Black cumin is one of the more effective natural remedies for high blood pressure. The aromatic seed of Nigella sativa, and is used as a spice with a pungent flavour that is described as a cross between black pepper, onions and oregano. Research now supports its traditional use for treating a number of health problems, including lowering blood pressure.
Black cumin seed for high blood pressure
Black cumin seed powder is made by grinding black cumin seeds, while black cumin seed oil is extracted by pressing the seeds, or by using a solvent . The oil has a scent similar to that of eucalyptus or tea tree oil.
Also known as Black Coriander, Blessed Seed, or simply as Black Seed, Black Cumin seed powder and oil have numerous medicinal properties, including a significant blood pressure lowering action.
Research published in the Journal of Hypertension assessed the effectiveness of black cumin seed in lowering blood pressure by combining the results from 11 clinical trials involving 860 people.
On average, those taking black cumin seed supplements saw their blood pressure fall by 7.66/4.89 mmHg after eight weeks of treatment.
When compared to people taking placebo, or standard blood pressure treatments, the average reduction over those in the control groups was -3.26/2.80 mmHg. When the results were assessed according to the type of black seed supplement, those using black cumin seed powder appeared to have a greater effect than black cumin seed oil, although this was not certain.
How black cumin seed lowers blood pressure
The way in which black cumin seed lowers blood pressure it not fully understood. Black cumin seed is believed to have a relaxant effect on smooth muscles and may act like a calcium channel blocker to dilate blood vessels. Other researchers suggest black cumin seed extracts may help the heart pump more efficiently, or have a diuretic action.
Black cumin seed supplements
When selecting black cumin seed supplements, those that are organic are usually preferred.
Those made to a pharmaceutical standard known as GMP will be of the purest medicinal quality.
If chosing to take black cumin seed oil, select one that is cold pressed without the use of chemical solvents, and which as no additives or additional oils to dilute its benefits.
It’s also important to select an oil that is stored in dark glass to protected it from light to ensure it does not lose potency or go rancid. Alternatively, black cumin seed oil protected within capsules are available which many people find easier to take.
You can also add freshly-ground black cumin seeds to home-made curries, chilli and other spicy dishes.
If your blood pressure is raised, self-monitoring is key to maintaining good control.
Click here for advice on choosing a blood pressure monitor to use at home.