Honey infused with black seeds, or nigella seeds (Nigella sativa), combines the healing powers of these two natural products. The health benefits of black seed and honey have been touted for centuries in the Middle East, along the Mediterranean and in India.
Black seed honey is said to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and immune-enhancing properties. Learn the advantages of black seed honey to determine if it’s right for you.
Black seed honey combines the healing compounds of honey and black nigella seeds. The combination makes black seed honey a powerful medicinal agent for gastrointestinal issues, wound healing and even, possibly, some major infections.
About Black Seeds
Black seeds, or N. sativa, have a super nutrient profile. They have substantial amounts of vegetable protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins. They also contain numerous amino acids, including glutamate, arginine and aspartate. You get a dose of iron, copper, zinc, phosphorous, thiamin, niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid and calcium in the little seeds as well. The fats in N. sativa are the healthy types, including linoleic acid and palmitic acid.
One of the main ingredients in black seed honey are nigella seeds, also known as black cumin seeds or Nigella sativa. They come from a plant that belongs to the buttercup family and have been touted for centuries as having healing powers, even by the prophet Muhammad and in the Bible.
A meta-review published in the Journal of Pharmacopuncture in September 2017 reports that Nigella sativa may help people with metabolic syndrome and inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Antimicrobial and anti-epileptic properties have been shown, but research is needed to confirm the effectiveness. The hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic and bronchodilatory effects of nigella have been studied so researchers can develop drugs and establish treatment plans.
The main active component in nigella seeds is thymoquinone, explains a paper published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in May 2019. This makes black nigella seeds particularly effective against illnesses including:
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Inflammatory conditions
- Neurological and mental illness
As noted in a paper published in the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Science in December 2014, the extracts of thymoquinone obtained from nigella seeds have proven applications in treating hypertension, headache, bronchitis, eczema, dizziness, fever and the flu. The compound possesses antioxidant, antibacterial, antitumor, anti-inflammatory and liver protective properties.
Although extracts of nigella seeds are used to treat disorders that would benefit from these positive effects, consuming black seed honey may afford you some benefits too.
Positive Effects of Honey
Honey, too, has had a reputation since ancient times for being a great healing compound, explains a paper published in Molecules in September 2018. It has a high flavonoid and phenolic acid content that makes honey act as a powerful antioxidant, preventing oxidative damage to cells caused by aging, environmental exposure and diet. This damage can lead to the development of chronic disease.
Honey also boasts anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-cancer benefits. And, although it’s mostly sugar, honey has a positive effect on diabetes explains a paper published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity in February 2018. Honey has a hypoglycemic, or blood sugar lowering, capacity that may help in the management of diabetes.
The paper published in Molecules also reports that honey has a protective effect on the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and respiratory systems. Honey can even be an asset to endurance athletes when it comes to fueling during an event.
Digestion and Black Seed Honey
When combined, black seed oil and honey becomes a valuable healing tool. The Journal of Ethnopharmacology published research in December 2015 affirming that black seed oil and honey has been used for centuries in traditional Persian medicine to treat upper gastrointestinal symptoms.
The researchers conducted a small study to test the validity of black seed honey in treating digestive distress. They gave patients with functional dyspepsia, or indigestion, a dose of black seed honey or a placebo. Researchers found that after eight weeks of receiving 5 milliliters of black seed honey daily, patients given the black seed honey experienced improvement in symptoms of indigestion that were notable compared to placebo.
Another study, published in Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal in November 2016, determined that black seed honey is effective in reducing the symptoms associated with the H. pylori infection. Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that can live in your digestive tract and cause long-term discomfort and stomach damage, such as ulcers.
In this study, 14 patients with the H. pylori infection received 1 teaspoon of a combination of 6 grams of nigella seeds and 12 grams of honey three times a day after meals for two weeks. The combination helped relieve symptoms of indigestion associated with the H. pylori infection.
Healing and Black Seed Honey
Black seed oil and honey combined together also has topical healing applications, especially when it comes to wound recovery. A Brazilian study published in June 2018 in the journal Acta Cirurgica Brasileira evaluated the effects of Nigella sativa and honey on the healing of wounds in rats.
Researchers applied a medication (phenytoin) alone, a combination of the medication and black seed honey, honey alone or black seed oil alone to the wounds. They compared the results to a control group that received no treatment for their injuries.
The researchers found that the rats who received both the medication and black seed honey together on their wound healed the fastest. Next were the medication-only rats followed by the black seed honey group. Those who received just honey or just black seed oil fared only a little better than those who got no treatment for their wounds.
The Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences published a paper in September 2017 explaining the antimicrobial effects of honey, including different types such as Manuka and Nigella sativa (black seed) variations.
Researchers noted that black seed honey exhibits a bacteriostatic effect, meaning it can prevent the growth of bacteria when it comes to the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria strain. The researchers suggest that more research be done on the antimicrobial benefits of black seed honey because it shows promise in healing. It’s readily available and inexpensive, so it could be a good alternative to antibiotics for the treatment of wounds, ulcers and cuts.
- Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal: "Combination of Nigella sativa and Honey in Eradication of Gastric Helicobacter pylori Infection"
- Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Nigella sativa L. (Black Cumin): A Promising Natural Remedy for Wide Range of Illnesses"
- Journal of Enthnopharmacology: "Efficacy and Safety of Honey Based Formulation of Nigella sativa Seed Oil in Functional Dyspepsia: A Double Blind Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial"
- Acta Cirurgica Brasileira: "Synergistic Effect of Honey and Nigella sativa on Wound Healing in Rats"
- Journal of Pharmocopuncture: "Review on Clinical Trials of Black Seed (Nigella sativa ) and Its Active Constituent, Thymoquinone"
- Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences: "Antimicrobial Effect of Different Types of Honey on Staphylococcus aureus"
- Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences: "Nigella sativa"
- Molecules: "Phenolic Compounds in Honey and Their Associated Health Benefits: A Review"
- Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity: "Honey and Diabetes: The Importance of Natural Simple Sugars in Diet for Preventing and Treating Different Type of Diabetes"
- Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Science: "Thymoquinone: An Emerging Natural Drug With a Wide Range of Medical Applications"
Andrea Boldt has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A personal trainer, run coach, group fitness instructor and master yoga teacher, she also holds certifications in holistic and fitness nutrition.