Black Cumin Seed: An Oil with Ancient Roots

We talk a lot about plants over here, but we don't often focus on our carrier (or lipid) oils. These precious oils make up so much of the magic we brew here at Wild Grace so I'm excited to share more about them with you.

You may have noticed that most of our skincare is made of plant oils and butters. We don't do a lot with water, aloe vera, or other water-based ingredients. This is largely because of the amazing ability these plant oils have to protect and repair your skin's lipid barrier, which so often gets damaged by over-exfoliating, environmental factors, and more mainstream skincare products.

Your lipid barrier protects against pathogens, maintains your skin's moisture and hydration, and keeps it looking dewy and glowing. No matter your skin type, plant oils are a staple in a holistic skincare approach.

As we transition into Spring, I wanted to share about one of my absolute favorite lipid oils that benefits and heals literally all skin types, even oily and acneic skin, and assists your skin's function as we shift into Spring!

I fell in love with Black Cumin Seed oil (aka Nigella seed oil) when we were in Morocco a couple years ago. I had liked it before, but walking through the spice markets where people have been selling the same culinary herbs, spices, and herbal remedies (like Nigella) for over 1000 years lit me up in a way few things do.

I got really curious about this seed that the proprietors of all the apothecaries, with barrels overflowing with rose petals, chamomile, mints, and whole cumin seeds, were touting as a "miracle cure." When we got home, I started experimenting with Black Cumin Seed oil in various formulations for different purposes and with a variety of other plants as well as researching this incredibly aromatic and (supposedly) potent seed oil.

So, when you see it in one of our products, know that it’s a result of A LOT of care, thought, research, and intention.

Black Cumin Seed Oil moisturizes, soothes, smooths, and nourishes the skin, to address fungal infections and blemishes, and to promote skin's repair and regeneration to facilitate a smoother, clearer, and brighter complexion.⁠

This uniquely nourishing oil is very effective against acne bacterial strains, while also being highly anti-inflammatory. Its anti-inflammatory benefits are specific to acne and even allergies (which often also play a role in acne formation).

ANCIENT HISTORY

Also known as Love in a Mist, the botanical name for Black Cumin Seed is Nigella sativa and is part of the buttercup family, which includes plants like hellebores, clematis, anemone, columbine, and delphinium.

Nigella sativa seeds have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, signifying its importance as food and medicine for the culture of ancient Egyptian. It is known as a beauty secret of Queen Nefertiti and is mentioned in ancient texts and historical documents as a “miracle cure”. While it has a long history of being used for culinary purposes, Avicenna, a well-known physician and regarded as the father of modern medicine in the 10th century recommended the use of Nigella seeds for enhancement of the body’s energy and to support during recovery from “fatigue and dispiritedness.” Nigella is also mentioned for its curative properties in the Bible as well as in works by Hippocrates and Dioscorides.

Some say Black seed oil is so potent it can cure any ailment and while that might be a stretch, if you search PubMed for articles on Nigella sativa, you’ll find a plethora of peer-reviewed articles on its wide range of medicinal benefits. Its reported and researched therapeutic properties include antitumor, antihistaminic, antihypertensive, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, etc.

So, you can see why so many historical texts and medieval physicians recommended Nigella! While they might not have used those same terms, they likely saw the same results.

BEAUTY MEDICINE

But what does Black Cumin Seed oil actually do for skin?

Some of those same therapeutic properties I mentioned above are exactly why we love Nigella here at Wild Grace. That same antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory activity means that this oil is PERFECT for calming and treating acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. It’s high in linoleic acid, which helps draw its healing properties deep into the layers of your skin so it doesn’t just sit on top making you feel oily and slick.

Black Cumin Seed is super high in skin-nourishing minerals and vitamins like zinc, iron, copper, carotenes, riboflavin, and folacin. And since it’s highly aromatic, we know it contains a ton of plant based active compounds like thymol, carvacrol, and others with weird names like nigellimine-N-oxide.

Of course, you don’t need to know or remember any of that unless you really want to because basically all you need to know are some of its superpowers and the reasons we use it in our favorite products:⁠

  • Soothes acne and reduces chances of future breakouts
  • Promotes moisture retention in skin (and hair)⁠
  • Treats fine lines by sustaining skin elasticity and softness⁠
  • Has cleansing properties that eliminate dirt, sweat, and excess sebum⁠

So, which of our gorgeous products can you find Black Cumin Seed oil in?

  • Blue Chamomile Cleansing Oil - Recently re-formulated, our Cleansing Oil roots out oil-soluble impurities from deep within your pores, pulls debris to the surface and helps eliminate puffiness, stagnation and inflammation, immediately revitalizing a dull, congested complexion.
  • Lucent Skin Repair Serum - A luxurious and potent treatment for damaged skin, Lucent is crafted with healing oils infused with herbal extracts like Yarrow, Calendula, and Reishi, delivering powerful plant actives to soothe, deeply nourish, and repair hyper-pigmentation, eczema, discoloration, and scarring.
  • Moss + Mallow Repair Cream - Organic, fair trade Shea Butter, Argan Oil, and Black Cumin Seed Oil infused with Marshmallow root, Calendula, and Seaweeds form the base of this deeply moisturizing, repairing, and calming balm. This cream is rich, nourishing plant medicine to treat and repair any damage, inflammation, dryness, and irritation.

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