Humans have used the oil-rich seeds of Nigella sativa, commonly called black cumin, for about 4,000 years as a spice and traditional medicine. The current body of peer-reviewed scientific literature on black cumin seed oil, encompassing well over 25,000 publications spanning 34 years of research, validates black cumin seed oil’s proven effects and benefits on a large number of biological systems.
But according to Botanic Innovations Vice President of Innovation Noah Jenkins, Ph.D., many consumers aren’t getting all these benefits because the current trend is to standardize black cumin seed oil for high thymoquinone levels. “When you focus on one natural component, you’ll drop the levels of other components. Unfortunately, this sacrifice comes at the detriment to the comprehensive efficacy of the entire extracted oil, as recent research is demonstrating that these other compounds work on an additive, and sometimes even synergistic level with the more well-studied thymoquinone.”
Black cumin seed’s key nutritional and biologically active components include 35 fatty acids, 10 minerals and 23 beneficial phytochemicals. Jenkins says standardizing for high thymoquinone levels is likely being achieved at the expense of reasonable amounts of several other phytoactives in the oil including thymol, p-cymene, β-sitosterol, carvacrol, multiple forms of carotenoids and vitamin E.
What happens when all black cumin seeds’ phytoactives work together
Jenkins is focused on finding new ways to naturally optimize the nutritional properties of Botanic Innovations’ ingredients. “What I’m finding with black cumin seed oil is that all the phytoactives are playing a role in the different mechanisms of action of what this oil can do. When other companies standardize for high thymoquinone levels, they’re missing this important balance.”
Understanding this, Botanic Innovations uses a gentle, cold-pressed extraction method that doesn’t use heat or harmful solvents. “This is critical for preservation of the delicate full spectrum of these validated phytoactives, and for delivering the resulting nearly ubiquitous benefits for the human body. Vitamin E, for example, is heat-sensitive. With our cold-pressed extraction, we maintain the full spectrum of tocopherols and tocotrienols for a more complete antioxidant response.”
Botanic Innovations’ black cumin seed oil, Nigella Gold, retains the complete, unadulterated power of nature. “By extension, it preserves the 4,000-year history of Nigella Sativa as closely as possible.”
What full-spectrum black cumin seed oil can do for the human body
Modern research is confirming many traditional use claims for black cumin seed oil including support for the health of skin, brain, immune system, gut microbiome and the gut-brain axis. There are, for example, measurable enhancements of the clinical parameters of mood, cognition and memory. “Research has shown the presence of the other bioactives, in addition to thymoquinone, optimizes the main biological benefits,” explains Jenkins.
In addition, Jenkins says that full-spectrum black cumin seed oil has been shown to increase the efficacy of many other natural products. “Combining botanicals with complementary functionalities to elicit optimized responses is an area of great interest to me,” comments Jenkins.
For example, “Botanic Innovations’ black cumin seed oil is fully absorbed topically because of our process. And by reducing tension on the skin’s lipid layer, it increases penetration and bioavailability of many other biologically active molecules in topical formulas, enabling them to dive deeper into the skin where collagen is produced.”
Jenkins stresses the importance of working with an ingredient supplier that understands the complexity and science behind what it sells. “Botanic Innovations understands the active functionality of black cumin seed oil as well as its tremendous potential,” he confirms. “We can supply you with the right form, whether you want to use black cumin seed oil in a topical formula or incorporate the black cumin seed flour into bars or other functional foods. It comes down to what type of product you want to produce.”