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In traditional medicine, black seed oil has been used to treat a variety of health conditions. As a result, it has sometimes been referred to as “panacea” — or universal healer (4Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
While not all of its proposed medicinal uses have been proven to be effective, black seed oil and its plant compounds have been linked to several benefits for health.
High in antioxidants
Black seed oil is high in antioxidants — plant compounds that help protect cells against damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
Antioxidants are important for health, as research has shown that they can reduce inflammation and protect against conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer (11Trusted Source).
In particular, black seed oil is rich in thymoquinone, which has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. As a result, studies suggest this compound may protect brain health and aid in treating several types of cancer (7Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).
May help in treating asthma
Asthma is a chronic condition in which the lining of your airways swell and the muscles around them constrict, making it difficult for you to breathe (15Trusted Source).
Research has shown that black seed oil, and specifically thymoquinone in the oil, may help in treating asthma by reducing inflammation and relaxing muscles in the airway (4Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
One study in 80 adults with asthma found that taking 500 mg of black seed oil capsules twice a day for 4 weeks significantly improved asthma control (16Trusted Source).
While promising, larger and longer studies are needed to assess the long-term safety and effectiveness of black seed oil supplements in the treatment of asthma.
May aid weight loss efforts
While the exact mechanism isn’t fully understood, research shows that black seed oil may help reduce body mass index (BMI) in individuals with obesity, metabolic syndrome, or type 2 diabetes (18Trusted Source, 19, 20Trusted Source).
In one 8-week study, 90 women ages 25–50 with obesity were given a low calorie diet and either a placebo or 1 gram of black seed oil per meal for a total of 3 grams per day (21Trusted Source).
At the end of the study, those taking the black seed oil had lost significantly more weight and waist circumference than the placebo group. The oil group also experienced significant improvements in triglyceride and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (21Trusted Source).
Despite these promising results, more research is needed on the long-term safety and efficacy of taking black seed oil for weight loss.
May lower blood sugar levels
For individuals with diabetes, consistently high blood sugar levels have been shown to increase the risk of future complications, including kidney disease, eye disease, and stroke (22Trusted Source).
Several studies in individuals with type 2 diabetes indicate that a dose of 2 grams per day of crushed whole black seeds may significantly reduce fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, a measure of average blood sugar levels over 2–3 months (23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).
While most studies use black seed powder in capsules, black seed oil has also been shown to help lower blood sugar levels (25Trusted Source).
One study in 99 adults with type 2 diabetes found that both 1/3 teaspoon (1.5 mL) and 3/5 teaspoon (3 mL) per day of black seed oil for 20 days significantly reduced HbA1c levels, compared with a placebo (26).
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