Health benefits of Black cumin seed

Evidence Based Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr. MESSANGA Dimitri, MD Written by - Dr. Shaheen Shah


What is Black cumin seed?

Black cumin seeds are the spice seeds belonging to the two different plant species viz; Nigella sativa and Bunium bulbocastanum.

Nigella sativa

  • Nigella sativa is a native flowering plant of Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East. The plants grow up to three feet.
  • Nigella sativa is also known as back cumin, nigella, Roman coriander, kalonji, black caraway, and fennel flower.
  • The seed has varying sizes and shapes, is entirely black, and contains the active component thymoquinone, which has many health benefits.
  • It has a strong bitter taste and smell.

Bunium bulbocastanum

  • Bunium bulbocastanum is a flowering plant about two feet tall.
  • It is native to Southern Asia, Southeast Europe, and Northern Africa and is known as black cumin, soil chestnut, black Zira, and soil chestnut.
  • The roots are edible and taste like chestnut or coconut; the leaves can be used as herbs.
Black cumin seeds are the spice seeds belonging to the two different plant species viz; Nigella sativa and Bunium bulbocastanum.

Facts of Black cumin seed

  • People all over the world use it to flavor dishes
  • Black cumin seed is an ingredient used in many spice blends
  • People buy Black cumin seeds either as dried seeds or in powder form
  • Black seed oil drawn out from the seeds of Nigella sativa has many health benefits
  • Black cumin seed has been used for medicinal purposes from ancient times 1Overview| Researched based study from

Nutritional Value

Nutritional Value of Black cumin seed

One teaspoon of whole cumin seeds contains the following

  • Calories-7.88
  • Carbohydrate -0.93grams
  • Protein-0.37 grams
  • Fat-0.47 grams
  • Calcium-19.6 milligrams
  • Magnesium-7.69 milligrams
  • Iron- 1.39 milligrams

Besides the list mentioned above, Cumin seeds also contain copper, zinc, thiamin, phosphorus, folic acid, and niacin 2Nutritional value| Researched based study from

Bioactive compounds in black cumin seed


  • It has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties


  • It has anti-cancer and antioxidant properties


  • It has antimicrobial property


It has multiple properties, such as:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-cancer
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-seizure
  • Anti-diabetic 2Nutritional value| Researched based study from

Health Benefits

Health benefit of Black cumin seed.

Health Benefits of Black cumin seed

The health benefits of black cumin seeds are as follows:

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Helps in diabetes management
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Helps in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) management
  • Helps in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Reduces ulcerative colitis related discomfort
  • Improves male infertility
  • Reduces stress

Lowers cholesterol

  • Black cumin seeds lower the level of total cholesterol
  • It decreases the risk of heart diseases 3Health benefits| Researched based study from

Helps in diabetes

  • Black cumin seeds decrease the blood sugar level in type 2 diabetes
  • It increases insulin sensitivity. High insulin sensitivity allows body cells to utilize glucose more efficiently
  • It reduces the risk of complications associated with type 2 diabetes 4Health benefits| Researched based study from

Helps with weight loss

  • Black cumin seeds decrease body fat and weight
  • It reduced the waist circumference 3Health benefits| Researched based study from

Manages irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • Black cumin seeds improved the constipation
  • It lowered the fecal urgency
  • It improved the IBS symptoms such as stomach gas (bloating) and abdominal pain 5Health benefits| Researched based study from

Helps in Alzheimer’s disease

  • Black cumin seeds improves the memory
  • It decreases the cognitive decline 6Health benefits| Researched based study from

Helps in ulcerative colitis

  • Black cumin seeds prevent ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a condition that causes ulcers in the lining of the large intestine.
  • It decreased the proinflammatory cytokines that increases in ulcerative colitis 7Health benefits| Researched based study from

Improves male infertility

  • Black cumin seeds increases the sperm count and improves the sperm motility 8Health benefits| Researched based study from

However, more research is required to know the effect of black cumin seeds on male infertility.

Reduces stress

  • Black cumin seeds act as antioxidants and decrease the body’s stress level
  • It reduces anxiety and confusion 6Health benefits| Researched based study from


Dosage of Black cumin seed

The dosages of Black cumin seed supplement, used mainly by adults, are as follows:

  • Black seed powder-1 to 2 grams daily for 8 -12 weeks
  • Black seed oil-1 to 2.5 grams daily for 4 to 12 weeks 9Dosage| Researched based study from

However, it is best to consult a healthcare professional to know the exact dose for a particular condition.

Side effects

Side effects of Black cumin seed

Black seeds are usually well tolerated by most people when consumed as food. However, side effects that might occur in some people are as follows:

  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Skin rashes
  • Swelling of the mouth, lips, face, and tongue
  • Stomach problem
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Difficult breathing
  • Increased bleeding 10Side effects| Researched based study from


Precautions for Black cumin seed

  • Pregnant women should avoid consuming in large doses as it might slow the uterus from contracting.
  • Nursing mothers should avoid using it because they lack information on its safety in these groups.
  • Black seed oil is safe for children when consumed in small quantities and for short periods

Who should not consume Black cumin seed

  • People with high blood sugar (diabetes)
  • One with heart disease
  • with bleeding disorders
  • People with immune disorders
  • People on blood pressure medication
  • People on blood thinning medication
  • Who are planning for a surgical operation two weeks later 11Precautions| Researched based study from


Tips to use and enjoy Black cumin seed

  • To give a warm flavor, one can add to soups, stews, and curries before roasting
  • One can add in meats and vegetables before frying to enhance the taste
  • One can use it as a spice on bread, buns, sauces, and beverages
  • One can add dry roasted cumin seeds to a variety of pulses
  • One can use it in nun bread and cheese

Purchasing Black cumin seed

  • Black cumin seeds are available in any local grocery store and online.
  • However, one can purchase cold-pressed black seed oil for purchasing seed oil.


Interactions of Black cumin seed

High blood sugar medication (anti-diabetic)

  • Black cumin seeds might lower blood sugar levels.
  • So, taking black cumin seeds and anti-diabetic medication together might make the blood sugar level go too low, causing sweating, nervousness, lightheadedness, and fainting.

Blood thinning medication (anticoagulant)

  • Black cumin seeds might delay the blood clotting process.
  • So, taking black cumin seeds and anticoagulants together might increase the risk of profuse bleeding.

Immunosuppressant medication

  • Immunosuppressant medication decreases the body’s immune response, while black cumin increases the body’s immune response.
  • So, taking black cumin seed and Immunosuppressant medication viz; cyclosporine together might decrease the efficiency of the drug.

High blood pressure medication (antihypertensive medication)

  • Black cumin seeds might lower blood pressure.
  • When consume together, black cumin seed and antihypertensive medication, like amlodipine might further lower the blood pressure level, causing dizziness and fainting.

Sedative medication

  • Sedatives are medications to treat sleep problems and anxiety. Black cumin seeds also induce sleepiness and slow the breathing
  • Taking cumin seeds and sedative medication together might cause excessive drowsiness and difficulty breathing.

Diuretic medication (water pills)

  • Both black cumin seeds and diuretic medication decrease the potassium level in our bodies.
  • They might further decrease the potassium level, causing muscle weakness, tiredness, abnormal heartbeat, and increased urination, if taking together.

Serotonergic medication (Serotonin level increasing medication)

  • Black cumin seed increases the serotonin level in the body
  • Serotonin is the brain’s chemical responsible for good mood, sleep, and digestion.
  • Black cumin seed and serotonergic medication together might increase the serotonin to go too high, causing severe side effects such as heart problems, vomiting, and seizures (convulsions) 12Interactions| Researched based study from


Storage of Black cumin seed

Black cumin seeds stay fresh for about a year when kept correctly

Tips for storage

  • One should store black cumin seeds in a dry, cool place such as a cabinet and cupboard.
  • One should keep it away from the stove and direct sunlight


Key Takeaways

  • Black cumin seeds have the potential to address various health issues, including boosting the immune to fight various infections.
  • Black cumin seeds are much healthier when used in varietal meals in small amounts.
  • Black cumin seeds seem promising in medicine, but research is very limited in humans.
  • Moreover, further research is wanted to determine the ideal black cumin seed supplement dose to prevent unwanted side effects.
Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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