Nigella Sativa Seed Oil



No known benefits

Nigella Sativa Seed Oil at a glance

  • Also known as black cumin seed oil and black caraway seed oil
  • Contains bioactive ingredient thymoquinone
  • Antioxidant compounds help curb the effects of environmental stress
  • May contain skin irritating volatile fragrance compounds

Nigella Sativa Seed Oil description

Nigella sativa seed oil is an emollient yellow-orange oil containing unsaturated fatty acids extracted from the seeds of Nigella sativa, a small flowering plant. This oil, also known as black cumin seed oil and black caraway seed oil, has a long history of usage in traditional herbal medicinal practices in Africa and Asia. Nigella sativa seed oil has been touted as an antioxidant that might have soothing properties when used on skin. On the flip side, it may also contain volatile fragrance compounds that present an irritation risk to skin. Most of this ingredient’s claims stem from a bioactive compound present in its oil: thymoquinone. Thymoquinone taps into cellular pathways to help curb the visible effects of environmental stress. More research is needed to provide sufficient evidence of the compound’s other properties; however, there’s interesting research that suggests that thymoquinone can help visibly improve breakout prone skin. Thymoquinone is susceptible to degradation due to heat, air, and light sensitivities. Currently, there are ongoing studies looking into improving the compound’s stability through methods like encapsulation in lipid-based delivery systems known as ethosomes. Be sure to read the ingredient labels on products including this oil closely, as it can be formulated as both an essential oil and a fixed (carrier) oil. We do not recommend usage of this oil in either state due to the presence of volatile fragrance compounds that can irritate skin.

Nigella Sativa Seed Oil references

  • Foods, July 2018, pages 1-10
  • Journal of Tropical Medicine. November 2017
  • Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology, February 2019, Pages 177-187
  • AAPS PharmSciTech, September 2018, pages 3490-3500.
  • Antioxidants, February 2019, pages 51-63.
  • Prospector Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Accessed June 2022. ePublication.
  • Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, March 2021.
  • The Scientific World Journal, November 2017, pages 1-7.
  • Planta Medicine, 2015, pages 299-305.

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.