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The Power of Black Cumin Seed

When it comes to versatility and the power of its health benefits, black cumin seed stands above other botanicals. Are you using black cumin seed?

A Long History of Therapeutic Use

The black seed of nigella sativa (black cumin seed) has been used for over three thousand years for preventing and treating many different diseases. In ancient texts and historical documents black cumin seed is noted for its therapeutic attributes and ability to support the body in its own natural healing processes. Archeological studies report that black cumin seed seeds have been found in several sites from ancient Egypt, including in the tomb of Tutankhamun. It has been revered as a beauty secret since ancient times as Queen Nefertiti, renowned for her complexion, was, a reportedly a devoted black cumin seed user. Ibri Sina, the Persian physician and philosopher, discussed black cumin seed in the text Canon of Medicine, considered a hallmark publication in the history of human medicine and used as the primary medical text throughout Europe until the 17 th century. In it he states that black cumin seed has preventive and restorative features as it “stimulates the body’s energy and helps in recovery from fatigue and dispiritedness.”

What conditions can black cumin seed help address?

  • Cancer. Black cumin seed has potent anti-oxidant properties and these are thought to be behind the cancer prevention properties demonstrated in animal studies. In vitro and animal studies also show inhibition and reduction of tumor growth in various types of cancer including blood, breast, colon, pancreatic, liver, lung, skin, kidney, prostate and cervix. There are also demonstrated benefits as an adjunctive to chemotherapy in humans—for instance, black cumin seed shows a potential ability to decrease the incidence of side effects in children with brain tumors who are on chemotherapy. Its active component, thymoquinone, sensitizes brain cancer cells to chemotherapy, making treatment more effective.
  • Heart Disease and Diabetes. Black cumin seed favorably affects several parameters related to heart disease risk including lowering total and LDL cholesterol, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, reducing plaque formation. It also reduces blood glucose, as well as diabetic-associated complications such as neuropathy.
  • Infections. Black cumin seed is a potent antimicrobial with the ability to fight bacteria, parasites, fungi and even viruses. It has demonstrated activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the strain of bacteria that is difficult to treat and resistant to antibiotics. Black cumin seed even reduces viral load and improves other markers in patients with hepatitis C.
  • Neurological Conditions. Black cumin seed has been shown in in vitro and animal studies to be protective of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury. Learning and memory is also improved in animals given black cumin seed. Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties are thought to be responsible for this effect.
  • Immune Disorders. Black cumin seed has been shown helpful in autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and rheumatoid arthritis, and also allergic asthma, sinusitis, and eczema. In a 2018 placebo-controlled clinical trial, anti-TPO antibodies reduced from an average 295 to 148 (IU/ml, p=0.019) and TSH decreased from 6.42 to 4.13 (mIU/l, p-0.03) in patients receiving 2g/d powdered black cumin seed for 8 weeks. For a deeper dive into the application of black cumin seed for asthma and allergy, evidenced by several human studies, you’ll want to read our recent article by CDP colleague Sezelle Gereau, Functional otolaryngologist: Consider Nigella Sativa for Asthma and Allergy.
  • Pain. Black cumin seed oil, applied topically, is better than moderate dosing of oral acetaminophen (paracetamol) at reducing pain from knee osteoarthritis. Oral black cumin seed oil also has general analgesic effects, according to animal studies.

What Form to Take? Seed or Oil? And How Much?

In human clinical trials, dosages of 1-3 grams of black cumin seed powder has been used (orally) for up to 12 months. 2 months is recommended before checking on changes to cholesterol or blood glucose management. Black cumin seed oil is used orally at doses up to 5 mL or 40 mg per kg for up to 8 weeks for therapeutic effects. Topical use, for example for knee osteoarthritis, has included 1 mL applied locally three times per day.

Tell us – have you been using black cumin seed oil? Will you start using it? Add your comments below.

Our Nutrition Resident, Jim Wilday, contributed to this article. This personal note is from Jim: I have been including 1 tsp of black cumin seed oil in a morning smoothie for better than three years. There are lots of health-giving ingredients in this drink so it’s difficult to distinguish with pinpoint accuracy, what black cumin seed’s effects are for me. My sense is that it improves my energy and alertness throughout the day and has allowed me to sleep through the night without interruption. My interest in doing additional research was piqued when learning of a patient whose list of unwanted symptoms all disappeared when taking black cumin seed and promptly returned when he discontinued usage. I promptly went to the U.S. Library of Medicine database, PubMed, and did a search on “black cumin seed oil”. It returned 1,069 peer-reviewed scientific studies.

Jim’s bio – Jim Wilday MS has a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from University of Bridgeport and is a certified health and wellness coach by Real Balance Global Wellness Services. He is currently working toward Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) licensure. Prior to enrollment in the Functional Nutrition Residency Program (FNRP) under Dr. Kara Fitzgerald ND, Jim was interning within a New Jersey practice specializing in nutrition counseling and chiropractic care. Jim’s prior career was as both a direct sales and management executive selling high-end software solutions primarily to the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industry. Having had a serious interest in natural healthcare for decades, he is excited and inspired by the quantum leap forward in healthcare that he recognizes Functional Medicine to represent and is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the FNRP.

When it comes to versatility and the power of its health benefits, black cumin seed (nigella sativa) may stand alone above all other oils.

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Cannabis Removed from Dangerous Substances: UN

  • 04 Dec 2020
  • 7 min read
  • GS Paper – 2
  • Health
  • Government Policies & Interventions
  • Important International Institutions

Why in News

Recently, the United Nations (UN) Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), at its 63 rd session, has taken a number of decisions, leading to changes in the way cannabis (Marijuana or Hemp) is internationally regulated, including its reclassification out of the most dangerous category of drugs.

Key Points

  • Background:
    • In January 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) made six recommendations related to the scheduling of cannabis in UN treaties, including the deletion of cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961.
      • Schedule IV is the category of drugs that are considered to have “particularly dangerous properties” in comparison to other drugs.
    • The proposals were to be placed before the CND’s session in March 2019, but members voted to postpone the vote, requesting more time.
  • Global Decision:
    • Older Status: The CND decision will remove cannabis from Schedule IV, where it was listed alongside deadly, addictive opioids, including heroin.
    • Current Status: Now, both cannabis and cannabis resin will remain on Schedule I, which includes the least dangerous category of substances.
    • Countries in Favour: 27 of the CND’s 53 Member States, including India, the USA and most European nations, voted in favour of the motion.
    • Countries not in Favour: 25 countries, including China, Pakistan, and Russia, were not in favour and there was one abstention, Ukraine.
  • Significance:
    • Since the Convention was enforced in 1961, cannabis had been subject to the strictest control schedules, which even discouraged its use for medical purposes.
    • The reclassification of cannabis, although significant, would not immediately change its status worldwide as long as individual countries continue with existing regulations.
    • However, it will impact this process, as many nations follow the lead of international protocols while legislating in their respective nations.
    • With this historic vote, the CND has opened the door to recognizing the medicinal and therapeutic potential of cannabis.
  • India’s Stand and Regulations:
    • India has voted with the majority to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the list of most dangerous substances in the Convention.
    • Under India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 1985, the production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transport, and use of cannabis is a punishable offence.
      • The Act was enacted in 1985 which succeeded the Dangerous Drugs Act 1930.
    • The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is vested with the power to charge individuals in cases related to the illegal use and supply of narcotics.


  • According to the WHO, cannabis is a generic term used to denote the several psychoactive preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa.
    • According to the WHO, cannabis is by far the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illicit drug in the world.
  • The major psychoactive constituent in cannabis is Delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • The unpollinated female plants are called hashish. Cannabis oil (hashish oil) is a concentrate of cannabinoids (compounds which are structurally similar to THC) obtained by solvent extraction of the crude plant material or of the resin.
  • According to the NDPS Act “cannabis plant” means any plant of the genus cannabis.
    • ‘Charas’is the separated resin extracted from the cannabis plant. The NDPS Act covers separated raisin, in whatever form, whether crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant and also includes concentrated preparation and resin known as hashish oil or liquid hashish.
    • The Act defines‘ganja’as the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant but it clearly excludes the seeds and leaves.
    • The Act illegalises any mixture with or without any neutral material, of any of the two forms of cannabis, charas and ganja, or any drink prepared from it.
    • The legislature left seeds and leaves of the cannabis plant out of the ambit of the Act, because the serrated leaves of the plant have negligible THC content.
    • ‘Bhang’, which is commonly consumed during festivals like Holi, is a paste made out of the leaves of the cannabis plant, and is hence not outlawed.
    • Similarly, CBD oil, an acronym for cannabidiol derived from the leaves of the cannabis plant, would not come under the NDPS Act.
      • The NDPS Act does not permit the recreational use of cannabis in India.
      • While CBD oil manufactured with a licence under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 can be legally used, it is not very common.

Commission on Narcotic Drugs

  • It is the UN agency mandated to decide on the scope of control of substances by placing them in the schedules of global drug control conventions.
  • It was founded in 1946 and is headquartered in Vienna.
  • Global attitudes towards cannabis have changed dramatically since the commencement of the 1961 Convention, with many jurisdictions permitting cannabis use for recreation, medication or both.
  • Currently, over 50 countries allow medicinal cannabis programmes, and its recreational use has been legalised in Canada, Uruguay and 15 states of the USA.

We can’t seem to find the page what you are looking for!

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Cannabis Removed from Dangerous Substances: UN