Black seed oil is a popular herbal supplement used to improve blood sugar, support heart health, reduce inflammation, enhance brain function, and benefit other areas of health.
Importantly, the time of day that one takes black seed oil can influence these overall benefits.
In this article, we’ll go over when to take black seed oil, as well as other important factors such as the best recommended dosage, who should take it, and any potential side effects.
Table of Contents
- When is the Best Time to Take Black Seed Oil?
- What is Black Seed Oil?
- How Much Black Seed Oil Should I Take?
- What are the Benefits of Taking Black Seed Oil?
- Who Should Take Black Seed Oil?
- Side Effects & Interactions of Black Seed Oil:
When is the Best Time to Take Black Seed Oil?
The best time to take black seed oil for most people seems to be in the morning and/or afternoon before meals, especially if one is looking for metabolic-related benefits (e.g. weight loss, blood sugar control, lipid regulation).
With that said, black seed oil can really be taken any time of day. Research has found benefits whether individuals take black seed oil just once per day or up to three times per day, so it can be adjusted based on personal preferences and needs.
Ultimately, it’s best to take black seed oil at the same time every day to ensure consistency.
What is Black Seed Oil?
Black seed oil is made from the Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) plant, which is a flowering plant found in several areas of the world, such as the Mediterranean, Southwest Asia, and Northern Africa.
This plant gets its name from the many black seeds that are found within the fruits. It’s the seeds that are most often supplemented due to their concentration of bioactive compounds, such as thymoquinone, tocopherols, glycosides, and several vitamins and minerals – which are said to give black seed oil its many benefits.
How Much Black Seed Oil Should I Take?
Research shows that it is best to take 5-15mL of black seed oil daily (or 1-3 grams of black seed oil in powdered form). This works out to 1-3 dropperfuls of black seed oil per day.
Lower doses (250g of black seed powder or 2.5mL of black seed oil, for example), have also been used successfully in some cases.
As such, black seed oil should be dosed within these ranges in order to increase the likelihood of receiving benefits while also minimizing the chance of side effects and safety concerns.
What are the Benefits of Taking Black Seed Oil?
Black seed oil has many different potential benefits. In fact, many of these are backed by human clinical trials, which are the gold standard.
The primary health benefits of black seed oil are listed below.
1. May Improve Blood Sugar Levels
Research has shown that black seed may improve blood sugar levels and be effective for type 2 diabetes. There are several possible mechanisms behind these effects, such as enhanced insulin secretion, improved blood sugar uptake, decreased inflammation, and increased activity of metabolic enzymes such as AMPK. Many of these blood sugar benefits are owed to thymoquinone as well as other bioactives in black seed oil.
2. May Lower Blood Pressure
Some studies also show that black seed oil can reduce blood pressure, including both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Compounds in black seed oil may decrease oxidative stress, enhance diuretic effects, and improve vasodilation (widening of blood vessels), all of which can lead to lower blood pressure levels.
3. May Improve Cholesterol Levels
Black seed oil may also improve blood lipids (fats in the blood) such as cholesterol and triglycerides. Research shows that black seed oil supplements can lower LDL cholesterol, improve HDL cholesterol, and reduce triglycerides.
These effects seem to stem from multiple pathways, such as reduced cholesterol synthesis, regulation of LDL receptors in the liver, reduced cholesterol absorption, decreased inflammation, and enhanced metabolism in general.
Black seed’s ability to support cholesterol and circulation may also work to promote hair growth.
4. May Promote Weight Loss
There is evidence that black seed oil can also promote weight loss. Fatty acids and thymoquinone seem to be the main compounds responsible for these weight loss effects, due to their ability to suppress appetite, decrease fat and sugar absorption, and enhance metabolism.
Also, considering the above four benefits, black seed oil may be effective for resolving metabolic syndrome, since this condition is characterized by one or more of the exact same issues (i.e. high blood sugar, high blood pressure, elevated blood lipids, and obesity).
5. Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Black seed oil may also have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. This is particularly due to thymoquinone, but several other compounds may help too. These may increase superoxide dismutase, glutathione, and other key antioxidants in the body, while also reducing markers of oxidative stress. These compounds are also thought to be responsible for black seed’s benefits for skin health.
Similarly, black seed oil seems to be able to upregulate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory genes while downregulating pro-oxidant, pro-inflammatory genes.
6. May Reduce Anxiety & Depression
Research shows that black seed oil has potential benefits for anxiety and depression. Firstly, thymoquinone and other compounds have antioxidant effects which can reduce oxidative stress in the brain.
Other potential mechanisms include an increase in GABA and 5-HTP, both of which are brain chemicals involved in anxiety reduction and overall mental well-being; as well as an increase in nitric oxide, which promotes better blood flow to the brain and general neuronal health.
7. Anti-Asthmatic Effects
Lastly, black seed oil seems to have anti-asthmatic effects and supports general lung function, Black seed can relax smooth muscles in the lungs, decrease histamine levels, and improve general immune, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory functions, all of which may lead to a reduction in asthma symptoms and better lung health.
Who Should Take Black Seed Oil?
Due to the many different health benefits, several populations may benefit from taking black seed oil, as evidenced by clinical trials.
Firstly, individuals with one or more of the characteristics of metabolic syndrome may benefit, such as those with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, diabetes, obesity, and high blood lipids.
Black seed oil also seems to be helpful for people who want to support general wellness and keep inflammation and oxidative stress at bay.
As well, individuals with anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns could consider taking black seed oil in order to enhance mental well-being.
Lastly, people with asthma or decreased lung function may find benefits from taking black seed oil regularly.
Click here to learn more about our top recommended black seed oil supplements.
As always, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional before consuming black seed oil or any other black seed oil supplements, especially if you take prescription medications and/or have chronic health conditions.
Side Effects & Interactions of Black Seed Oil:
Evidence gathered from numerous clinical trials shows that black seed oil is generally safe to take and free from side effects when used within the recommended doses (1-3g for black seed powder and 5-20mL for black seed oil liquid).
However, there still are possible side effects, such as nausea, bloating, and burning sensations, as well as an increase in liver and kidney enzymes in some cases. Click here to learn more about the safety and side effects of black seed oil.
Also, based on its potential benefits and mechanisms, black seed may interact with several different medications, such as:
- Drugs for high blood pressure
- Hypoglycemic or other diabetes drugs
- Serotonergic drugs (such as SSRIs)
It’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking black seed oil, especially if you take any of the above medications.
Black seed oil is a very well-researched herb that has the potential to benefit the body.
In order to gain these benefits, it’s best to take black seed oil one to three times per day, typically before meals.
The exact recommended dosage and timing of black seed oil depends on one’s desired goals and health benefits, but most people will find success with taking 1 to 3g of black seed powder or 5 to 15mL per day of black seed oil liquid extract per day, either from one or multiple doses.
Overall, when taken consistently, at the right times, and in the right amount, black seed oil has exciting potential to benefit several health conditions.