Asthma

The Many Scientifically Researched Benefits of Black Seed Oil

I wanted to write about Black Seed Oil, also known as Black Cumin Seed Oil, since it has been gaining in popularity, though it seems to have a vagueness that surrounds it as to what it actually does.

Most articles on black seed oil seem to say that it’s “cures everything”, a claim that always makes me extremely skeptical since it brings to mind the unscrupulous snake oil salesmen of the last century.

The more I looked into black seed oil, however, I found that there has been study after study done on its benefits, with great results. Research has found it to have beneficial effects on so many different aspects of health, including metabolic syndrome (a condition characterized by excess weight and high blood sugar), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, respiratory health, skin conditions, and more. It’s impressive due to the sheer volume of studies that have been done that have shown benefit for so many vastly different things.

Here’s a link to a review on Black Seed Oil studies.

This is another review on the researched benefits of black cumin seeds.

One of my favorite benefits for black seed oil is its effect on the immune system. One of black seed oil’s natural compounds is thymoquinone, a potent immune booster that strengthens and activates the immune system’s T-cells (the white blood cells that help to identify harmful invaders like bacteria and viruses). Research has shown black seed to have antibacterial and antiviral effects against a number of infectious diseases including strep and h. pylori bacteria and viruses like hepatitis and even HIV. That isn’t to say that black seed oil is necessarily a cure-all for those conditions, but that it has been found to have beneficial antibacterial and antiviral effects against those diseases.

In addition to immune boosting effects, black seed oil has further benefits to the respiratory system itself, including being extremely helpful for asthma patients. In one study, people with asthma used black seed oil daily for three months and experienced impressive benefits in respiratory functioning and a reduction in asthma symptoms.

The interesting thing about black seed oil is that it does not just seem to have immune boosting effects, but rather has shown to have an immune modulating activity- boosting the immune system when needed, but also helping to calm down the excessive immune response seen in autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. One placebo controlled study on rheumatoid arthritis found that women who took black seed twice daily for a month found a reduction in their symptoms of RA.

Black seed oil also appears to have protective effects for a number of the body’s different systems and organs, reducing destructive, toxic effects on the brain, liver, lungs cardiovascular system, and the digestive tract. This article has more in-depth information on the significant protection black seed has from toxic damage from a variety of sources (scroll down to about halfway through to read more about black seed oil’s beneficial protective effects).

Black seed oil can also have beneficial effects on eczema and psoriasis and for those conditions can be taken both internally and used topically for relief.

I feel like I’ve gone on and on already about the benefits of black seed oil, but in truth, there are so many more and I’ve only mentioned a few. Black seed oil has a long history of use for a variety of ailments. It is native to the Middle East and Africa, and has been mentioned in both the Old Testament and the Quran. The prophet Muhammad is even quoted as saying, “Use the Black Seed for indeed, it is a cure for all diseases except death.” Suffice it to say that it has a long history of impressive benefits and use- even back to the time of the Egyptians!

The black seed oil we recommend is by a company called Talya. As many of you know, we’re particular about the brands and products we carry. We chose this brand of black seed oil specifically since it has the highest amount of the beneficial active ingredients in black seed oil and is unrefined and cold pressed. Also, Talya does third party testing on each batch of black seed oil for potency and to make sure that it is free from pesticides, herbicides, as well as other chemicals and contaminants. Talya’s black seed oil meets France’s standards for “Eco Certification” and is in the process of undergoing organic certification processes by the USDA.

The recommended dosages for black seed oil is one teaspoon twice daily for preventative health or two teaspoons twice daily, up to as much as six teaspoons a day (in divided doses) for acute needs or for recovering from an illness.

Black seed oil should be taken with food to help absorption and it’s also important to shake the bottle vigorously before using it, since its beneficial compounds can separate when the bottle sits.

We will have a representative in the store on Saturday, March 9th from 10-2 to offer samples of our Talya black seed oil and to offer further information. Be sure to stop by!

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Pycnogenol for Brain Fuction, Asthma, Blood Pressure, & More

There’s a little-known supplement that has been in several scientific journals lately with some impressive results for benefits to memory and brain function. The supplement is an extract of French maritime pine bark, known as Pycnogenol (pronounced pick-nodge-eh- nol). It’s not a new supplement, but recently some remarkable results have been reported that I thought were worth sharing.

In a yearlong study, seventy-seven adults aged 55 to 70 participated, and half the group was given 100 milligrams of Pycnogenol daily. At the end of the study, tests showed a seventy-two percent improvement in decision making in the Pycnogenol group (vs. a five percent decline in the placebo group). The attention span of the group that took Pycnogenol was increased by forty-one percent and memory improved by thirty-seven percent (compared to a ten percent decline in the control group). 

With such impressive results, I’m frankly surprised I haven’t been hearing about French maritime pine bark everywhere, though I haven’t, which is why I wanted to write about it here, particularly since the benefits were achieved by taking only one 100mg pill a day.
Pycnogenol also has a wide variety of other conditions it has been researched for positive results and has been the focus of over seventy different studies over the years. 

Another condition that Pycnogenol has had impressive benefits for is asthma, and was found to help both children and adults without adverse effects. Researchers gave participants 1 milligram of Pycnogenol per pound of body weight and found benefits for improved breathing after only one month. Also, the Pycnogenol group was able to rely on their rescue inhalers far less often.

Pycnogenol has also been shown to aid in lowering blood pressure, helping to normalize blood pressure readings in fifty-eight percent of hypertensive patients. Another study found that participants who took Pycnogenol were able to reduce their blood pressure medications after taking the supplement for 12 weeks.

Other double-blind studies have reported Pycnogenol’s benefit for lowering blood sugar in patients with Type 2 diabetes. After twelve weeks of taking the French maritime pine bark, it was reported that the supplement, “significantly lowered plasma glucose levels” when compared with the placebo. Pycnogenol also improved blood flow and blood vessel health.

Pycnogenol has also been studied with benefits for erectile dysfunction, ADD, deep vein thrombosis, menopause and more. I’m always skeptical whenever I read about so-called “miracle pills”, but Pycnogenol seems pretty close to that in reality. In November our

Pycnogenol by the company Solgar will be on sale for 25% off in November, so it’s a good time to try it!

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Healthy Q & A: Natural Help for Asthma

Q:  Both myself and my daughter have asthma.  It isn’t as severe as some people have, but we always have to have our rescue inhalers with us just in case.  I’ve heard there are some natural things that can help for people with asthma, so I wondered if there were any supplements for asthma that you’d suggest.

 

A:  Asthma can run in families, which seems to be the case with you and your daughter, though there are also environmental factors that can contribute to the incidence of asthma.  The prevalence of asthma is increasing in America, especially among children.  According to the EPA, about 23 million people, including 6.8 million children, have asthma and 12 million people report having an asthma attack in the past year. Asthma accounts for nearly 17 million physician office and hospital visits, and nearly 2 million emergency department visits each year.

The reason for this increase has been linked to our increasingly “indoor culture”.  Most people think of the outdoors when they think of air pollution, but the levels of indoor air pollutants may be two to five times higher (and occasionally more than 100 times higher) than outdoor levels, according to EPA. 

Much of this pollution is caused by the chemicals we use to clean our homes.  Replacing chemical household cleansers with natural, environmentally friendly versions can go a long way to reducing the toxin levels in our homes.  Seventh Generation, Ecover, and BioKleen and just a few of the many wonderful companies that have full lines of natural household cleansers which are safe for humans, pets, and the environment.

There are natural supplements which can help with reducing asthma symptoms.  The two I would most recommend are pycnogenol and NAC.

Though pycnogenol, an extract of French maritime pine bark, is not a well known supplement, it has been the study of over 70 trials in the past 30 years.  One placebo controlled study on pycnogenol at the

University of Arizona gave asthma patients 1 mg per pound of body weight daily.   No adverse effects were reported and almost all responded favorably to pycnogenol for their asthma symptoms and experienced improvements in breathing in contrast to the placebo.

Pycnogenol has also been studied on children with asthma.  One study, published in the Journal of Asthma, found that 60 children aged six to 18 years old were able to significantly reduce or discontinue their use of rescue inhalers more often than the placebo group.  Their breathing improved after only one month and continued to improve with further treatment.  The severity of their asthma symptoms also decreased the longer the children took Pycnogenol.

Recent research has even found that using inhalers for asthma may not be as effective as once thought.  An article from medpagetoday.com cited a study which determined that using inhalers for asthma was not any more effective than a placebo, though the placebo effect is very strong.

Another supplement that can be beneficial for asthma is the amino acid N-Acetyl Cysteine, more commonly known as NAC.  NAC has been shown to be useful for a variety of lung problems, including asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and influenza.  NAC works by helping to dissolve the thick mucus that is present in the lungs, which can be especially beneficial for people suffering with asthma.  NAC also has the benefit of helping the body to synthesize important antioxidants.  NAC may also help repair damage and inflammation in the lungs.