Globally there is a shift in buying preferences and consumers are increasing ditching synthetic ingredients to natural products. Consequently, the market for black seed oil in the US is estimated to expand to a whopping 130 tons, with value in excess of 25 million USD. The oil finds many applications, including medicinal and cooking. As a result of the huge demand, consumers trying out the product for the first time should ideally understand about possible side effects and the suitability of the oil. Here is a detailed explanation about black seed oil side effects and its various applications.
Overview: what is black seed oil and what are the common black seed oil side effects?
Black seed oil has been used for medicinal purposes for more than 2000 years, and is most commonly used for treating tooth ache, congestion in the nose, worms in the intestine, asthma and arthritis, apart from headache. It has been used in the past to treat conjunctivitis, parasitical infections and is now popularly used for weight loss and treating hypertension. Extracted from the little black seeds of the shrub Nigella Sativa, the therapeutic uses of the oil have found widespread use beyond its place of origin – Middle East, Western Asia and Easter Europe. Before we look at the common black seed oil side effects let us understand more about the benefits of the oil.
Commonly known benefits of black seed oil
The common benefits of black seed oil include its ability to bring about weight loss. Studies on individuals have revealed positive effects as black seeds are known to bring down the BMI (body mass index) of subjects when put on black seed oil. It has positive effects on anti-obesity programmes and is therefore widely used for weight reduction. The oil is popularly used for treating a variety of skin conditions including eczema, acne and psoriasis. Black seed oil has proven therapeutic effects on hand eczema and it also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, the oil is used for treating acne in patients with good outcomes. Black seed oil has also been tested for use on patients with psoriasis due to its perceived anti-psoriatic properties.
Before we look at black seed oil side effects it is time to also look at the positive effects of black seed oil on hair and skin. It has been widely used for moisturising the skin and is popularly used for hydrating hair and the skin. Other health benefits of black seed oil include positive effects on cancer patients. This is attributed to the presence of thymoquinone in the oil which is known to have an effect on cell death in cancer cells. As a result it is thought to have positive effects on patients with brain cancer, breast cancer and leukemia. However, it is important to add that research is not advanced or conclusive in this regard.
Black seed oil is known to help treat various conditions in the liver and kidney. Research into these effects have been performed on laboratory animals and are yet to be carried out on human subjects. It is therefore, taken without conclusive scientific evidence on its efficacy. The oil is known to have positive effects on patients with diabetes, while also having proven benefits on males suffering from infertility issues. Black seed oil is known to increase sperm count, sperm volume and the movement of sperm, thereby helping infertile males mange the condition effectively.
Common black seed oil side effects
It is time to look at common black seed oil side effects and simple methods to keep the effects under control. The most important fact that needs to be borne in mind is that black seed oil was primarily used for medicinal purposes when allopathy was not at an advanced state. In the present era of evidence-based medicine and research, black seed oil is not to be considered as a better alternative to medication, but an option for supporting the line of treatment. Among the probable risks associated with excessive use of black seed oil is its possible effect on pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding. Black seed oil is also known to cause allergic rashes in certain individuals who are prone to allergies.
Excessive use of black seed is known to cause an upset stomach and could result in constipation among individuals, apart from vomiting. Individuals desirous of using black seeds and products need to procure only USDA certified products that are organic and therapeutic grade. The oil is potent and is therefore advised to be taken only after using a test patch. It is also important to ensure that the oil is away from sensitive portions in the body – the eyes, ears, nostrils etc.
Drug interactions of black seed oil
In addition to knowing all about the common black seed oil side effects it is also important to understand all about possible drug interactions. For instance, the oil is known to interact with medications that are used for controlling diabetes. The effect is moderate and not severe. Similarly, black seed oil is also known to bring down blood sugar levels. When individuals on diabetes medication take black seed oil, this could result in a drop of blood sugar levels. It is therefore necessary to alter the dosage of diabetes medication when taken alongside black seed oil.
Similarly, other moderate drug interactions include an impact on immunosuppressant medications. Black seed is known to boost the immune system and as a result of this, individuals taking medications to suppress the immune system will find lesser efficacy of medication. Apart from black seed oil side effects, interactions with anticoagulant medications also require caution on the part of patients. The seeds and the its products are known to have an effect on blood clotting. Therefore, individuals on anticoagulant medication will end up with more than the desired effect, which will result possible bruising or bleeding in patients.
The seeds are also used for lowering blood pressure, and as a result there is a possibility of individuals on other antihypertensive medication experiencing reduced blood pressure levels. The combination of medication and black seeds may multiply the desired outcomes, and it is therefore necessary to cut down on black seed products during the course of the medication. On a similar note, black seed oil may cause higher levels of drowsiness in patients if taken alongside other sedatives. It is therefore necessary to cut down on either of the two, to ensure that the effects are within desired levels.
Precautions to be taken to avoid black seed oil side effects
Simple precautions that can be taken to avoid black seed oil side effects include testing the oil on a patch before applying on skin to avoid allergic rashes. Pregnant women are advised to consume lesser quantity, or seek the advice of the doctor to prevent possible adverse effects. Individuals with certain conditions such as bleeding disorders, diabetes, and low blood pressure need to use lesser quantity to prevent strong outcomes from the medication. Similarly, there is a possibility of black seeds causing serotonin syndrome with undesirable side effects. Another possible impact is the effect of black seeds on patients undergoing surgical procedures, as it is known to have an adverse impact on patients during anaesthesia.