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Black seed oil, cold-pressed from the seeds of the Nigella sativa plant, has been traditionally used for centuries as a medicinal herb. The oil is the most popular way to obtain the benefits of this powerful superfood. Another less popular, but still heavily used method for reaping the benefits of this unique plant food is by using the seeds in their raw form. Those that consume whole black cumin seeds tend to argue that they offer a potentially more potent and unprocessed form of the herb. In this blog post, we will examine the differences between consuming cold-pressed black seed oil and raw black seeds and explore the reasons why black seed oil may be the better option.
Cold-Pressed Black Seed Oil & Raw Black Seeds: Defined
Cold-pressed black seed oil is extracted from black seeds using a mechanical press, without the use of heat or chemicals. This method of extraction is known as cold pressing, and it helps to retain all of the beneficial compounds that occur within the seeds. While other extraction methods exist, they usually require heat or chemicals which should be avoided as these directly impact the potency and nutritional content of the resulting oil in a negative way.
In contrast, raw black seeds, are simply the whole seeds harvested from the flowers of the Nigella sativa bush that have not undergone any processing or oil extraction.
Differences in Nutritional Content
Black seed oil and raw black seeds both contain a wide range of nutrients that are beneficial for human health, including essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and Thymoquinone. However, the oil is a more concentrated and thus, a more potent source of these nutrients; the oil is also easier for the body to absorb as it is more readily bioavailable.
A study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology found cold-pressed black seed oil contains higher amounts of essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid and oleic acid, than raw black seeds (1). These fatty acids are important for maintaining healthy skin, promoting brain function, and reducing inflammation in the body so a higher concentration of these compounds may be a deciding factor when choosing between using oil or raw seeds.
Research has discovered black seed oil possess exceptionally higher amounts of a powerful compound called Thymoquinone compared to raw black seeds. In fact, Thymoquinone (TQ) is the most abundant constituent of the volatile oil of Nigella sativa seeds, and it is the constituent to which most properties of this herb are attributed, namely its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (2). This powerful antioxidant can also help protect the body against oxidative stress and damage from free radicals.
Ease of Use
If higher amounts of the beneficial properties such as essential fatty acids and TQ haven’t convinced you oil is the superior choice, the convenience of this liquid option might seal the deal.
Consuming raw black seeds can be cumbersome and time-consuming, as the seeds will need to be ground into powder or meticulously chewed to release their nutrients. Let’s not forget the unique, peppery taste Nigella sativa is known for; while you will experience its flavor regardless of which form you choose, chewing through seeds requires more time and effort than quickly swallowing a teaspoon of oil.
If you would like to avoid the taste of black seed oil altogether, you can opt for black seed oil capsules or black seed oil gummies. These can also make it easy to take this medicinal herb with you on the go so you never miss a dose!
Common Ways to Use Oil & Seeds
How To Use Black Seed Oil:
- Topical Application: Black seed oil can be applied topically to the skin to help with skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
- Haircare: Nigella sativa oil can be used to strengthen and nourish hair. It can be added to hair masks, shampoos, and conditioners.
- Cooking: Black seed oil can be used in cooking as a healthy alternative to other oils. It has a strong and slightly bitter taste, so it is best used in small amounts or combined with other oils.
- Supplement: Black seed oil can be taken as a supplement in capsule or liquid form to support overall health and wellness.
How To Use Raw Black Cumin Seeds:
- Sprinkled on Food: Raw black seeds can be sprinkled on top of salads, mixed in smoothies, or baked into other dishes as a flavorful and nutritious addition.
- Ground into Powder: Black seeds can be ground into a powder and added to smoothies, spice blends or used as a seasoning for dishes.
- Tea: Raw black seeds can be steeped in hot water to make an herbal tea.
- In bread: Nigella seeds can be added to bread dough before baking to give the bread a nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
While both cold-pressed black seed oil and raw black seeds offer a range of health benefits, the oil is considered the superior option due to its higher concentration of essential fatty acids and stronger Thymoquinone content. This choice also come down to personal preference; no method is wrong, one is just more versatile, potent and convenient. You can still benefit from the seeds, and if you enjoy cooking with them – great! When it comes down to the nitty gritty, however, black seed oil is more palatable and more versatile (you can use it topically) to consume than raw black seeds.
Please speak with your doctor or other licensed healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement including Black Seed Oil. None of the content on this site is or should be considered medical advice. The purpose of this article is simply to highlight relevant research for those curious about the potential benefits of using Black Seed Oil.