Drinking herbal medicine has become a habit that has been falling down for the people of Indonesia. One plant that is often processed into herbal medicine is Black Seed, which has the Latin name Nigella sativa. Indeed, what are the benefits of Black Seed for health?
What is Black Seed?
Indeed, Black Seed is a black cumin seed that comes from an annual flowering plant named Nigella sativa from the Ranunculaceae family, a plant native to South Asia and West Asia.
In their home countries, black cumin is often used as a natural flavoring and preservative for Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Black cumin has a distinctive bitter-spicy flavor and aroma such as a combination of shallots, black pepper, and oregano.
Various benefits of Black Seed for health
Benefits of Black Seed was first examined by Ibn Sina, a Persian scientist who is considered one of the most famous thinkers and writers of the Golden Age of Islam, in his medical journal Canon of Medicine. Ibn Sina wrote that black cumin seeds are useful as a treatment for shortness of breath, either because of asthma symptoms or because of other respiratory problems.
In traditional medicine, Black Seed is used primarily as an stimulant for the production of breast milk, and for deworming. Black cumin has also been used as a diuretic and muscle relaxant (for twitching and seizures), as well as to increase the body's immunity to fight infectious diseases in people who have a weak immune system.
In addition, black cumin seeds have been used to treat headaches, toothaches, and flu and stuffy nose. Black Seed has also been used to treat red eyes (conjunctivitis), hemorrhoids, festering wounds (abscesses), rheumatism, allergic reactions, to digestive problems - such as diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, colic, and flatulence. Black Seed oil smeared on the skin is also reported to cure skin allergic reactions due to contact dermatitis.
What does the modern medical world say about the benefits of Black Seed?
1. Improve sperm quality
Especially for heavy smokers, the content of nicotine and other poisons in cigarettes has long been known to reduce the agility of sperm to swim (motility) and also affect their normal shape. Nicotine also has a negative impact on the structure of testicular tissue. Abnormalities in sperm and testes are important risk factors for male fertility problems. A study from the University of Malaysia in 2014 in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that Black Seed oil improves sperm quality and supports better testicular tissue structure.
2. Overcoming the symptoms of type 1 diabetes
Thymoquinone (TQ) is the main active compound contained in Black Seed oil. After conducting experiments in lab mice, a study from the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Malaysia in 2014 found that injection of TQ in high doses can stop the development of full type 1 diabetes.
Another study from Zagazig University in Egypt reported that when Black Seed extract was mixed with other Middle Eastern herbal spices (Myrrh, Gum Olybanum, and Asafoetida Gum) it was effective in reducing blood sugar levels in lab rats due to the effect of inhibiting glucose metabolism in the liver . Therefore, researchers believe that this herbal extract might be used as a treatment for diabetes that is not dependent on insulin drugs.
3. Lower blood pressure
Research from Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences in Iran reports that consumption of Black Seed Extract pills every day for two months can reduce blood pressure in people who have mild hypertension. Plus, there are no complications caused by Black Seed on the health of the participants of the study.
This finding was obtained after conducting trials in three separate groups with all members having mild hypertension - the first two groups were given habbatus sauda extract pills at a dose of 100 mg and 200 mg, while the third group received placebo (empty pills) which were taken regularly twice a day. After eight weeks, the values of systolic and diastolic blood pressure in two groups of Sauda extract of Habbatus extract were found to decrease compared to those who took empty pills. However, the decline is small, which only ranges from 1-3 mmHg.
The habbatus extract pill is also found to reduce levels of total cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol, while increasing HDL good cholesterol levels in some cases. However, this cholesterol balancing effect of habbatus only appears in those who have mild high cholesterol, the same benefits not found in people who have normal cholesterol levels.
4. Fight cancer
Habbatusauda contains antioxidant compounds ethanol which are known to inhibit cancer cell malignancy and its development over time in lab rats. Ethanol was found to produce around 80 percent of the protective effects of oxidative stress in the body. Too much free radicals in the body can cause the body to experience oxidative stress, which triggers various cell damage in the body and causes various kinds of chronic diseases, including cancer.
Habbatassauda should not be taken carelessly
What needs to be understood is that the scientific evidence of the benefits of Black Seed above is still limited in rigorous laboratory tests. Most are only done in cell culture, experimental animals, or small experiments on a group of humans. Therefore, further research is still needed to corroborate all these benefit claims aimed at humans.
Drinking herbs and herbal medicines as a complementary alternative to chemical drugs (both prescription and non-prescription) is okay. Herbal medicines in the form of decoction are relatively safe to consume because toxic substances that may be contained have undergone chemical structure changes. However, herbal supplements should not be taken arbitrarily because everyone's reaction to drugs can be different from each other. Even though they have the same complaint, not necessarily herbal medicines that turn out to be suitable for you will provide the same benefits to your child or neighbor.
So herbal medicines should only be consumed to maintain health, restore disease, or reduce the risk of illness - not to cure. To cure disease, prescription drugs and routine health control are needed.
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