Nigella sativa is a flowering plant, native to south and southwest Asia. The plant has various names including, fennel flower, nutmeg flower, black caraway, Roman coriander, and black cumin. People should note that this spice should not be confused with another plant also named black cumin with the Latin name of Bunium bulbocastanum. The flowers of Nigella sativa are delicate and usually colored pale blue and white, with five to ten petals. Nigella sativa has a strong bitter taste and smell and is widely used primarily in confectionery and liquors.
Here are the 7 health benefits of black cumin.
A study published in Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology in 2007 suggested that Nigella sativa may help ease symptoms of asthma. The researchers had 29 adults with asthma took either a placebo or a Nigella sativa extract daily for three months. The results showed that individuals treated with Nigella sativa had significantly greater improvements in the occurrence and severity of asthma symptoms.
Research published in Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology in 2008 concluded that Nigella sativa might help individuals keep their blood pressure in check, decreasing they risk for hypertension. Patients with mild hypertension had a greater reduction in blood pressure, compared to those assigned to a placebo supplement, after eight weeks of twice-daily treatment with the Nigella sativa extract.
A study published in HPB reported that Nigella sativa might help hinder the development of pancreatic cancer. The researchers found that an essential component in Nigella sativa called thymoquinone significantly reduced levels of inflammatory inducing compounds found in pancreatic tumors.
Allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the nose) is the most common chronic and allergic disease, especially in children. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology reported that Nigella sativa possesses anti-allergic effects and “should be considered for treating allergic rhinitis when the effects of other antiallergic drugs need to be avoided.”
Nigella sativa has the potential to be used for type 2 diabetic patients to reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar levels.
A study in 2013 recruited 40 elderly volunteers and divided them randomly into two groups of 20. The two groups were given either 500 mg Nigella sativa capsule twice daily for nine weeks or a placebo. All the volunteers were assessed for cognitive improvement and safety profile twice before treatment and after nine weeks. Individuals who took the Nigella sativa supplement scored better on each of the tests, suggesting the role in enhancing memory, attention, and cognition Nigella sativa has.
A study in 2013 suggested that Nigella sativa could maintain a protective effect by improving lipid profile of total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and blood glucose, which are at higher risk to be elevated during the menopausal period.
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