A potent anti-inflammatory with antioxidant and immune-boosting properties, organic black seed oil (also known as Nigella sativa) may help reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve arthritis and soothe stomach upset. This powerhouse ingredient also offers anti-aging benefits for skin and hair. The oil’s antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and liver-and-kidney-protective properties come from its active constituent, thymoquinone.
The ingredient, which is also available as a supplement, may help treat and prevent metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. In a small study, those who took a supplement with black seed oil experienced decreased diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as reduced fasting blood sugar levels.
For the skin, a topical application of the oil can help rebalance and normalize sebum production, which may lead to less frequent breakouts. It can also hydrate the skin, which can help reduce discolouration and encourage a more even tone and texture. Plus, the oil can help reduce inflammation associated with inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and vitiligo.
Unlike conventional creams, which can have a laundry list of side effects such as rashes, itching or swelling, black seed oil is typically safe for most people to use, says Kelley. However, it can increase your risk of bleeding or clotting problems, so anyone with a bleeding disorder should avoid it. It can also interfere with certain medications, such as blood thinners like Heparin or warfarin.