Black Cumin Seed Oil, also known as Black Seed Oil, is produced from the seeds of the Nigella sativa plant. This plant is commonly called black caraway, black cumin or black seed, and has been used for over 3,000 years as a medicinal plant to heal an exorbitant number of ailments. Below we share with you its history, uses and the Ayurvedic perspective of this underutilized skincare ally.
A SHORT HISTORY OF BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL
Native to Southern Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia, the Nigella sativa is an annual plant of the Ranunculaceae family that has white, yellow, pink, purple or light blue petals and delicate leaves. This medicinal plant bears fruit and within the fruit lies the black seeds that are cold-pressed to make Black Cumin Seed Oil. Nigella sativa and its seeds have been used for over 3,000 years to heal various ailments throughout the world.
Beginning with the Egyptians, Black Cumin Seed Oil was used to heal digestive upset, respiratory conditions, infections and to keep the skin youthful, toned and supple. Cleopatra herself has been cited as incorporating this precious oil into her beauty rituals. Additionally, ancient Greek physicians like Hippocrates recommended Black Cumin Seed Oil to their patients to heal from debility, headaches, pains and congestion. During the Middle Ages, European nobles were said to have applied the oil onto their bodies to help protect them from viruses and bacterial infections. Further, Indian and Arabian civilizations have utilized Black Cumin Seed Oil and the seeds themselves in both food and medicine. For example, traditional medical systems like Ayurveda, Unnani and Siddha, use Nigella sativa as plant medicine to heal digestive upset, low agni (digestive fire), asthma, inflammation, respiratory issues and imbalances in the skin.
WHAT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH SAYS ABOUT BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL
Modern-day research has confirmed what ancient healing traditions and indigenous peoples have known for centuries- that Black Cumin Seed Oil is a miraculous herb with versatile applications!
What science has now discovered is that there are over 100 active chemical compounds found in Black Cumin Seed Oil and 2 chemical compounds in particular, namely Crystalline nigellone and Thymoquinone, have been the most studied thus far. Research has pinpointed that Crystalline nigellone is responsible for Black Cumin Seed Oil’s efficacy at strengthening the immune system and treating respiratory issues like coughs, asthma, bronchitis and allergic reactions. Moreover, as scientific researchers explain in the book Nutraceuticals: Efficacy, Safety & Toxicity, thymoquinone is also a potent chemical compound that “exhibits outstanding antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and other important biological activities”. What is even more amazing about thymoquinone is that so far it has only been found in the Nigella sativa plant. Needless to say, this medicinal plant is a gift to the earth. Its healing potential is boundless and we are incredibly grateful to work with this oil daily in the PAAVANI apothecary.
BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL & AYURVEDIC SKINCARE
As mentioned above, Black Cumin Seed Oil has been traditionally used in Ayurveda to heal digestive and respiratory issues, but it has also been used in Ayurvedic dermatology as a topical remedy to promote the health, integrity and luminosity of the skin. Let’s take a look at why we include Black Cumin Seed Oil in our Vata Serum, Pitta Serum AND Clarify Serum.
FOR DRY / MATURE SKIN (VATA)
Black Cumin Seed Oil is a godsend for vata type skin, which is naturally dry, thin and predisposed to premature wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. Jam-packed with nutrient-dense vitamins, minerals and amino acids like Vitamin B1, B2, and B3, Vitamin E, copper, zinc, phosphorus, folic acid, iron, calcium and magnesium, Black Cumin Seed Oil is one of the most nourishing and protective oils available today. Moisturizing, antioxidant-rich and also chock full of fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which help to produce the skin’s natural oil barrier, critical in keeping the skin hydrated, plump and youthful. If you have dry, thin vata type skin, we suggest you experience the rejuvenating effects of Black Cumin Seed Oil in our Vata Serum.
FOR SENSITIVE SKIN (PITTA)
Thanks to Black Cumin Seed Oil’s containment of thymoquinone and essential fatty acids, it contains anti-inflammatory properties and may protect against sun damage which provides much needed relief to sensitive and overheated pitta type skin. What’s more, it can also help keep the pitta type complexion free from acne, pimples and breakouts due to its antibacterial properties and ability to combat multiple strains of acne-causing bacteria. If you have red, sensitive and sometimes oily, pitta type skin, we recommend you feel for yourself the soothing effects of Black Cumin Seed Oil in our Pitta Serum.
FOR BLEMISH & ACNE PRONE SKIN (CLARIFY)
Black Cumin Seed Oil is truly a secret weapon in our Clarify Serum. It actively works by penetrating into the skin’s layers, unclogging pores and (as mentioned above) combating multiple strains of acne-causing bacteria while simultaneously helping to balance excess sebum production (which is also an unruly component of blemishes and acne). Alongside its powerful purifying effects, Black Cumin Seed Oil is also nutrient-rich (see above for vata skin benefits), helping to restore skin health long after the blemishes and acne are dispelled. If you struggle with blemishes and acne on your skin, please consider unlocking the magic of Black Cumin Seed Oil in our Clarify Serum.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Black Cumin Seed Oil provides immense benefits for all types of skin but is often underutilized when it comes to skincare. We hope that through sharing the many healing properties of this beloved natural, plant-based ingredient, we help to encourage the use of more pure, earth-based options in your skincare routine. We are confident that you will enjoy the many benefits of Cleopatra’s safely kept skincare secret in our PAAVANI Facial Serums!
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Nigella sativa plant photo by Skyler Ewing: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blooming-nigella-with-green-leaves-5748818/