Highly praised for the active molecules it contains, black seed oil is listed in the INCI list of many skin and hair care products. However, its ingestion and topical application are regulated. Pregnant or breastfeeding women, in particular, must be cautious when using black seed oil. More details in this article.
Can black seed oil be used during pregnancy?
- The summary of black seed oil and pregnancy
- Ingestion of black seed oil during pregnancy
- Topical application of black seed oil during pregnancy
The summary of black seed oil and pregnancy.
Black seed oil is often associated with pregnancy as it is suggested that it increases the chances of having a baby. This belief, originating from Iran, has been the subject of several scientific studies. One of them notably demonstrated that the oral intake of black seed oil was beneficial for women suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Affecting approximately 10% of women, one of the most common manifestations of PCOS is oligomenorrhea, that is, a menstrual cycle lasting more than 35 days. Oligomenorrhea generally reduces the chances of becoming pregnant.
To assess the effects of black seed oil on this condition, the following test was set up with 84 women suffering from PCOS and oligomenorrhea: for 4 months, half received 2 capsules of 500 mg of black seed oil daily while the other half received 2 placebo capsules. At the end of the 4 months, the interval between menstruations was shorter in the black seed oil group (45 days) than in the placebo group (86 days). The results thus suggest that black seed oil could be useful for menstrual irregularities in women suffering from PCOS. However, further studies are needed to discover the exact mechanisms involved.
Ingestion of black seed oil during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a rather restrictive period for a woman, who must closely monitor her diet and lifestyle for her own health and that of her baby. Several scientists have investigated the dangers of theblack seed oil during pregnancy, but all research has been conducted on rats. In a recent study, pregnant rats were treated with 12.5 to 200 µg/mL of black seed oil during the first half of their gestation period (10 days). The researchers observed no impact on the duration of gestation, the number of newborn rats, their weight, or any deformities in the rats or abnormalities in their behavior. However, since this study was conducted on rats, it is difficult to extrapolate these results to pregnant women.
Generally, the ingestion of essential or vegetable oils is strongly discouraged during pregnancy. Black seed oil is no exception and it is even said to promote miscarriages. Although no study on the black seed oil itself has validated this hypothesis, research on thymoquinone, one of its active ingredients, has shown that at high doses this compound has a abortive effect. When in doubt, it is always better to adhere to the precautionary principle. This is especially true during pregnancy, a time when the expectant mother and her baby are particularly vulnerable. Thus, the ingestion of black seed oil is not recommended for pregnant women.
Please note : if you wish to use black seed oil to increase your chances of conceiving, it should not be consumed beyond the 14th day of your menstrual cycle, which corresponds to the ovulation period.
Topical application of black seed oil during pregnancy.
While oral consumption of black seed oil is not recommended during pregnancy, its topical application is considered safe. However, it's important to note that it should not be applied to the nipples if you are breastfeeding, nor to areas of your body that may come into contact with your baby just before holding them. Pregnant or breastfeeding women can thus benefit from its numerous virtues for skin health, particularly to prevent the appearance of stretch marks, which are common during pregnancy.
Nigella oil softens the skin and promotes its elasticity.
Nigella vegetable oil contains oleic acid, a fatty acid that is a component of sebum. This plays a protective role and limits skin dehydration, making it more flexible and less prone to stretch marks. Nigella oil also contains linoleic acid, an omega-6 that contributes to the cohesion of the stratum corneum. When this layer is strengthened, the skin is more resistant to weight fluctuations and pulls.
Black seed oil has healing properties.
The topical application of this botanical extract activates the regeneration and reconstruction of skin tissues. The mechanisms through which black seed oil works are still unclear, but researchers suspect that nigellin and nigellone play a role. This makes this ingredient a valuable ally in preventing the appearance of stretch marks, which are often correlated with a sudden stretching of the skin.
Note :Black seed oil is typically used topically in a diluted form, often at a 10% concentration, mixed with another vegetable oil.
GHORBANI A. & al. Safety evaluation of Phytovagex, a pessary formulation of Nigella sativa, on pregnant rats. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine (2016).
SABER S. & al. Comparing the Effect of Nigella sativa oil Soft Gel and Placebo on Oligomenorrhea, Amenorrhea and Laboratory Characteristics in Patients with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a Randomized Clinical Trial. Research journal of pharmacognosy (2020).
PARSAMANESH N. & al. Effect of orally-administrated thymoquinone during pregnancy on litter size, pentylenetetrazol-induced seizure, and body weight in rat offspring. Iranian journal of basic medical sciences (2021).