Nigella Seeds: Not just a trendy ‘Superfood’

Nigella Seeds: Not just a trendy ‘Superfood’

A tasty and cost effective health boost that can be sprinkled on any food with no contraindications? No wonder it’s caught such popularity. Antioxidants and a range of nutrients from diet are essential for disease prevention, and adding a pinch of something here and there can only be of more help. It may feel hard to know the difference between something that’s not great but is getting a lot of publicity right now, and something that you do need to start including into your health regime.

While seeing a natural health practitioner is of course still essential, a weekly appointment for the rest of our lives to discuss every health topic and every super-food we hear about is not realistic. A combination of modern evidence based medicine, clinical data and the history of a foods use are all good indicators. It’s actually best to incorporate all these methods of information instead of focusing solely on a new scientific study or just a traditional method. And while research is ongoing to further it’s applications in medicine, for now we can all start to eat up! The world is a big bright changing place, so here are some good points on why and how these ‘black cumin’ or ‘nigella’ seeds are something we all can benefits from.

 

Firstly, it’s medicinal and culinary uses are not, in fact, new. The whole seeds and the oils extracted from them have been linked with humanity for thousands of years. Secondly in regards to the multiple names it goes by: After so many years being used in so many countries and cultures from China to Africa and everywhere in between, yes, by now, it’s going to get confusing. The botanical classification is probably the most reliable to shop by, Nigella Sativa. While we are currently confused by it’s many names when we try to purchase, (such as black seed, black cumin, nigella, Kalonji, Kalo jeera and Hak Jung Chou) it’s old Latin name was ‘Panacea’ which translates as ‘cure-all’. So that’s a great start for a tasty condiment!

 

Prevents Diabetes, support liver and pancreatic health.

Diabetes is not just about our blood sugar levels, so much ad the pancreatic cell function, and our cells responses to hormones like insulin. The fluctuations in blood glucose that respond to these however can severely impact our health. The active ingredients within blackseed helped preserve the integrity of the beta cells within the pancreas. It has a similarly beneficial effect on liver enzymes, lowered blood glucose when high but did not affect those tested whose glucose was already normal. Which makes it a safe food for everyone in the family!

Maintains Healthy Cholesterol & Prevents Atherosclerosis.

While it’s now well know the dangers of cholesterol medications, Doctors do still prescribe them, and actual atherosclerosis is a very severe health concern. Perhaps you’ve heard of good and bad cholesterol in regards to cardiovascular and heart health? Nigella has been shown to change the ratios’ between the two cholesterol blood markers, lowering LDL and increasing HDL, and diminishing atherosclerosis risk. This food is safe with cholesterol medications for anyone who is already on them. Read for about thyroid related heart, cardiovascular and blood pressure health here.

Other fantastic health benefits may include:

Beneficial for asthma, allergies and infections, has an antihistamine like effect.

Anti-inflammatory, and may be immune regulating.

Anti-cancer due to the oils benefits as an anti-mutagenic and an anti-carcinogenic agent. May be helpful specifically against cancers of the blood, breast, colon, pancreas, liver, lung, skin, skin, kidney, prostate and cervix. Now that’s a long list! (See the references below if you would love more info guys)

Promotes healthy blood pressure: Not just animal but also human studies have shown beneficial effects on people suffering high blood pressure.

Kidney health: the oil components protect those delicate kidney tissues from dysfunction and also form oxidative damage among st other abnormalities.

The ingredient thymoquinone is a potent antioxidant, and may upregulate enzymes such as SOD and CAT.

 

So what are you waiting for? You can buy it at wholefoods, health food stores, bulk food stores like The Source and also sometimes from markets, Indian or Chinese supermarkets

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Naturopath Kimberly Orbons, Adelaide, The Lucy Rose Clinic

Naturopath Kimberly Orbons, Adelaide, The Lucy Rose Clinic

Kimberly Orbons 

Adv Dip Naturopathy, Adv Dip Western Herbal Medicine

Head Naturopath Kimberly Orbons is passionate about encouraging and empowering each person to facilitate their own good health with Nutrition, Herbal Medicine and preventative lifestyle management. Using a combination of diagnostics and symptomatology to identify the different metabolic processes contributing to disease allows her to treat the root or cause of poor health, providing relief of symptoms and long term recovery.

Kimberly believes it is extremely important to build a personalized healing plan, taking all the complexities of a patient’s health and illness into consideration. Her consults have a strong focus on client care and treating each patient as an individual, and may therefore co-ordinate with other medical treatments. The goal is to establish each patient’s ability to live in the best possible state of health, naturally. Her mentors in clinical practice include Founder Lucy Herron, Dr. David Brownstein, Naturopath Angela Hywood and Dr. Sarah Wine. Since achieving her qualifications in 2007 she has extensive clinical experience, and also 3 years managing the natural health sections and seminar within pharmacy.

Kimberly works closely with our CEO Lizzy Herron, our naturopathic consultants and all The Lucy Rose clinical staff to ensure our patients are provided with the best and most up to date health services and quality health advice. She has actively contributed to our online media, patient guidelines, patient support and informational services for the past 3 years and enjoys providing excellent free to access health data to patients across Australia daily.

 

 

 

Recommended reading & References:

  • From here to eternity – the secret of Pharaohs: Therapeutic potential of black cumin seeds and beyond.  Subhash PadhyeSanjeev BanerjeeAamir AhmadRamzi Mohammad, and Fazlul H Sarkar Department of Pathology and Division of Internal Medicine, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University, School of Medicine, Detroit, MI- 48201, USA.  Cancer Ther. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 Nov 17. Published in final edited form as: Cancer Ther. 2008; 6(b): 495–510.
  • Effect of Nigella sativa (kalonji) on serum cholesterol of albino rats. Dahri AH, Chandiol AM, Rahoo AA, Memon RA J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. Department of Pathology, Peoples Medical College, 2005 Apr-Jun; 17(2):72-4
  • Kanter M, Akpolat M, Aktas C. Protective effects of the volatile oil of Nigella sativa seeds on beta-cell damage in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats: a light and electron microscopic study. J Mol Histol. 2009;40:379–385. PMID: 20049514
  • Thymoquinone supplementation attenuates hypertension and renal damage in nitric oxide deficient hypertensive rats. Khattab MM, Nagi MN Phytother Res. 2007 May; 21(5):410-4. PMID: 19903489
  • Dehkordi FR, Kamkhah AF. Antihypertensive effect of Nigella sativa seed extract in patients with mild hypertension. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2008;22:447–452.
  • Anticancer Activities of Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011; 8(5 Suppl): 226–232. Published online 2011 Jul 3. doi:  10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.10 PMCID: PMC3252704 Md Asaduzzaman Khan,1 Han-chun Chen,corresponding author1 Mousumi Tania,1 and Dian-zheng Zhang1,1Department of Biochemistry, School of Biological Science and Technology, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410013, P R China  2Department of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19131, USA
  • Phenolic composition and biological activities of Tunisian Nigella sativa L. shoots and roots.
    Bourgou S, Ksouri R, Bellila A, Skandrani I, Falleh H, Marzouk B
    C R Biol. 2008 Jan; 331(1):48-55.
  • Potential of spice-derived phytochemicals for cancer prevention.
    Aggarwal BB, Kunnumakkara AB, Harikumar KB, Tharakan ST, Sung B, Anand P
    Planta Med. 2008 Oct; 74(13):1560-9. PMID: 18612945
  • Antiasthmatic effect of Nigella sativa in airways of asthmatic patients.
    Boskabady MH, Mohsenpoor N, Takaloo L
    Phytomedicine. 2010 Aug; 17(10):707-13.
  • Nigella sativa protects against ischaemia/reperfusion injury in rat kidneys.
    Bayrak O, Bavbek N, Karatas OF, Bayrak R, Catal F, Cimentepe E, Akbas A, Yildirim E, Unal D, Akcay A
    Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2008 Jul; 23(7):2206-12.
  • Thymoquinone is a potent superoxide anion scavenger.
    Badary OA, Taha RA, Gamal el-Din AM, Abdel-Wahab MH
    Drug Chem Toxicol. 2003 May; 26(2):87-98.