HEALTH BENEFITS

Flax and Nigella sativa have been cultivated for thousands of years. Grown for their medicinal qualities, as food crops and flax for its fine fibres that are woven into linen these two versatile wonder plants have stood their ground throughout history. 

Both found in ancient Egyptian tombs and praised by healers prophets and kings they really have an air of the magical about them. 

Now let us look at the more recent scientific research and what the humble black seed and flaxseed can do for our health.

History and Science

Linseed/Flaxseed oil

Flax (Latin) Linum usitatissimum, which translates to "very useful"

is one of the oldest cultivated plants, which has been grown as a food crop, to make textiles and for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. 

Linen, the fabric made from flax fibres was used by ancient Egyptians as well as flaxseed oil, which they used in the embalming process of mummies. 

Throughout the ages the seeds whole, milled, ground and oiled have served as medical remedies to treat many ailments including stomach pains burns and wound healing. 

Ancient Ayurveda tradition teaches that flaxseed oil can support mental and physical endurance by fighting fatigue.

  • Great vegan source of essential omega-3 fatty acids (ALA)

  • May reduce risk of high blood pressure and heart disease

  • Boosts the immune system

  • Potential anti-cancer properties, may reduce cancer cell growth

  • Helps to reduce menopause symptoms

  • Supports cognitive abilities

  • Anti-inflammatory properties

  • supports the digestive system

  • Thought to reduce cholesterol levels

  • May reduce diabetes risk by balancing blood sugar 

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In recent years this ancient wonder plant has had somewhat of a comeback. With a high demand for foods that will benefit our general wellbeing scientists have studied the potential health benefits of its seeds, which contain three components of particular nutritional significance: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), polyphenolic lignans and dietary fibre. The seeds also offer a source of vitamins B-1, B-2 and E as well as magnesium, phosphorus, copper and protein.

 

A lot of the health benefits of Flaxseed can be attributed to its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which are most commonly found in fish and are an essential part of a healthy diet, helping to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease as well as supporting cognitive abilities, anti-inflammatory properties and boosting the immune system.

A combination of the a-linolenic acid (ALA), Lignans and fibres contained in Flaxseed are also thought to help reduce cholesterol levels.

 

Also found in flaxseeds are especially high quantities of the afore mentioned Lignans, which act as both Phytoestrogens and Antioxidants. These may help to prevent or slow down the growth of cancerous tumours, especially hormone-sensitive ones such as breast, endometrium and prostate cancer. These Lignans are also thought to reduce menopausal symptoms and the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

 

Furthermore Flaxseeds are a source of dietary fibre, which supports the digestive system and may be useful to aid weight-loss. Some studies suggest that it may reduce blood sugar and therefore help to prevent diabetes, though further research is needed.

 

Why oil? While flaxseeds can be consumed in a number of shapes, ground seeds or cold-pressed oil are the most efficient and effective way, as the seeds need to be broken down before consumption for your body to absorb all the great nutrients.

Linseed oil Use and Precautions: The recommended dosage for adults is 1Tea spoon/100pounds (45kg) body weight per day

It can be mixed with smoothies, drizzled over salads and other foods or taken by the spoonful.

If you are taking any medication or wish to use linseed oil to treat an existing health condition, always speak to a health care professional first. Avoid during pregnancy.

Do not exceed recommended dose as this may have adverse effects.

Black seed oil

Nigella Sativa, black cumin, black caraway, black sesame seed, black onion seed, kalonji, “miracle herb”, whatever you may call it, has been around for over three thousand years. Having been praised by prophets, found in King Tut’s tomb and more recently studied by scientists for its medicinal properties, it is known to support the treatment of many common diseases and aid our general wellbeing.

Many of the black seed’s benefits are attributed to thymoquinone, which is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer properties as well as supporting healthy heart and liver function, cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

It is also rich in omega 6 and 9, vitamin B1, B2, B3, folic acid, iron and calcium

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Research into cancer treatment in recent years has attributed the thymoquinone contained in black sees with enhanced natural killer cell properties. It may therefore be used to slow down cancer cell growth.

 

It can also be used to support the treatment of asthma and bronchitis symptoms by reducing inflammation in the airways.

These anti-inflammatory properties of thymoquinone in black seeds may also be useful in the treatment of skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. It is known to promote melanin production in the skin, which protects it from damage. 

Black seed oil has been used to aid wound healing for millennia, as it reduces inflammation and the presence of bacteria while generating growth.

Its use can also reduce the symptoms of rheumatism when consumed orally or rubbed into the affected area.

 

Black seed is commonly known for it’s carminative properties; that is the use in treating stomach upsets. It is thought to reduce gas, bloating and stomach cramps, while supporting the digestion and possibly fighting gastric disorders including inflammatory bowel disease and ulcers.

It is also known to support the liver in processing toxins.

Studies also suggest that the use of black seed oil before going to bed will ensure a good nights sleep and therefore result in heightened energy levels during the day.

Another excellent use for black seed oil is to support healthy hair growth and promote soft and shiny hair by re-hydrating it. 

  • anti-inflammatory

  • antioxidant

  • anticancer, may reduce cancer cell growth

  • may support healthy heart function, blood pressure and cholesterol levels

  • eases stomach upset and supports digestion

  • helps the liver process toxins

  • can help reduce rheumatism related pains

  • may reduce asthma and bronchitis symptoms

  • softens, cleanses and protects skin

  • supports healthy hair growth

  • great conditioner for dry hair

  • helps you sleep well at night and have more energy during the day

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Black seed oil Use and Precautions:The recommended dosage for adults is 1-3 teaspoons daily 

It can be mixed into smoothies, sprinkled over salad or other food or taken by the spoonful.

For external use simply massage into the affected area on the skin and to support hair growth apply to scalp.

As hair conditioner, massage the oil into hair and scalp before washing and leave to be absorbed for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then wash your hair normally. Before using on skin or hair apply the oil to a small area of skin and wait a few minutes to make sure it agrees with you.

As the active substances in black seed may interact with prescribed medications, you should always check with a health care professional before using it.

As it may have contraceptive properties black seed oil should be avoided by women who are trying to get, or already are pregnant.

Do not exceed recommended dose as this may have adverse effects.