Nigella Sativa, which means “black seeds” , is also known as black cumin.
Recent studies have found that Nigella Sativa may have positive effects on hair growth. Western culture is starting to embrace Nigella Sativa, which has been used in traditional Indian medicine for decades as a remedy for hair loss. It is also used in the Eastern hemisphere as a food spice. Scientists have found that the oil, derived from protein-rich black seeds and also known as black cumin, may have positive effects on hair growth.
Benefits of Nigella Sativa
Nigella Sativa is rich in minerals, vitamins and amino acids which help strengthen the hair. Nigella sativa seeds contain fixed and essential oils, proteins, alkaloids and saponin. The major component of the oil is thymoquinone. Vital nutrients it contains – iron, calcium sodium and potassium to name a few – help stimulate hair growth. A lack of essential minerals and nutrients is one of the main causes of hair loss. And it is quite challenging to maintain a diet that enables one to consume adequate amounts of these nutrients daily. Nigella Sativa Oil provides these nutrients with just a few drops. Nigella sativa seeds and oil also have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, antimicrobial and antineoplastic properties, which might be due to their cytoprotective, ant-inflammatory, and antioxidant actions.
Research on Nigella Sativa’s Effect on Hair Growth
In recent studies scientists have discovered Nigella Sativa’s ability to reduce hair loss. Researchers at the University of Rome conducted a study to test the effects of Nigella Sativa on the hair loss condition known as telogen effluvium. Twenty participants took part in the three-month pilot study. Fifty percent of the participants were treated with a daily scalp lotion consisting of 0.5% Nigella Sativa while the other half were treated with a placebo. The results showed a significant improvement in 70% of the subjects in terms of both hair density and hair thickness.
An oil formulation of coconut oil and 250 grams of nigella sativa was also an effective solution in promoting hair growth in 1 month. Linoleic acid (omega 3) and gamma linolenic acid (GLA; omega 6) in these oils have a lower molecular weight, allowing them to penetrate easily and stimulate blood circulation on scalp. Nigella sativa also inhibits NK- KB and its PDG2 regulates hair cycle. Nigella Sativa also contains a constituent called tymoquinon (TQ) which works as both an anti-oxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent. This special compound inhibits bio-chemical factors which promote inflammation that lead to common hair loss conditions such as telogen effluvium.
Nigella Sativa not only prevents hair loss but also improve a person’s overall health. It has anti-bacteria and anti-inflammatory properties and has been known to help prevent diseases that cause cancer. It is also used to treat cancer patients. Nigella Sativa oil is usually taken orally, and can also be applied directly to the scalp.
Rossi A, Priolo L, Iorio A, et al. Evaluation of a therapeutic alternative for telogen effluvium: a pilot study. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences, and Applications 2013;3:9-16.
Muhammad A, Amin ARM, Bakar RA, et al. The effectiveness of coconut oil mixed with herbs to promote hair growth. International Journal of Ethics in Engineering and Management Education 2014;1(3):27-30.
Hill RP, Haycock JW, Jahoda CA. Human hair follicle dermals cells and skin fibroblasts show differential activations of NF-KB in response to pro-inflammatory challenge. Experimental Dermatology 2012;21(2):158-60.
Ali BH, Blunden G. Pharmacological and toxicological properties of Nigella sativa. Phytother Res 2003;17(4):299-305.