An Essential Guide to Black Seed Oil History, Benefits, and Uses

Published on March 14, 2023

By Gaia Herbs

Gaia Herbs

While it may sound new to you, Black Seed Oil has a history stretching back centuries. This staple herb of traditional Ayurvedic medicine is extracted from the seeds of the Black Cumin plant. For a plant that has been revered for its health-supportive properties for thousands of years, it is surprisingly not that well-known in the United States.*

At Gaia Herbs, we prize Black Seed Oil for its ability to help keep lungs healthy.* With both a heightened immune season and seasonal challenges, it’s more important than ever to prioritize your respiratory health.* 

If you are worried about your respiratory health and looking for an easy way to add natural support for your lungs, Black Seed Oil could be the perfect herbal ally for you.*

It's time to discover more about Black Seed Oil and why it should be considered an herbal essential all year round to help maintain healthy lungs.*

What Is Black Seed Oil?

Black Seed (Nigella sativa) is an annual plant in the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), also known as Black Cumin Seed and Black Caraway Seed. It should not be mistaken as a relative of Cumin or Caraway, both in the Carrot family.

This plant is a small flowering shrub with purple or white-tinged flowers and narrow, threadlike leaves. The shrub produces fruits that contain many tiny Black Seeds.

The Black Seed plant grows wild and is cultivated in parts of northern Southeastern Asia, Africa, Turkey, and the Middle East. This plant thrives in this area of the world, as the seeds can maintain viability in extreme temperatures and sun exposure.

In traditional medicine, nigella sativa seeds (n. Sativa) and seed extracts have been used to soothe the effects of numerous ailments, from joint discomfort to various skin conditions. This is thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects. These anti-inflammatory properties act as a bulwark against oxidative stress and harmful molecules like free radicals. Today, there are even studies that are examining the effects it may have on metabolic disorders and obesityREF#919. 

Consuming Black Seeds & Black Seed Oil

Black Seeds can be ingested raw or lightly toasted. The most popular way to ingest raw Black Seeds is by sprinkling them on toast, bagels, oatmeal, or yogurt to add to your morning breakfast. But you can also add the Black Seeds to soups, stir-fries, or pasta dishes. A lot of people like to grind the Black Seeds and mix them into recipes along with other seasonings.

However, Black Seed Oil (made from pressed Black Seeds) can also be ingested orally and taken by the spoonful, but most people think it has a very strong and bitter taste. That’s why many people mix Black Seed Oil with something sweet, such as honey or sugar to try and mask the bitter flavor when consuming it. 

For many, taking Black Seed Oil in a capsule is the best way to avoid the unpleasant flavor while not missing out on the many benefits. Plus, this makes it easier to incorporate into a daily wellness routine.

Health-Supporting Benefits of Black Seed Oil*

Black Seeds have a unique phytochemical profile. The small seeds are packed with essential fatty acids (including oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acids) and terpenes (including thymoquinone, p-cymene, nigellone, carvacrol, and alpha-pinene).

Since the 1960s, there have been over 1,000 clinical studies on the therapeutic benefits of Black Seeds. Black Seeds have been traditionally used for maintaining a healthy immune response and supporting the cardiovascular system, the immune system, digestion and constipation relief, bodyweight loss and glycemic response, and the health of the lungs and sinuses.*

Black Seed Oil is considered a nutritive tonic that has been shown to act as a demulcent in the body (meaning it has the ability to soothe and protect).*

So why is Black Seed Oil such a beneficial natural remedy for our health? A lot has to do with its key component thymoquinone (also known as TQ) which contains high antioxidant properties.*

With its unique and powerful nutrient and phytochemical profile, Black Seed Oil is believed to provide many health benefits, which is why it has been relied on by many medicinal systems throughout the ages.*

Numerous placebo-controlled studies and clinical trials have looked at the potential therapeutic effects of nigella sativa and black seed supplementation with promising results. This is true regarding thymoquinone’s gastrointestinal, antifungal, and antimicrobial effects and its support of healthy blood pressure, hair growth, and blood sugar levels (glucose)REF#920. Of course, studies are still ongoing. 

Gaia Herbs’ Organic & Non-GMO Black Seed Oil

For plants used in our supplements that we source and cannot grow on our own Certified Organic farm, such as the Black Seed plant, we source the plants from where they grow best, and where conditions are ideal to produce the highest possible level of phytochemicals to support health.

We look for farmers who will grow to meet our stringent quality standards and grow either organically or use sustainable farming practices. We also look for suppliers that adhere to environmentally and socially responsible business practices and natural resource conservation.

Our Black Seeds comes from a farmer cooperative growing 220 (Certified Organic and non-GMO) acres of this ancient plant in its native bioregion in Israel. The farmers that belong to this cooperative own shares in what is known as a "kibbutz" system. A kibbutz is a communal settlement, traditionally based on agriculture, in which all wealth is held in common and the profits are reinvested in the settlement.

These farmers are growing specific varieties of Black Seeds that have a genetically higher (2-3x) thymoquinone percentage (TQ%) than other varieties. There is also a non-GMO breeding program to select certain seed varieties with outstanding, consistent quality with low and high TQ content to standardize the TQ% levels for organic quality oil (such as the organic Black Seed Oil used in Gaia Herbs’ products).

Through vertical integration and managing seed genetics, these farmers are able to grow consistently high-quality Black Seeds, which in turn allows us to produce the most efficacious Black Seed Oil for our customers.

Not All Black Seed Oil Is Created Equal

But be careful when you’re on your Black Seed Oil search because not all oils are created equal. At Gaia Herbs, we only use cold-pressed oil from these organically grown Black Seeds in our products. The Black Seeds are dried in the farm fields before being cleaned and sent to the pressing facility, which is within walking distance of the farm fields.

These seeds are grown and cold-pressed in the same location, allowing vertical integration of the supply chain, which helps to produce a full spectrum, high quality, and effective oil.*

Why Is Cold-Pressed Black Seed Oil Better?

Cold-pressed oil contains the whole lipid phase of the Black Seeds, which keeps the proper ratios and amounts of biological compounds (ex. TQ). Additionally, cold-pressed oil helps maintain the plant's natural integrity and balance and keeps the extract as close to the original plant as possible.

Black Seed Oil for Lung & Respiratory Health*

As mentioned above, Black Seed has been revered for centuries as an Ayurvedic herb that supports lung health and helps to maintain the respiratory system.*

With lung health being a critical focus for many these days, you can provide your lungs with the support that they need with Gaia Herbs’ powerful single herb Black Seed Oil liquid Phyto-Caps®. This formula provides antioxidant support, helping to keep lungs working optimally and efficiently in a convenient capsule format.*

Does Black Seed Oil Have Side Effects?

Black seed oil is known for its potential health benefits, but it is also good to be aware of the potential side effects in some individuals. Some of the most common side effects of black seed oil include digestive issues such as stomach upset, nausea, and bloating. 

It may also cause allergic reactions in some people. These symptoms could include eczema-like symptoms, rash, itching, and swelling.

Are There Medication Interactions With Black Seed Oil?

Black seed oil could interact with certain medications. These include blood-thinning medications and blood pressure-lowering medications. It may also affect blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes.

At the end of the day, the effects of nigella sativa oil are different for everyone. So, it’s always wise to consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns. This is especially true for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Discover Black Seed Oil

Next time you are looking for natural support for your lung and respiratory health, consider adding Black Seed Oil to your daily wellness regime.*

As mentioned earlier, you can purchase Black Seed Oil here on our site and it can also be found in most health stores. From our supplier search, we found many low-quality Black Seeds in the market, so it is important to do a little research and know you are buying your Black Seeds or Black Seed Oil from a quality source.

At Gaia Herbs, we’re committed to transparency. We want you to feel confident in the supplements you take. We assure you of the purity, integrity, and potency of our products by allowing you to trace your herbs with our Meet Your Herbs® program, the world’s first herb traceability platform.

You can enter the ID number located on the back of every Gaia Herbs product (including our Black Seed Oil) and instantly learn when your product was manufactured as well as its best by date. Then, take a deeper dive into each herb in your product — where it came from; how it was grown, harvested, and extracted.

You can be assured that our products are safely produced without the use of pesticides and other toxins that can damage our bodies and the earth.

Why are we committed to these efforts? Because you deserve the highest quality, safe, pure, and effective herbal products to support your health and well-being.


  • 1. Namazi, Nazli, Bagher Larijani, Mohammad Hossein Ayati, and Mohammad Abdollahi, "The Effects of Nigella Sativa L. on Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis", Journal of Ethnopharmacology 219 (June 11, 2018): 173–81.
  • 2. Shakeri, Farzaneh, Zahra Gholamnezhad, Bruno Mégarbane, Ramin Rezaee, and Mohammad Hossein Boskabady, "Gastrointestinal Effects of Nigella Sativa and Its Main Constituent, Thymoquinone: A Review", Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine 6, no. 1 (December 31, 2015): 9–20.