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The Skin Healing Properties of Black Seed Oil

The Skin Healing Properties of Black Seed Oil

 

The healing properties of black seed (Nigella sativa) oil have been known for thousands of years. It has been used both orally and topically fight disease in many different practices of medicine through-out the ages. In our modern times its actions and efficacy is increasingly backed by solid scientific understanding and an evidence base.

The use of black seed oil to beautify and improve the skin condition is well established; in fact, the famed beauty of Cleopatra is believed to be in part due to her use of black seeds. The oil of the Nigella sativa is packed with valuable components like vitamins A, B, and C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and trace elements providing the necessary nutritive factors for skin recovery and repair. Black seed oil also has a number of useful pharmacological actions which make it a fantastic natural option for treating diseases of the skin.

Black Seed and Psoriasis

Psoriasis is skin condition in which scaly pink plaques appear over the body, these can be sore and itchy and can be a source of embarrassment. The condition is caused by an abnormal immune reaction in the body causing abnormal proliferation of the epidermal layer of skin.

Black seed oil is well recognized to regulate the body’s immune cells (up regulating some and down regulating others), [i] it also enhances the body’s ability to deal with abnormal cell proliferation. [ii]

Traditionally, black seeds have been applied externally for psoriatic skin to manage the general pain and patches of eruption. A recent lab based study examined the effect of nigella sativa seed extract on an animal model of psoriasis, they examined the histological (cellular level)  effects and found that Nigella sativa has anti-psoriatic activity and concluded that the external application is beneficial in the management of psoriasis.[iii]

Black Seed and Eczema

Eczema is a condition characterized by skin inflammation. Itchy, red, patches appear, which can weep and crust. It commonly affects around joints and the mainstay of treatment is with moisturizers and steroid creams. In severe cases systemic immunosuppression is needed.

Black seed oil has fantastic emollient properties, forming a non-greasy film and providing nutritive factors the skin needs. A clinical trial which compared the effects of Nigella sativa oil applied twice daily compared to a conventional steroid cream (Betamethasone) for hand eczema found both to be equally effective in reducing symptoms.[iv] The clear benefit of black seed oil over steroid use is its lack of side effects.

Fungal infections

In addition to fighting bacteria that causes acne, black seed oil also fights fungus. Black seed oil has proven anti-fungal effects against the common skin fungal infectious organisms (dermatophytes) which cause conditions like fungal nail infections, athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. [v]

Acne

Acne is a multifactorial condition which commonly affects teenagers however can persist into adulthood. It can result in disfiguring scarring. A number of factors are thought to contribute to the disease including hormonal, dietary, localized skin inflammatory response and infections.

Black seed oil has several properties which can reduce the symptoms of acne including anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. The nutritive factors in the oil can also help in repair and regeneration of damaged skin. Black seed oil is also a natural anti-histamine ideal for treating for skin conditions related to allergy.

Black Seed and Skin Cancers

Cancer occurs when cells become abnormal and replicate in an uncontrolled way. The cells which make up the layers of skin are the most highly exposed in the body and hence skin cancer is one of the most common forms of human cancer. Globally, approximately one million new cases occur annually and this is increasing year on year. The two most common forms of skin cancer arebasal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, in both of these prolonged ultraviolet light exposure is a risk major factor.

Nigella sativa has been proven to have a range of anti-cancer effects against many different abnormal cell types. [vi] Specific effects against skin cancer cells have been demonstrated.

Squamous cell carcinomas affect the epidermal layer of the skin; they can spread and invade surrounding tissues. Nigella sativa extract has been found to be effective against squamous cell carcinoma cells in vitro (using human skin cancer cells cultured cells in a lab), the study found that the active anti-cancer extract from black seeds (Thymoquinone) inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in squamous cell carcinoma. The authors conclude that Thymoquinone is a potential antineoplastic therapy in this common skin cancer.

Benefits of Black Seed Oil for Skin Complexion

The powerful anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and nutritive properties of black seed oil can help to restore the natural health and vitality of skin. The oil can be taken orally or applied and massaged directly into the skin. The rich array of oils provides deep skin moisturization. Additionally vitamin A, amino acids and fatty acids work together to help skin regeneration.

It is difficult to fully describe the way black seed oil works in a single article; Nigella sativa is a truly magical plant with complex properties we are just beginning to understand.

To learn more about this article go to: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/skin-healing-properties-black-seed-oil?page=1

 

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Having it ALL

all_nothing

The Land of AND

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How is it that some people can laugh and play,

But all I ever seem to do is cry and pray.

What is the secret?

What is the theme?

I need to know!

How can I be on the winning team?

I want to be with my family and kids,

I want to travel, have fun and get off the skids.

I heard there was a place to go,

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That land they call the “Land of AND.”

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60 Years of Research Links Gluten Grains to Schizophrenia

60 Years of Research Links Gluten Grains to Schizophrenia

Written By:

Sayer Ji

60 Years of Research Links Gluten Grains to Schizophrenia

Does the consumption of gluten-containing grains contribute to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia?

Believe it or not, this question has been asked for well over 60 years by researchers who stumbled upon evidence that the removal of gluten from the diet results in improved symptoms, or conversely, that gluten grain consumption leads to higher prevalence of both neurological and psychiatric problems.

Reports of the resolution of emotional disturbances after the institution of a “gluten free” diet exist in medical literature at least as far back as 1951.[i]  In 1954, Sleisenger reported to have found three schizophrenics among a group of thirty-two adults with celiac disease,[ii]and in 1957, Bossak, Wang and Aldersberg reported discovering 5 psychotic patients among 94 patients with celiac disease.[iii]   The initial recognition that celiac disease, or at least gluten sensitivity, occurred at a far higher prevalence among schizophrenics than the healthy, opened up the door to more elaborate investigations.

Wartime Reduction In Gluten Grain Rations Reduces Schizophrenia Prevalence

For instance, in 1966, a remarkable epidemiological study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition titled,”Wheat “Consumption” and Hospital Admissions for Schizophrenia During World War II,” which sought to confirm the possible relationship between schizophrenia and celiac disease by investigating the reported decrease in the number of admissions to mental hospitals during some wars.

The author of the study, F. C. Dohan, M.D., looked at the number of women admitted to the mental hospitals in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada and the United States before and after World War II. These figures were then compared to volume of wheat and rye consumed during those two periods. As Dohan explains:

The percent change in the mean annual number of first admissions for schizophrenia to the hospital in each of the five countries from the respective pre-war mean was compared to the percent change in the “consumption” of wheat and wheat plus rye.”

The results can be view in the figure below:

Wheat Consumption Data and Psychiatric Problems

As you can see above, the percent change from prewar values during World War II in the number of patients admitted to hospitals for the first time with schizophrenia in five countries was found to be significantly correlated to the percent change in the amount of wheat and wheat plus rye consumed. As gluten grain rations decreased, so did the worldwide rate of first-time admission to psychiatric institutions.

Increasing Body of Research Implicates Gluten Grains in Schizophrenia Pathogenesis

Since then, a number of studies have been published linking the consumption of gluten-containing grains to schizophrenia:

  • Schizophrenia Bulletin, 2011: Persons with schizophrenia have higher than expected titers of antibodies (7 fold increased prevalence) related to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.[iv]
  • Schizophrenia Research, 2010: Individual with schizophrenia have a novel immune response to gliadin distinct from those with celiac disease (i.e. absence of antibodies to the transglutaminase enzyme and the HLA-DQ2/DQ8 genetic locus of susceptibility.[v]
  • Acta Psychiatra Scandinavica, 2006: A review of the literature found a drastic reduction, if not full remission, of schizophrenic symptoms after initiation of gluten withdrawal has been noted in a variety of studies.[vi]
  • Biological Psychiatry, 1984: Only two chronic schizophrenics were found among over 65,000 examined or closely observed adults in remote regions of Papua New Guinea (PNG, 1950-1967) and Malaita , Solomon Islands (1980-1981), and on Yap , Micronesia (1947-1948), who do not consume grains. Researchers noted that when these peoples became partially westernized and consumed wheat, barley beer, and rice, the prevalence reached European levels.[vii]
  • Science, 1976: Schizophrenics maintained on a grain-free and milk-free diet challenged with gluten saw interruption of their therapeutic progress. After termination of the gluten challenge, the course of improvement was reinstated.[viii]

New Research Confirms Gliadin-Schizophrenia Link

The latest study to confirm the gluten-schizophrenia link was published this month in theWorld Journal of Biological Psychiatry and titled, “Elevated gliadin antibody levels in individuals with schizophrenia.” Researchers compared the blood work of 950 schizophrenics with 1,000 healthy controls. They discovered that the odds ratio of having anti-gliadin IgG antibodies was 2.13 times higher in schizophrenics, indicating that t the least schizophrenics are more likely to experience an adverse immune response to wheat proteins.

Gliadin is the alcohol soluble complex of proteins found within what is known colloquially as gluten (the term is misleading as wheat technically contains over 23,000 different proteinsnot one), and is considered the primary immunotoxic class of proteins in wheat. For instance, in celiac disease, a genetically mediated immune process unfurls where upon exposure to gliadin, the enzyme tissue transglutaminase modifies the protein, and the immune system cross-reacts with the small-bowel tissue, causing an inflammatory reaction that results in the destruction of the intestinal villi.

The discovery of antibodies to gliadin in the blood of both celiac disease patients and schizophrenics implies several things:

  • The Wheat Protein Gliadin Doesn’t Break Down During Digestion: Undigested wheat-derived macromolecules can act as antigens, provoking an antibody-mediated immune response, particularly if they get through the intestinal lining and into the blood. The fact that antibodies to wheat protein gliadin can be found in the blood indicates that it is not being fully broken down into constituent amino acids.
  • Wheat Proteins In the Blood Stimulate Auto-Immunity: The presence of gliadin in the blood also indicates intestinal permeability. It turns out that gliadin has been found to up-regulate the protein zonulin in the gut of those either with or without celiac disease, which essentially opens “pandora’s box” of intestinal permeability, and subsequent autoimmunity.[ix] In another essay, we also described the intestinal permeability generating effects of wheat lectin, also known as Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA) – [seeOpening Pandora’s Bread Box]
  • Wheat Protein May Cause The Immune System To Attack the Nervous System: Anti-gliadin antibodies appear to cross react with neurological self-structures, which may explain how they contribute to schizophrenia. A study published in 2007 in the Journal of Immunology found that anti-gliadin antibodies bind to neuronal synapsin I, a protein found within nerve terminal of axons, which the study authors believe may explain why gliadin contributes to “neurologic complications such as neuropathy, ataxia, seizures, and neurobehavioral changes.”[x] Another example of anti-gliadin antibodies possibly contributing to the formation of autoantibodies against neurological self-structures is in autism.  A 2004 study in Nutritional Neuroscience found that children with autism show antibody elevations against gliadin and cerebellar (brain) proteins simultaneously. In other words, wheat proteins may simulate antibodies that cross-react, resulting in neurological damage.[xi] Learn more on the topic by reading our article: Wheat: A Missing Piece In the Autism Puzzle

Just A Problem for Schizophrenics? There Is One Surefire Way To Find Out

A broader question is also raised by this research.  Since anti-gliadin antibodies are found in approximately 27% of the population, and as high as 57% in those suffering from neurological dysfunction of unknown causes,[xii] is it then possible that gluten-containing grains are adversely affecting the mental health of the world at large, perhaps mostly on a subclinical basis?  We actually explored this possibility in greater depth in our essay The Dark Side of Wheat, focusing on the Roman empire’s use of the wheat-based economy as a form of both cultural and biological imperialism.

Certainly we can say that wheat adversely affects the physical health of far more than present day conventional medical estimates which focus on celiac disease and food allergies to wheat. We have indexed over 200 adverse health effects of gluten-containing grains, with 20 adverse ‘modes of toxicity’ described thus far. Interestingly, top on the list is neurotoxicity, with 23 articles describing this effect available to view here: Wheat Neurotoxicity Link.

There are likely far too many variables to ever point to gluten-containing grains as a singular cause of psychiatric problems, malaise, mania, addiction, depression, schizophrenia, etc. However, one thing is sure. Your first hand experience is as valuable as a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized human trial. And so, if you remove them from your diet, and you feel better, and health conditions, both physical and mental, improve, then there is no better proof than that!

You can read this great article and other at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/60-years-research-links-gluten-grains-schizophrenia

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