50 Black Seed Oil Benefits and Side Effects

(Last Updated On: December 12, 2018)

Black seed, otherwise known as a large variety of names including:

    • Ajenuz
    • Baraka
    • Black cumin
    • Black caraway
    • Small fennel
    • Love in a mist
    • Graine Noire
    • Nielle
    • Aranuel
    • Black onion seeds
  • Schwarzkummel

What are black seeds?

The tiny, black, thick shaped cumin seed is most commonly referred to as ‘black seeds’ or ‘black cumin seeds’. They are slightly curved with a rough distinctive texture that makes them unique and easy to identify, coming from the Nigella Sativa flower they can be grown worldwide. Black seed oil is simply extracted from the black seeds through a process of squeezing and compressing the seeds. There are countless home appliances that will allow you to create this oil, or alternatively you can buy on Amazon.

This multipurpose remedy has a whole host of properties that make it effective for use in many ailments and issues, such as:

    • Antibacterial
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Anti-fungal
    • Anti-cancer
    • Antihistamine
    • Antiviral
    • Anticoagulant
  • Antispasmodic

This plant has been used in medical practice for over 2000 years, even being discovered in the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Historically, black seed has been used for headaches, toothaches, nasal congestion and intestinal worms. It has also been noted to be used for conjunctivitis (pink eye), pockets of infections (abscesses) and parasites.

Today black seed is used for treating digestive tract conditions including gas, colic, diarrhea, dysentery, constipation and hemorrhoids. Additionally, black seed is also used for respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, cough, bronchitis, emphysema, flu, swine flu and congestion. Some women even use the seed for birth control, to start menstruation and to increase milk flow. There is no guarantee that it is effective as a birth control method.

There is some scientific evidence to suggest that black seed might help boost the immune system, fight cancer, and lessen allergic reactions by acting as an antihistamine, although there is not enough research done in humans yet to definitively say.

Black seed oil uses:

  • Asthma: Research has shown that taking black seed oil or extract by mouth improves coughing, wheezing and lung function in people with asthma. However, it is wise to note black seed oil may not be as useful as the drugs theophylline or salbutamol—which are common anti-asthma drugs.
  • Hay fever: Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing black seed oil, vitamin E, beta-carotene and biotin by mouth daily might improve allergy symptoms in those suffering from hay fever.
  • Itchy and inflamed skin: Taking the same might also improve symptoms in people with itchy and inflamed skin. However, applying 15% black seed oil ointment to the skin directly has not been shown to work in the same way as taking the mentioned product orally.
  • Seizures: Very early research has shown that taking black seed oil orally every eight hours for four weeks, might reduce the amount of seizures suffered by children with epilepsy.
  • High blood pressure: Research has suggested that taking black seed oil twice daily for 8 weeks might slightly improve blood pressure in some individuals.
  • Metabolic syndrome: Taking a specific black seed oil product twice daily has been shown, in early research, to reduce total cholesterol, “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and blood sugar levels in people with metabolic syndrome.
  • Relieve drug withdrawal symptoms: Black seed oil has been found to relieve certain symptoms associated with narcotic drug withdrawal (opiate withdrawal).
  • Sore throat and swollen tonsils: Early research suggest that by taking a combination of chanca piedra and black seed by mouth for 7 days relieves pain in the throat and tonsil areas.
  • Promotes heart health: An unhealthy heart can be the result of a variety of reasons, black seed oil targets the most common causal agent -not giving the heart the nutrients it needs. The rich and unsaturated omega 6 and 9 acids as well as the phytosterols that can be found in the black seeds offer amazing heart benefits and help reinforce elasticity in the blood vessel walls. This aids in the prevention of thrombus formation and reducing arterial pressure.
  • Fights fungal infections: Fungal infections occur when yeast or other fungal species grow on top of your skin, resulting in a whole host of different diseases and rashes. Research shows that fungus cannot co-exist in the presence of black seed and black seed oil, meaning that in theory, applying black seed oil to fungal infections should help to clear the infection up and prevent it from returning.
  • Good for your skin: Helping tone, texture and wrinkles, black seed oil is full of vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and amino acids making it a perfect daily skin moisturizer. Note: be careful to ensure you are not allergic to the oil before applying to the face. Perform a patch test on the back of the elbow, leaving on overnight, to see if you develop any form of reaction.
  • Efficient skin cancer treatment (melanoma): Cancer is the result of DNA mutations multiplying too fast for your immune system to catch up on. Mainly as a result of the anti-inflammatory effects, the thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone properties black seed oil contains may be an effective treatment. This is thought to work by targeting your white blood cells and in turn boosting the immune system allowing the body to be able to kill the cancer cells.
  • Black seed oil for acne: Acne is a direct result of inflammation on the skin, which causes breakouts. With powerful regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties, black seeds are the best option for clearing up the skin, leaving it soft and replenished. As previously mentioned, always remember to check for any allergic reactions on the skin before applying topically.
  • Boosts fertility: It has been proven that black seed oil can have some positive effect on fertility levels. Note: Black seed oil can be also used as an aphrodisiac and is thought to also improve the sex drive.

black seed

  • Aids with diarrhea: As most diarrhea is the result of viral infections, the anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties of black seed oil make it a perfect home remedy in stopping the excess bowel movements. It can also balance your digestion and intestines, aiding in constipation. Many advise mixing 1 to 2 teaspoons of black seed oil with a healthy plain yoghurt until the diarrhea is gone.
  • Helps to eliminate insomnia: Studies have shown that taking black seed oil for insomnia and other sleep disorders can be extremely effective as it results in an individual becoming slightly sleepy and drowsy. Many have claimed black seed oil has directly eliminated their sleep disorders altogether. Even if you do not suffer from any sleep disorders, this oil is great for promoting natural deep sleep for everyone.
  • Prevents muscle cramps and spasms: The antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory agents in black seed oil make it very helpful in preventing and treating muscle cramps and spasms. Administer either orally or rub a small amount of oil on the affected area. Black seed oil is brilliant for treating premenstrual cramps and pains, providing relief for women who suffer monthly. For more remedies aimed at treating menstrual cramps, read our Squash PMS Symptoms with These Remedies.
  • Helps nausea and upset stomachs: This is another notorious use for the oil. Stimulating the body’s digestion and induces the expulsion of gas, helping to rid the body of any pressure and upsets.
  • Meningitis: The potency of this oil has even been proven to be useful in the treatment of meningitis, but see your doctor for treatment first. Simply take around 1 to 2 teaspoons of the oil per day, or mix into a herbal tea, for relief.
  • Inhibits breast cancer: This oil has shown a continuous ability to suppress breast cancer cell reproduction when taken for long-term treatment. Studies have shown that larger doses resulted in more powerful suppression, however this may cause various side effects.
  • Aids in weight loss: Black seed oil’s weight loss effects stem from its blood sugar lowering properties. As a natural antioxidant, also aids in speeding up the metabolism and lowers the appetite.
  • Black seed oil for scar aesthetic improvement: The oil can also prove to be a great remedy for reducing the prominence of scars. Helping to fade, and in some cases entirely remove the look of blemishes and scars on the skin.
  • Prevents radiation damage: Studies have shown that black seed oil used on patients who were exposed to gamma radiation, caused them to have had far less damage than the patients who didn’t consume any. A significantly stronger immune system was found on patients who were consuming black seed oil.
  • Prevents and heals lead poisoning: Known as one of the most toxic substances worldwide, lead can interfere with a number of the body’s processes. Causing harm to the heart, kidneys, liver, nervous system, bones and reproductive system. It has been noted that black seed oil can help to reverse these effects of lead and effectively heal any damage done to the brain.
  • Improves beard growth: If you guys were perhaps feeling a little left out while reading this list of black seed oil benefits, here’s one for you! Studies have shown that the black seed oil can improve the thickness and quality of your beard, while increasing the growth rate. You can also apply directly to your beard for brilliant moisturizing effects.
  • Removes gall, liver and kidney stones: Taking this oil can reduce the pain associated with these issues and provide a great natural home-remedy. Take daily with honey for best results. If you’d like to learn more treatments for kidney stones, read our 8 Proven Home Treatments for Kidney Stones.
  • Treats hemorrhoids: A painful congestion rooted problem with few treatments available, hemorrhoids can be painful to experience and downright annoying when trying to perform everyday tasks. Black seeds offer immediate relief, and studies have shown it to actively prevent the development of more hemorrhoids.
  • Aids in breastfeeding and lactation: Not only does black seed oil help you to breastfeed by improving lactation, it can also be used for nipple skin protection when applied prior to breastfeeding. Although this may be a benefit of the oil, there is little known about the possible side effects on the baby and the breast milk, so consult a doctor prior to use for advice.
  • Improves memory: Research has shown that black seed consumption enhances your memory, cognitive and attention. It has recently been proven to increase sharpness. Therefore, it may have possible uses and be helpful when treating those with memory-related illnesses such as amnesia and dementia.
  • Treats moles: One of the lesser known benefits of this oil is that it can be used to treat moles. It does this by repressing the development and clearing up the skin.
  • Heals peeling lips: Can be used as an alternative to lip balms and creams to help regenerate the skin on the lips when they begin to dry and chap.
  • Suppresses bladder infections: You can find relief and a cure for most bladder infections in using black seed oil. Specifically, urinary tract infections, which is one of the more common type of infections, can be treated by consuming the oil daily until the infection has cleared.
  • Treats nose bleeds: By putting a few drops of the oil (1 to 3), into your nostrils, you can cure nosebleeds.
  • Regulates menstrual cycles: Black seed oil can be helpful in regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle when consumed frequently.
  • Treating mouth ulcers: As one of the most dynamic natural treatments for mouth ulcers, black seed oil works wonders. Multiple studies have proven this oil to be effective in treating ulcers of all types. Apply a drop of the oil directly on the ulcer.
  • Reduce the need for over the counter painkillers: In many cases, this oil can perform as a substitute for some of today’s most common painkillers. The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil allow it to be the perfect treatment for all over body aches, pains and swellings.
  • Lowers anxiety levels: We know that inflammation has negative effects on the body, worsening many psychosis and other psychiatric problems. Studies have shown a variety of benefits in this area, stabilizing moods and lowering anxiety levels after daily use for 30 days. This has led to many individuals to recommend anti-inflammatory treatments for anxiety instead of antidepressants.
  • Improves sperm counts: Another one specifically for the lads! On top of improving fertility in women, black seed oil can also improve sperm count for men. Based on various studies, research shows that black seed oil can improve abnormally low semen counts in as little as 3 months when taken orally each day.
  • Prevents anemia: Many of us are at risk of anemia due to poor diets or other internal factors, putting our bodies at serious risk. Once again, black seeds can help. Perfect for treating, or in some cases curing, anemia.
  • Treats the side-effects of being obese: Since obesity is usually associated with increased risk of immune dysfunction, insulin resistance, cancer and cardiovascular problems, black seed oil provides a brilliant health aid for the obese. Although weight loss is the cure for these issues and reducing any increased risks that may be incurred by weight, black seed oil helps in a variety of ways while the individual is beginning or trying to lose weight.
  • Detoxifies the body: Toxicity is a major concern for many. Black seed oil has been used as a natural detox method for many over hundreds of years. Proof has been found that the oil can reduce toxicity levels throughout the body in a significant way.
  • Deep cleans pores: Simply consume orally or apply topically onto the affected area after a hot shower. Immediate improvements have been reported, with pores being fully clear within 2 weeks of daily usage.
  • Treats schizophrenia: The thymoquinone in black cumin seed oil is beneficial for reducing inflammation, thus helping in the treatment of schizophrenia. Studies have shown improvements in schizophrenia patients after taking the oil, compared to those who have not.
  • Treats lymphoma: Lymphatic cancer is a painful disease that affects millions worldwide. Numerous studies have shown this seed oil to be efficient in removing lymphatic cancer cells.
  • Helps with morphine dependency and toxicity: Black seed oil has proven to reduce tolerance and overall addiction. It accomplishes this by lowering indications of morphine intoxication.
  • Stimulates urine production: Another benefit of this oil is that it can stimulate and promote urine production. Prostate and bladder issues have been treated using black seed oil for hundreds of years. Clinical results show major improvement in prostate health and function.
  • Removes symptoms of chronic fatigue: Although little evidence has been found to support this benefit, some researchers claim that black seed oil can be helpful in re-energizing the body.
  • Natural remedy for colic in young children (babies): Having a child that suffers from colic can be extremely stressful and worrying for parents. Although the causes of colic are still generally unknown, what has been proven is that black seed oil has been proved to be an effective natural cure. It is important to start with smaller amounts and gradually increase the dosage. Mix the oil with some honey lemon tea, adding around 3 to 5 drops. However, remember to consult the doctor treating your child for advice if you are unsure on whether this treatment is appropriate for your child, or if any side effects develop.
  • Treats HIV symptoms: This marvelous oil has also been recorded in treatment for HIV / AIDS symptoms. According to recent studies, black seed oil has proven to be extremely effective.

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Side effects of black seed and black seed oil:

See this link to see potential drug interactions:


Black seed when taken by mouth, in small quantities such as flavoring food, is likely safe for most individuals. Whereas black seed oil and black seed extract is only possibly safe when medical amounts are used for the short-term. There is not enough information or research done to know if larger, medicinal quantities are safe. Although, black seed and black seed oil can cause both allergic rashes when applied to the skin. When taken by mouth it might cause stomach upset, vomiting, or constipation. It might increase the risk of seizures in some people. 

Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Black seed seems to be safe for use in food during pregnancy. But taking larger amounts is likely to be unsafe as it can slow down or stop the uterus from contracting.


Little is known about using black seed during breastfeeding, so stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Black seed is possibly safe for children when taken by mouth short-term and in small recommended amounts.

Bleeding disorders: Black seed might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. So, in theory, black seed may make any bleeding disorder worsen.

Diabetes: Black seed may lower blood sugar levels in some individuals. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and choose to use black seed.

Low blood pressure: Black seed may lower blood pressure. Therefore, individuals with low blood pressure should avoid, or be careful, taking black seed.

Drowsiness and fatigue: Using black seed may result in the user becoming tired and more sleepy than usual, if this occurs reduce the amount of black seed you are taking or stop altogether to avoid accidents.                                         

Surgery: Black seed may slow blood clotting, reduce blood sugar, and increase sleepiness in some people. Therefore, black seed may increase the risk for bleeding and interfere with blood sugar control and anesthesia during and after any surgical procedures. Stop using black seed at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Contact dermatitis: One potential side effect of black seed is contact dermatitis. Simply touching black seed may cause a red rash along the skin for some individuals, often accompanied by an itching sensation.

Final thoughts:

We hope our “50 Black Seed Oil Benefits and It’s Side Effects” article has been useful in helping you to see whether or not this particular herb is appropriate for you. We believe this seed is packed full of brilliant benefits and properties, allowing it to be the perfect multi-purpose home remedy.

Treating issues such as poor skin health, seizures, moles, peeling and cracked lips, and diarrhea—all while improving the appearance of your hair, beard, and pores.

Feel free to let us know what you used the black seed oil for and how effective it is for you. We here at Balance Me Beautiful love hearing from our readers, so leave a comment below! If you would like to ask us a question or suggest a subject for a new article visit our Contact page to submit.

Whole cumin seeds can be toasted by placing them in a dry skillet for five minutes until they become fragrant, but don’t overcook. You can also add hot oil to cumin seeds until you hear cracking sounds. Toasted cumin seeds can be added to just about any food such as potatoes, soups, hummus, stews, salsas and fish dishes.

For More Information about the Science behind Black Seed


Updated: September 8, 2018 by Dr. Kimberly Langdon M.D. All medical facts and points stated on this page are correct as of this date. Please be aware that new content and additional references were added in this last update. All the content and media has been uploaded by Lily Greene our webmaster, who is also in charge of page design. 

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.