronchial asthma by encouraging inflammatory conditions. The thymoquinone in black cumin oil opposes the reception of leukotriene, as do several other compounds present in it. The exact science behind this opposition lies in the limitation of production of certain compounds, by the black cumin oil, which speed up the synthesis of leukotrienes. The Arabs were aware of the anti-allergy effects of Black Cumin oil and used it by it- self or in a mixture with honey to treat bronchial asthma. A study conducted recently showed that the Arabs were right: Over a three month period, a group of adults was administered black seed, and they should notable improvement in the symptoms of bronchial asthma. Moreover, they became less dependent on their medicines and inhalers.
3. Eases high blood pressure
The humble black cumin seed has also shown the ability to benefit those suffering from high blood pressure.
In a research conducted by the Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences in Iran and included in a 2008 edition of the medical journal Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, it was seen that those afflicted with mild hypertension i.e. high blood pressure enjoyed improvement in their condition after consuming preset amounts of black cumin extract every day. This improvement was noted two months into the research as the subjects’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure was considerably lessened in comparison to those who were the control subjects of the study. There was a correlation between the concentration of the dose and the decrement in blood pressure. The same study noted a prominent decrease in the subjects’ harmful cholesterol levels in contrast with both the levels at the start and with those who were the con- trol. Also, no side effects of the consumption of black cumin extract were observed among the subjects.
4. Counters the effects of radiation
Black seed demonstrated a powerful ability to reduce the effects of exposure to radiation among those being treated by chemotherapy for cancer and those who were exposed to total body irradiation due to some other factors. These effects include neutropenia, reduced neutrophil levels and illness caused due to infections by bacteria and fungi.
The inflammation caused by exposure to radiation begins to takes it’s strain on the individual a few days into radiotherapy, and develops into fibrosis that can take months or even years to expose itself. Research has indicated that the thymoquinone present in black cumin extract possesses anti-inflammatory properties which are why it can be provided to cancer patients being treated with radio- therapy to ease the symptoms of the damage to tissue caused by the radiation. Several studies have reached the conclusion that black cumin or some form of its extract can be used to allay the effects of radiation including lipid peroxidation, inflammation and toxicity. Because it does not have any side effects of its own, it can safely be administered to those cancer patients who are undergoing severe radio therapy.
5. Reduces frequency of pediatric seizures
Pediatricians often face the problem of eliminating seizure episodes completely from their patients – a small number of seizures keep occurring in spite of the administration of several drugs to combat the epilepsy. Black cumin has long been known, in folk medicine, as a substance that counters convulsive conditions and this property of black seed has been attributed to the active compound called thymoquinone.
A pilot study was conducted to verify this property of black cumin on a group of children who suffered from refractory epilepsy. After the administration of thymoquinone on some members of the group, the effect on the frequency of their seizures was noted and contrasted with those of the group that formed the control. This was carried out for a month and then a fortnight was provided for the effects of the study to cool down – during the cool down time, they took their usual medicines for the epilepsy and after this time, they were again treated with the thymoquinone for a month. For this period too, the changes in the number of epileptic episodes was noted for each child. After the conclusion of the pilot study, there was a clear cut reduction in the number of seizures that occurred in the children who were provided with the thymoquinone as compared to those who were given a placebo. Their parents, too, re- ported more satisfaction with the health of their children. The study clearly showed that thymoquinone and hence black cumin can be given to children who suffer from intractable epileptic seizures as a way to reduce the frequency of these episodes.