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Black Seed Oil for Diabetes: Is It Effective?

Updated: Oct 5, 2019

Black seed oil

Black seed oil — also known as N. sativa oil and black cumin oil — is championed by natural healers for its variety of health benefits. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the Nigella sativa plant. Both the oil and the seeds are used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking.

Can black seed oil be used to treat diabetes?

Diabetes is a common disease that affects the body’s ability to produce and respond to insulin. Among other things, this condition results in elevated blood sugar (glucose). Treatment often includes medication to help manage blood sugar. There are two main kinds of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

Research is ongoing to find alternative and complementary medicines that can help the correction of blood sugar levels. Black seed oil is the focus of some of that research. It has shown some positive results including:

A 2016 overview in the British Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, indicated that the role of N. sativa seeds in treating diabetes is substantially important (enhancing insulin production, glucose tolerance, and beta cell proliferation). The overview concluded that the seeds also can play a significant role in the treatment of diabetes complications such as nephropathy, neuropathy, and atherosclerosis.

A 2013 study concluded that high doses of N. sativa oil significantly elevated serum insulin levels in diabetic rats, providing a therapeutic effect.

A 2017 study concluded that black cumin seed oil over time reduced HbA1c — the average blood glucose levels — by increasing insulin production, decreasing insulin resistance, stimulating cellular activity, and decreasing intestinal insulin absorption.

A 2014 study concluded that adding turmeric and black seed to the diet of diabetic rats reduced blood glucose, water, and food intake.

A 2017 review of clinical trials concluded that along with other effects, the hypoglycemic effect of N. sativa has been sufficiently studied and understood to allow for the next phase of clinical trials or drug development.

Black seed oil components

According to a 2015 medical journal review, thymoquinone might be one of the most potent parts of black seed oil’s hypoglycemic effect. The review called for molecular and toxicological studies to identify effective and safe ingredients of the seed for use on diabetic patients in clinical trials.

Among active ingredients of black seed oil are the antioxidants:




The oil also contains amino acids such as:

linoleum, oleic, palmitic, stearic.

Also found in black seed oil are:


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The goal is to reduce the risk of blood clots that can form when patients have an irregular heartbeat and make their way to other parts of the body. These clots can potentially lodge in small blood vessels within the brain, lungs and other structures.

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