Black Seed Oil


In a 2013 study in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine the authors added a three-word phrase certain to shock nootropic users and those of a scientific mind: a miracle drug [1]. Within the review (cited over 200 times), black seed oil received praise for being an Ayurvedic medicine used for hundreds of years while remaining scientifically validated by modern science.

Black seed oil is most notable because it contains a compound called thymoquinone, which is a psychoactive ingredient that can act as a neuroprotective agent, is anti-inflammatory, has antioxidant properties, can reduce cancer risk, and a host of others [2].

While studies are still lagging behind, black seed oil is becoming a darling among the self-experimenter communities who find it a useful tool for reducing anxiety, depression, and even symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) [3].

Also Known As

Nigella sativa, Black cumin, Black seeds, Roman coriander, Nutmeg flower, Fennel flower, Ajaji

Editors’ Thoughts on Black Seed Oil

While I have never tried black seed oil, it seems like a nootropic compound with lots of promise. The Reddit and Longecity community is full of anecdotal reports and discussions about using black seed oil as an antianxiety or antidepressant tool. What’s rare is how often people are considering black seed oil a “wonder” or “miracle” drug.

I wouldn’t go that far if I strictly looked at the research, but it would seem the anecdotal reports of others have been pretty powerful. Usually when there is this much excitement over a compound within these communities, it means there is a lack of scientific evidence. In the case of black seed oil, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor

black seed oil

Benefits of Black Seed Oil

Most of the research in black seed oil focuses on markers like cholesterol, weight, and obesity. Oddly enough, many of the studies show a positive correlation between the black seed and a decrease in unhealthy physical markers.

For our purposes, the benefits of black seed oil have slightly less research for us to go on. One of the main black seed oil benefits is to reduce anxiety (anxiolytic), which comes from interaction with the GABA system [4].

Anecdotal reports suggest this is what accounts for extreme changes in depression, anxiety, and even in situations of PTSD. These are n=1 (studies on individuals), but nonetheless provide some evidence that manipulating the GABA system with black seed oil can be fruitful.

For symptoms of depression, studies show both black seed oil and thymoquinone specifically, can reduce inflammatory cytokines like TNF-alpha, IL-6, and CRP [5]

As with any good nootropic, black seed oil benefits sport neuroprotective support as well. In an October 2016 study, authors recognized that black seed oil (and specifically the psychoactive compound thymoquinone) could cross the blood brain barrier effectively and protect against brain damage, reduce oxidative stress [6].

The same study goes on to say that black seed oil can have an anti-tumor (anti-cancer) effect when studied in animal models.

Finally, black seed oil benefits include boosts for cognition and general learning ability. One study showed that 20 weeks of consistent black seed supplementation could improve memory formation [7]. Another study in humans showed a 13.5 – 14.7% boost in memory tests [8].

What is Black Seed Oil?

Black seed oil, otherwise scientifically known as nigella sativa, is an Ayurvedic compound that has been used for hundreds of years in Asia and Islamic countries. As modern science has studied ancient traditions, researchers have isolated thymoquinone as the main ingredient exerting health effects.

Black seed oil can suppress nitric oxide signalling in the brain, which preserves functions of GABA signaling [9]. This has downstream effects of reducing anxiety and many of the benefits we have explained above.

Black Seed Oil Side Effects

One of the key side effects of black seed oil, which is popular and welcomed depending on with whom you speak, is increased testosterone and libido. In one study, rats increased testosterone between 14.3% and 33.1% [10]. While there is a lack of human research confirming this side effect, many anecdotal reports suggest increased libido from the testosterone boost.

Less beneficial side effects of black seed oil include interaction with the CYP3A4 enzyme, which is a detoxification enzyme [11]. Suppressing this enzyme consistently is not beneficial over the long term and is especially dangerous for people who are using other medications. There can be interactions with other nootropic compounds as well.

Black Seed Oil Dosage

For basic black seed, taking a dose of around 1 – 3 grams seems to exert the psychoactive benefits of the compound. While this is the original way in which black seed was consumed, modern black seed oil is more potent.

The black seed oil dosage is around 250 – 1000 mg per day for those who are using it on a regular basis. While many of the studies show that daily usage is necessary to see benefits over the long-term, it’s important to note the changes with liver enzymes you might experience.

How and Where to Buy Black Seed Oil

For the past few hundred years, people have been using black seed and black seed oil as an Ayurvedic or herbal intervention. This is specifically true of regions like Pakistan and others within Islamic countries as well as India. Therefore, you can buy black seed oil quite easily.

If you purchase black seed oil online, you might find both liquid and capsules. The capsules may be better for those who do not like the taste of liquid, though anecdotal reports do not consider black seed oil to taste poorly.

The most trusted brand seems to be “Amazing Herbs” where they have produced a black seed oil affordably. The bottle is 8 fluid ounces so it might be worth buying more than one if you plan to try black seed oil for more than a few weeks.

Black Seed Oil Reviews

There are numerous people online within communities like Reddit and Longecity who have positive black seed oil reviews. While seeing how people use the molecule to improve their life is fruitful online, keep in mind that none of these are necessarily scientific. We want to use the black seed oil reviews in an attempt to understand the potential, but don’t have the expectation you’ll experience the same.

Instead, operate from a place of interest, curiosity, and learn from black seed oil reviews so you may avoid certain pitfalls that other community members have found (such as too high a dosage or using it combined with something else).

Selected Community Experiences

“I am completely baffled how this oil could have such an effect on my GABA system. The longer I took BSO, the less noticeable the depressed feeling would be after dosing. Now I don't feel depressed at all when I take it.” [12] – E_1999_Eternal

“im speechless . ive tried almost everything from months of exercise to multiple IV ketamine – ive tried almost everything aside from classical psychedelics – its been 8 years so ive tried many things but within a few days it seems that it has improved overall by 20% -30%” [13] – bojee123

“This is hands down one of the best supplements I have ever taken. I can't recommend it enough that everyone can benefit from getting some and taking it daily for at least several months, I promise you will see improvements.” [14] – jt2424

References (Click to Expand)
  1. //
  2. //
  3. //
  4. //
  5. //
  6. //
  7. //
  8. //
  9. //
  10. //
  11. //
  12. //
  13. //
  14. //


Nootropedia is meant to be a resource for individuals researching drugs and supplements that are good for brain health, otherwise known as nootropics, and thus we are the Nootropics Encyclopedia. Because of our in-depth coverage of this topic, our community has requested that we cover other brain health topics and "lifehacks" so that has become the focus of Nootropedia.