An aromatic or pungent vegetable substance used to flavor food is considered a spice. It comes in the form of a seed, root, bark, fruit or other plant substance used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. They are distinguished from herbs, which are the flowers, leaves, or stems of plants used for flavoring or as a garnish. Some spices have antimicrobial properties. They contribute a large amount of minerals and other nutrients. Most herbs and spices have substantial antioxidant activity. Here Isabelle Z., NaturalNews.com, reflects on black cumin seed oil health benefits:
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“Inflammation has been linked to a slew of life-threatening diseases and other conditions ranging from cancer and heart disease to arthritis. Keeping inflammation at bay is an important part of staying healthy that is often overlooked – and one food that can help in this area is black cumin seed oil.
Given all the damage that it can cause, you would be forgiven for thinking that inflammation is always harmful. The truth is that it is actually a healthy defense against malignant cells, infection and trauma – to a degree. However, when inflammation is systemic and chronic, the true damage can occur as it harms cells and leads to mutations. Nearly a quarter of all cancers can be traced to this inflammatory process.
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Having the right balance between healthy inflammation and the more destructive variety is important to avoid disease. Unfortunately, as we age, that natural balance can be disrupted. Enter Nigella sativa, or black cumin seed oil. Also known as Roman coriander or black caraway, the seeds of black cumin have a powerful phytochemical called thymoquinone. This antioxidant is behind the seed oil’s tremendous healing powers. It also contains an anti-microbial and antiseptic known as thymol.
What does the science say?
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Studies have shown that black cumin seed oil increases the activity of the macrophages that surround and destroy abnormal cells in the body. It also helps to stimulate the helper T-cells that facilitate healing. For example, one study showed that those who took black cumin seed oil had a 30 percent rise in natural killer cell functions and a 55 percent rise in helper T-cell activity.
Its effects on inflammation are quite powerful. A study in the Egyptian Journal of Immunology showed that the oil was just as effective as the steroid dexamethasone in lowering the number of inflammatory cells and cytokines in lung tissue.”
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