Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Black cumin is still rather unknown in Europe. In Africa and parts of Asia, however, people have been swearing by its unique taste, its healing effect against many diseases and its cosmetic effects for skin, hair and nails for several thousand years.

To get the most out of black cumin, it is best taken in the form of an oil. In our black seed oil test 2023 we have compared different black seed oils to make it easier for you to choose the right oil.

We also explain which ingredients are responsible for the unique effect of black seed oil and how the oil can help with diabetes, high blood pressure and annoying skin problems.


  • Black seed oil is a sought-after remedy for: Allergies of any kind, asthma, high blood pressure, digestive problems, diabetes, a weak immune system or proven against cancer.
  • Basically, there are three different types of black seed oil: black seed oil itself, black seed oil capsules and black seed oil ointment. In all three forms, the application is slightly different, each of which has individual advantages and disadvantages.
  • The oil is suitable for internal and external use. The capsules, on the other hand, are only for internal use and the ointment only for external use. Depending on how you prefer to use black seed oil and what you use it for, one of these forms of the remedy is best for you.

The Best Black Seed Oil: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying black seed oil

What is black cumin?

Black cumin, also called true black cumin, belongs to the buttercup family. It is a slender plant that can grow up to 50 cm high. Even if the name suggests it, black cumin is in no way related to caraway or cumin.

In the western world, black cumin is still relatively unknown. In Near Eastern and North African cultures, black cumin has been used for many thousands of years not only as a spice but also as a remedy. The Bible also speaks of the healing power of black cumin, which is called ketzah in the Bible.

Black seed oil was not only appreciated as a remedy, but also as a beauty product. Thus, Nefertiti’s secret for her royal skin was black seed oil and even Cleopatra cared for her body with the oil.

What are the ingredients, components and properties of black seed oil?

Black seed oil has many different ingredients that are said to have a positive influence on health. In the following, the respective components of black seed oil are listed individually and their properties are explained. However, this point only refers to the internal use of black seed oil, as only through this the substances enter the body.

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Black seed oil can be used both in the kitchen and as a food supplement or medicine.

Main ingredient

Black seed oil consists mainly of unsaturated fatty acids and essential oils:

Unsaturated fatty acids have the largest share of around 60 – 80 % in black seed oil. These are very important for the body, as it cannot produce unsaturated fatty acids itself. Unsaturated fatty acids are also involved in almost all metabolic processes, support cell respiration, increase the activity of important messenger substances in the body and reduce coronary heart disease.

In addition, unsaturated fatty acids form the hormone-like substance prostaglandin, which regulates the immune system and hormone balance.

Essential oils are present in black seed oil in a proportion of around 1 %. These in turn consist of 50 % thymoquinone, which has a positive effect on blood sugar levels. Essential oils also have an antioxidant effect as well as a disinfecting and antifungal effect.

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Black cumin, like many other seeds, contains significant active ingredients from which you should benefit. (Photo: ulleo/

Other ingredients

However, black seed oil also contains a variety of other effective substances such as:

Biotin, which promotes metabolism and is responsible for beautiful and healthy hair, skin and nails.

Like biotin,beta-carotene has a positive effect on skin, hair and eyes. Beta-carotene is also healthy for the cells and the immune system of the body.

Essential amino acids are contained in a relatively high proportion in black seed oil. They are important protein building blocks and responsible for the synthesis of hormones, enzymes and proteins. Without these, a functioning metabolism would be difficult to achieve.

Folic acid is important for the production of red blood cells and cell metabolism.

Magnesium promotes muscle and nerve function and is important for energy metabolism.

Nigellon Semohiorpion is an oligocondensation product that is formed when the oil is stored for a long time. Its effect lies in the relief of spasmodic cough attacks, such as those occurring in asthma or whooping cough.

Provitamin A, like beta-carotene, is healthy for the skin, hair, eyes, immune system and cells.

Saponin melanthin has a cleansing and secretion-dissolving effect on the body.

Selenium serves to protect the cells and supports the detoxification of the body.

Vitamins B1, B2 and B6 contribute to a healthy metabolism and are important for the function of the brain and nerves. These vitamins are also important for mental balance.

Vitamin C strengthens the body’s defences. However, it also enables the processing of iron from food and furthermore promotes cell protection and collagen formation, which is responsible for beautiful and smooth skin.

Vitamin E is important for the blood and maintains its healthy flow.

What effect does black seed oil have?

The positive properties of black seed oil, which are already evident from the ingredients, but have also been attributed to the oil for many years, have already been scientifically proven in part.

It does not matter whether black seed oil is used preventively or directly for the treatment of certain symptoms. Black seed oil is an effective method of doing something good for the body, both internally and externally.

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Due to its antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant effects, the oil is very popular with many medical practitioners.

Black seed oil is mainly used in Egyptian folk medicine and Ayurveda, but it is also often used in naturopathy. Now you are probably asking yourself what effect black cumin oil actually has. That is quickly answered, because black seed oil works:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antidiabetic
  • Antifugal (fungicidal)
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiviral
  • Blood pressure lowering
  • Bronchospasmolytic (reduces the tone of the bronchial muscles)
  • Decongestant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Analgesic

For which diseases / complaints does black seed oil have a preventive effect?

It has been proven that black seed oil can prevent a variety of diseases and even heal some of them. But for whom is black seed oil directly suitable? Black seed oil can be useful for the following diseases or complaints:

Black seed oil is often used as an adjunct to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The damaged immune system can be strengthened again with black seed oil. It has also been proven that black seed oil can inhibit the growth of cancer cells or attack existing cancer cells and thus prevent the development of tumours.
In diabetes patients, the body reacts allergically to the hormone insulin. By taking black seed oil, the blood sugar level can be lowered to a normal level.
Allergies and Hay Fever
The essential oils in black seed oil often lead to relief of symptoms such as itching of the eyes, throat and nose in allergy and hay fever patients. In addition, the linoleic acid in black seed oil has an anti-inflammatory effect, which can help to alleviate or completely eliminate allergies.
Asthma is caused by an overreaction of the immune system. By regulating the immune system, black seed oil can effectively compensate for this malfunction. Likewise, the hormone prostaglandin dilates the bloodstream, bronchi and bronchial vessels, which can reduce asthma attacks.
High blood pressure and High blood lipid levels
As mentioned above, the unsaturated fatty acids in black seed oil stimulate the formation of the hormone prostaglandin, which leads to a reduction in blood pressure. In addition, black seed oil relieves the arteries and reduces excess fluid. The detoxifying function of selenium is also healthy for the entire cardiovascular system.
Flatulence and indigestion
The antibacterial effect of black seed oil is good for a thorough intestinal cleansing and thus relieves the discomfort in a natural way.
Skin problems (acne, psoriasis, neurodermatitis, dry skin)
Due to the unsaturated fatty acid linoleic acid and the formation of the hormone prostaglandin, skin problems can be combated in a natural way. Used externally, black seed oil is also a proven remedy for itching in neurodermatitis and dry skin.
Hair problems
The beta-carotene in black seed oil helps to renew hair cells. Biotin counteracts split ends and brittle hair. Folic acid supports and accelerates hair growth. Furthermore, selenium, zinc and magnesium improve the hair structure and ensure supple and strong hair.
Fertility and potency problems
Black seed oil has a balancing effect on the hormone balance and can thus be a natural remedy for people with fertility problems and potency problems.

Did you know that black seed oil is also used in aroma oil therapy?

Aroma oil therapy is very diverse and ranges from massages to room diffusers that spread the smell of the oils and can thus have a positive effect on your mood. Black seed oil is also used in this field.

Black seed oil for animals

Furthermore, black seed oil also has a good effect on your beloved animal. For cats and dogs it is a good home remedy against ticks, as it prevents tick bites. It can also be used to combat mites.

Since horses often suffer from respiratory diseases, black seed oil is also a good remedy for horses, because it works in a similar way as it does for humans. If you rub it on your horse, you also keep mosquitoes, flies and parasites away.

What are the side effects of black seed oil?

Black seed oil is generally well tolerated and currently there are no known side effects worth mentioning in humans. However, some people may experience increased belching or slight stomach discomfort when taking black seed oil, especially at the beginning.

However, if you make sure that the oil is cold-pressed during production, you should hardly have any problems. Cold-pressing results in fewer terpenes or terpene derivatives, which have a slightly toxic effect when ingested and can cause these complaints.

During pregnancy, you should always be careful when using essential oils. It is therefore advisable to consult a doctor before taking them, as some of these oils can trigger premature labour or even miscarriage.

When giving black seed oil to animals, you should also be careful and discuss the administration with a veterinarian beforehand. An overdose of the oil can cause liver and kidney damage in them, as studies have shown.

How and when do I take black seed oil?

This section aims to provide answers on what form of black seed oil you should use, for what, how often and at what time. For preventive purposes, it is recommended to take 1 tablespoon or 3 teaspoons of the oil daily throughout the day.

For the tasteless variant in the form of capsules, a daily dose of 3 capsules is also recommended. The oil as well as the capsules should be taken before a meal.

In case of allergies and hay fever, you should take 3 teaspoons of black seed oil or 3 capsules daily for the first six weeks. The best time to start is during the winter months. When your symptoms become less severe, subside or do not occur at all, you can halve the daily dose of black seed oil.

To strengthen the immune system, it is recommended that you take 1 teaspoon of the oil daily about one hour before breakfast. If you have high blood pressure, you should dissolve 1/2 teaspoon in a hot drink, such as tea, and drink it.

The form of administration can be individually adapted to personal taste. For example, the oil can be mixed with a little honey or added to a freshly squeezed juice to soften the intense taste.

As already mentioned, black seed oil can also be used externally. If you have acne or pimples, you can dab the oil on the affected areas in the evening after cleansing your face and after a short time you will notice an improvement in the skin’s appearance.

For hair care, rub the oil pure into the ends of the hair after every hair wash. For hair loss, on the other hand, dab the oil daily on the affected areas. But you can also prevent hair loss by taking it orally.

Black cumin oil can also be used as an inhalation remedy for asthma, whooping cough or bronchitis. To do this, add 2 tablespoons of the oil to 1 litre of hot water and take a steam bath.

How quickly does black seed oil work?

This question is rather difficult to answer. It depends mainly on your complaints. Decisive for the answer to this question is also the health condition of your body and how your body responds to the black seed oil.

However, taking it for three to six months achieves the best therapeutic results. A short-term high dosage, on the other hand, often provides rapid relief of symptoms, especially in the case of allergies.

What does black seed oil cost?

It is important to pay attention to the quality of black cumin oil. The plants in your product should be organically grown and from certified producers. You should also make sure that the black cumin oil is cold-pressed and unfiltered, as in this variant the ingredients of the black cumin are preserved and thus remain completely contained in the product.

The purity of the black seed oil is also very important. This is the only way to ensure that it is free of residues, flavourings, colourings and preservatives. The origin of the black seed oil also plays a major role. Here, the “Kara Siva” variety from Egypt or Syria is considered to be of particularly high quality.


Black cumin in its natural form. (Photo: HolgersPhotography /

Decision: What types of black seed oil are there and which is right for you?

Basically, there are three different forms of black seed oil:

  • Black Seed Oil
  • Black Seed Oil capsules
  • Black Seed Oil Ointment

With all three forms of black seed oil, the application is slightly different, which brings individual advantages and disadvantages in each case. Depending on how you prefer to use black seed oil and of course what you use it for, one of these forms of the remedy is best suited for you.

The following section will help you to find out which one is right for you. With this in mind, we will introduce you to all of the above forms of black seed oil and show you clearly what their respective advantages and disadvantages are.

What is black seed oil and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Black seed oil is, as the name suggests, a pure oil, like olive oil and sunflower oil for example. It has a very spicy, slightly nutty flavour and a strong smell, which, compared to the other oils mentioned, might not be digestible for everyone. Black seed oil is also relatively expensive.

The special advantage of the oil, however, lies in its form of application. You can use it in two different ways:

  • Internal use
  • External use

With only one remedy you can treat different areas. Through oral use, the body is supplied with many different substances from the inside. Through external use, specific areas of the body can be individually cared for.

  • Internal and external use
  • Treatment of different areas
  • Different areas of use
  • Cost-intensive
  • Tasty
  • Strong smell

Black seed oil can also be used internally and externally at the same time, which means that its positive effect can be achieved even more quickly in certain areas of application.

What are black seed oil capsules and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

The advantage of the capsules is that they are tasteless and mostly odourless compared to the oil. Likewise, there are also inexpensive variants of the capsules.

  • Inexpensive variants
  • Tasteless
  • Odourless
  • Partially poor tolerability
  • Capsule shells made of animal gelatine
  • Purely internal use

However, capsules are not suitable for everyone, as some people do not tolerate the composition of the capsule shell or the capsule shell is often made of animal gelatine and is therefore unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans. Another disadvantage of the capsules is that they are only used internally.

What is black cumin oil ointment and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Black seed oil ointment is mainly found in combination with canoe oil, aloe vera or other nourishing oils such as jojoba oil, calendula oil, avocado oil and cereal germ oil.

The composition of the black seed oil ointment with the respective oils allows it to excellently unfold its effect. Thus, the black seed oil in combination with these substances has a soothing and nurturing effect on irritated or severely stressed skin.

  • Free of colourants and fragrances
  • Without chemical preservatives
  • Without silicones and mineral oils
  • Purely external use
  • Mainly effective for skin problems
  • Only in combination with other oils

In addition, black seed oil ointments are mostly free of colourants and fragrances, without chemical preservatives, silicones and mineral oils. They are therefore ideal for sensitive skin. However, like any other ointment, black cumin oil ointment is only for external use.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate black seed oil

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate black cumin oil products. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is particularly suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Form of application
  • Quality of black seed oil
  • Special features

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

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Important criteria such as the application and quality of the oil should be taken into account before making the final purchase decision.

Form of application

We have already gone into detail about the respective form of application of black seed oil above. Nevertheless, we would like to point out once again that the form of application is probably the most important criterion when buying black seed oil, because it has a significant influence on its use.

First of all, ask yourself what you want to use black seed oil for and how you prefer to use it. If you want to use it internally and externally, only the oil comes into question.

If you prefer a tasteless version for purely internal use, then the capsules are the better alternative for you. For purely external use for skin problems, the ointment is recommended.

For preventive purposes, the black seed oil is the best choice for you due to its two forms of application and its different ways of use. In all other cases, you should have at least once dealt with the capsules and the ointment.

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The black cumin oil capsules offer you an easy alternative to taking the oil pure. (Photo: frolicsomepl /

Quality of black seed oil

We have already discussed the quality of black seed oil in more detail in our guide. However, since this is an important purchase criterion, just like the form of application, the relevant characteristics are summarised here once again.

As several factors are decisive for the quality of black seed oil, they are listed and explained in more detail here. The following factors are decisive:

  • Processing of black cumin
  • Filtered or unfiltered products
  • Origin
  • Seal of quality
  • Certified products

Processing of the black seed oil

If you want to buy a good black seed oil product, you should make sure that it is cold-pressed. Cold-pressing the seeds produces the high-quality black seed oil and also means that there are hardly any toxic by-products such as terpenes.

Since these toxic substances cause stomach problems and increased belching in many people, cold-pressed oils in particular are very digestible and easy on the stomach.

Filtered or unfiltered products

You can buy black seed oil in both filtered and unfiltered versions. The unfiltered products are often referred to as pure black seed oil. The unfiltered version contains a very high amount of healthy plant substances. With the filtered version, on the other hand, some of these healthy substances are lost.

The unfiltered version, however, often has a more tart and spicy taste than the filtered version. When buying black seed oil, you have to decide between a more pleasant taste and a product with many healthy plant substances.

However, we would always advise you to buy the unfiltered product in order to absorb all the health-promoting substances.


The origin of black seed oil is also important. The plant “Kara Siva” from Egypt or Syria is said to have the greatest healing power, since this black cumin plant, as already mentioned, is of particularly high quality and has the highest concentration of active ingredients. The oil extracted from this plant is also considered the mildest and at the same time the most tolerable.

However, Egyptian black seed oil should also be as pure as possible and come from organic cultivation. So far, this black seed oil has shown the fewest intolerance reactions and side effects.

Seal of quality

Some of the black seed oil products are from organic cultivation. These products are then mostly labelled with an organic seal or with the label from controlled organic cultivation, abbreviated kbA. The organic black seed oil products on this page have been marked as organic in the comparison table.

Certified products

Furthermore, when buying black seed oil products, you should pay attention to the certification. Because it is certification, which proves that certain requirements have been met, that you can be sure that you have bought a product of very good quality. Since many certifications are often limited in time, you can assume that the products are tested again and again.

However, only some of the products presented here are certified. These have also received special awards in the comparison table. Finally, it can be said that the quality of black seed oil should play a decisive role in your purchase decision.

Side effects and incompatibilities have been found mainly due to impurities, mixing with other, cheaper oil or the use of chemical substances in cultivation and the resulting residues.

Special features

With regard to the forms of black seed oil, there are special features of the individual products. These special features are also listed individually for each product in the comparison table and provide further helpful criteria for the product.

Under special features, information is given on:

  • Free from
  • Vegetarian / Vegan
  • Halal

Free from

Free of – Products are those that are deliberately manufactured without certain allergens or substances. For example, products that do not bear the organic label are described as free of added colouring, free of preservatives, without added flavourings and without genetic engineering.

There are also products for internal use that are sugar-free, lactose-free and gluten-free. These products are particularly suitable for people with an intolerance to these substances or for diabetics.

The special features of the ointments are largely related to the quality of the black seed oil used. However, you should also make sure that the products are labelled as free of colourants, fragrances and preservatives, and free of paraffin, mineral and silicone oils as well as PEGs.

Vegetarian / Vegan

Especially the pure black seed oils should be vegan if they are of good quality. However, some manufacturers explicitly state this.

In the case of capsules, on the other hand, it is considered special if they are vegan. Since most capsule shells are made from bovine gelatine, it is difficult for vegetarians or vegans to find black seed oil capsules, but these are also available.


Black seed oil has been used in Islam for centuries. Halal certification designates the product as permissible under Islamic law, making it suitable for Muslims.

Facts worth knowing about black seed oil

What experiences have been made with black seed oil so far?

In the western world, the effectiveness of black seed oil is still highly disputed. However, it is scientifically proven that black seed oil has an antibacterial, pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effect.

Some studies also prove an improvement in the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis as well as the lowering of blood sugar levels in diabetes and hypertension patients. A study by the Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Institute also shows that the active substances contained in black seed oil inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

In addition, there are many people who report the positive effect of black seed oil on skin and hair. However, it is best to try black seed oil for yourself and gather your own experiences.

Can I also use black seed oil for cooking?

The answer to this question is: YES! Like many other oils, you can use black seed oil to refine salads or other dishes. In India, for example, black seed oil is also used as a cooking oil. Black seed oil can also be used when pickling vegetables to significantly extend the shelf life of the food.

Did you know that sesame and black cumin are very similar?

Black cumin belongs to the buttercup genus. The seeds of the black cumin plant are similar in appearance to sesame seeds, but they are black. Both sesame and black cumin are popular in oriental cuisine.

The seed of the black cumin is also a component of curry and is also sprinkled on pita bread, for example.

Where and how is black cumin grown?

Black cumin grows mainly in North Africa, West Asia and India, but is also cultivated in Southern Europe. The plants are sown in their respective cultivation areas between about September and October.

Harvesting of the plants begins as soon as they die from the bottom. The plants are cut before sunrise so that they do not get wet from the morning mist or dew.

In spite of everything, the plants are then placed in large bundles on clean cloths to dry. Once the seeds are dry, they are threshed and taken to oil mills where they are processed into black seed oil.

How do I store black seed oil and how long can it be kept?

It is best to store black seed oil in a cool, dark and well-sealed place to ensure a long shelf life of the healthy active ingredients. Basically, the oil can be stored for about 1 year after opening.

Like other medicines, black seed oil capsules should be stored in a dry place and not above 25 degrees Celsius. The capsules should also be stored out of the reach of small children. The capsules usually have a best-before date on the packaging.

In the case of black seed oil ointment, the information refers to the shelf life after opening. But here, too, these values are only guidelines; the products can often be used for longer.

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