Tag Archives: health benefits

Black cumin seed: the cure for everything except death

The prophet Mohammed stated in his Hadith that black cumin cures every illness except death. The use of  black cumin seed, also known as nigella seed (nigella sativa), originated in Ancient Egypt where it was reputedly used by Queen Nefertiti and Cleopatra and traces of the oil were found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine and the phrase ‘vis medicatrix natural‘ (the healing power of nature) used it to help with digestive and metabolic disorders.

Clinical studies prove time and time again black seed oil’s therapeutic uses, due mainly to its Thymoquinone content. This study, one among many, addresses the multitude of potential medical uses of the oil. It has been studied as an aid to fighting cancer, asthma and also as a tool to fighting drug-resistant bacteria like MRSA. In fact, there are so many studies backing up its efficacy, that it ranks amongst the top evidence-based herbal medicines. Black cumin seed oil has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal actions.

It helps digestion: the oil and seeds are carminative, which means they aid digestion and can help to decrease bloating, gas and stomach cramps. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), black cumin oil may be very beneficial as it’s been shown to have antispasmodic effects on the smooth muscle of the intestine. Black Cumin seed also appears to have anti-ulcer properties against Heliobacter pylori.

It alleviates allergies: The oil has a significant anti-histamic action. The benefits experienced were likely to be due to the effects of the black cumin oil on immune response, as well as its antihistamine effects. It also appears to have bronchodilatory properties, making it suitable for use with asthma and bronchitis.

It has been widely used to treat diseases of the nervous system such as memory impairment, epilepsy, neurotoxicity and pain. Black cumin oil also has mood stabilising, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant actions; its effectiveness in these areas is probably due to the fact that it increases GABA.

It helps detoxify and heal the liver when the liver is stressed due to medication side effects, alcohol consumption, overeating or disease. Scientists confirmed in a recent study that black seed oil benefits liver function and helps prevent damage.

Black seed oil is one of the few substances that has been found to help prevent both both type 1 and type 2 diabetes: Doctors from the Indian Council of Medical Research found that it ’causes gradual partial regeneration of pancreatic beta-cells, increases the lowered serum insulin concentrations and decreases the elevated serum glucose.’ According to the study, it improves glucose tolerance as efficiently as metformin without the significant adverse effects.

Black seed oil is effective for the immune system, either to enhance or balance. Particularly beneficial for autoimmune disease, it acts by balancing the immune system; it increases immune function without encouraging an immune reaction against healthy tissue in the body.

It may be taken in seed form (I often add seeds to bread and savoury pancakes, see above), or in oil form (I take one teaspoon of this one mixed in water twice a day). It may also be applied to the skin in case of skin conditions such as eczema and boils to soothe inflammation, itching and heal scars.

 

Guest post: Eight herbs and spices with fantastic health benefits

spices

Photo: ©The Healthy Epicurean

Today I welcome Rose Marie Baker, a nutritionist who believes in a responsible lifestyle through healthier eating. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find Rose reviewing herbs and spices online. Some of her favorites can be found here.

We all want to eat healthier so that we can stay in shape, live longer, and keep our bodies free of unnatural chemicals and pollutants.

The problem is, many of the healthiest foods out there are just kind of, well, boring. At least that’s the opinion of many people, and it’s hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle if you find it bland and tasteless.

What’s the solution? Try some herbs and spices. Tasty and aromatic, these typically ground-up plants and seeds are nature’s way of dressing up your food without adding lots of unnecessary calories and fat. Find the right combination and you can make even the most boring food into a culinary delight. Even better, many herbs and spices actually have quite a few health benefits as well. Here are eight of best ones out there.

Cilantro. Not only is it great tasting (unless you’re one of the unlucky few for whom it tastes like soap), cilantro does a bunch of wonderful things for your body. Because of the large amount of vitamin K in cilantro, it helps blood clot better and makes bones stronger.

Ginger. Most people know that this spicy, delicious root can help with nausea (why do you think so many people drink ginger ale when they feel sick to their stomachs?), but some recent evidence points to the fact that it’s also a pretty decent painkiller, easing muscle soreness and joint pain related to arthritis.

Cinnamon. It’s not often that you can find a food that’s high in fiber, contains no fat or calories, and still manages to do a great job of satisfying our cravings for sweets. Oh, and did we mention that it also may help to lower your cholesterol and help people with type-2 diabetes to better manage their blood sugar levels?

Fennel. With its licorice-like flavor, lots of people find the taste of fennel to be pleasing. But what they like even more is the fact that it can help to ease heartburn and assist with digestion issues like gas and bloating.

Turmeric. This jack-of-all-trades spice has been used to help people suffering from everything from skin problems to depression to liver disease. Many of these applications don’t have conclusive evidence showing that they work, but there is quite a bit of research showing that it can help with heartburn and arthritis pain.

Cumin. This diabetic-friendly spice not only works to regulate blood-sugar levels, just like cinnamon, it’s also a great source of iron, calcium, and magnesium- and it fights the germs that can cause ulcers.

Rosemary. With its high levels of antioxidants and rosmarinic acid, rosemary can be a great help in protecting against inflammation. Many people also believe that it can boost your memory and learning by producing acetylcholine.

Holy basil. Yes, that’s right. Not just basil – holy basil. With a name like that, how could it not be good for us? Commonly used in the treatment of people suffering from high cholesterol, research indicates other benefits, such as alleviating asthma, upper respiratory infections, and diabetes. Experts argue that these effects are due to the compounds of the herb reducing swelling and pain.

These eight herbs and spices represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to healthy spices, and aren’t even necessarily the best ones out there. There are at least another dozen herbs that could just as easily make that claim. That means that you have a lot of healthy (and tasty) options available to you.