Posted on Dec 22, 2018, 2 a.m.
Inflammation is linked to a wide variety of diseases and conditions ranging from arthritis to heart disease and cancer; it is the silent killer and keeping it at bay is an important part of staying healthy that often gets overlooked.
Inflammation can do a lot of damage, but not all inflammation is harmful, some is part of a healthy defense against malignant cells, infection and trauma, at least to a degree. When inflammation becomes systemic and chronic that is when true damage occurs as it can harms cells and lead to mutations; nearly a quarter of all cancers can be attributed to this inflammatory process.
Maintaining balance between healthy and destructive inflammation can be important to avoiding disease, but with age the natural balance can be disrupted. Black cumin seed oil/Nigella sativa/Roman coriander/black caraway may be of benefit in this regard as the seeds of black cumin have a powerful antioxidant phytochemical in it called thymoquinone, and an antimicrobial and antiseptic called thymol.
Black cumin seed oil has been shown to increase activity of macrophages that surround and destroy abnormal cells in the body, and help to stimulate helper T-cells that facilitate healing. One study showed those who took black cumin seed oil had a 30% increase in natural killer cell functions and 55% increase in helper T-cell activity.
The Egyptian Journal of Immunology published a study showing black cumin seed oil to be just as effective as dexamethasone steroids at decreasing the number of inflammatory cells and cytokines in lung tissue.
Phototherapy Research published a placebo controlled study investigating the efficacy of black cumin seed oil on rheumatoid arthritis where female participants took 500 mg twice daily, after a month 42.5% of them noted reductions in arthritis symptoms including less morning stiffness and decreased swelling.
Experimental Biology and Medicine published a study showing that thymoquinone reduced levels of MMP enzymes that destroy tissues in joints and bones.
This versatile oil can be of use to those who suffer from allergies or asthma as these conditions are related to immune overreactions; those with allergic rhinitis who have taken the oil report significant symptom reductions and those with asthma find it helps to relax the airway and trachea.
Black cumin seed oil has been shown to reduce LDL while increasing HDL lowering the risk of atherosclerosis and combating heart disease. It is also believed to decrease ischemia reperfusion injury that can cause debilitating organ and tissue damage after a heart attack or stroke.
It is best to proceed with caution before taking high doses of any supplements as they could cause side effects, allergic rashes, or upset stomach and is suggested to consult with a medical professional to see if it is best for you. Experimenting with black cumin seed while cooking may be a safer way to get some of the benefits, the flavour is reminiscent of caraway and fennel.
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