Black Seed Oil
History of Black Seed Oil
Black Seed comes from the fruits of a small plant with pale purple, blue, or white flowers that can be found in Eastern Europe, Western Asia and the Middle East. The plant is called Nigella Sativa, but the seed has many different names such as Black Cumin, Black Caraway, Black Onion Seeds and Kalonji. This seed is also mentioned in the bible in Isaiah:27
Black seed has been used as remedies for thousands of years as well as used to spice food and drinks such as pickles, curries, salads, vegetable dishes and bread. The high quality of black seeds is used for food and drinks.
Black seeds have many benefits for the skin, hair and overall health of the body and form part of the ingredients for many beauty products, for example; Shampoo, Massage oils, fragrances, etc.
What is it?
Black seed oil is obtained from the seed using a cold compression method This allows the purest and highest potency nutrients from the seed retain in the oil; the darker the oil, the higher the purity. Black seed oil contains thymoquinone. Thymoquinone is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that may have tumour-reducing benefits.
Black seed oil is also high in fatty acid, but low in Omega 3 and rich in polyunsaturated fat, which means it is great for the heart.
Benefits for the Hair
Studies have shown that black seed oil helps to grow and strengthen the hair shaft diameter (fight against thinning hair) as well as adding shine to a lacklustre and lifeless hair. Black seed oil reduces dandruff, soothes itchy scalp and help fight against greyness.
Benefits for the Body
Black Seed has many health benefits both in the application and when indigested (capsule).
A 2013 study shows that black seed oil reduces the severity of eczema compared to prescribed medication. It can also help with acne according to different research because black seed oil contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
According to recent studies, black seed oil may help with treating cancer as thymoquinone found in the oil may be able to kill off cancer cells found in leukaemia, breast and brain cancers. These researchers didn’t conduct on human, but on cancer uses cells. A research conducted on rats in 2013 shows that the oil may reduce liver and kidney disease complication and improve these organ structures. An article from the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that black seed oil may contain anti-diabetic properties and improve blood sugar. This sounds great for diabetics- but remember that these researches happen with animal participants and not humans. There is great news for men who want to have children but finds it hard. Research conducted in men found that the oil increases sperm mobility and sperm count. It may also help with Rheumatoid Arthritis and muscle spasms. The oil may aid in lowering Cholesterol (and supporting the health of the heart) as well as easing toothache
Black seed oil may cause a rash in some individual, so it is very important to do a patch test before using it.
The oil should not be used near the eyes, nose or other sensitive areas of the body.
Consuming black seed oil may cause stomach problems such as constipation, stomach upset and vomiting.
If you are pregnant or breastfeed, please seek medical advice before using.
Naturally Curly; Berley, S (2019); Natural Hair Growth Remedy: Black Seed Oil; https://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/kinky-hair-type-4a/hair-growth-remedies-black-seed-oil
Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322948#takeaway
Natural Food Series; Jessimy, M (2019); Black Seed Oil Benefits: For Health, Skin, Hair and Side Effects; https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/11-health-benefits-black-seed-oil/
Healthy Hubb: https://www.healthyhubb.com/black-seed-oil-benefits/
Beauty Best Care; Smith, J (2020); How To Use Black Seed Oil For Hair Growth; https://www.beautybestcare.com/black-seed-oil-for-hair-growth
Fresh, Body Mind; Ellie (2019); The Amazing Black Seed Oil Benefits for Hair; https://freshbodymind.com/black-seed-oil-benefits-for-hair/
Naturally Daily (2019); Black Seed Oil For Hair: 10 Benefits of Kalonji Oil; https://naturallydaily.com/black-seed-oil-for-hair/
Organic Facts; Staughton, J (2020); 5 Amazing Benefits Of Black Seed Oil For Hair; https://www.organicfacts.net/black-seed-oil-hair.html
NCBI; Yousefi, M, et al (2013); Comparison of therapeutic effect of topical Nigella with Betamethasone and Eucerin in hand eczema; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23198836
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Photo by Terricks Noah on Unsplash
Mental Health and Wellbeing during Covid-19
Mental health concern or disorder is when an individual display an emotional or behavioural pattern that is considered abnormal for the individual or the society, they live in. It can impair or causes distress to their everyday functioning such as; working, getting dressed, socialising, sleeping, etc. This can impact an individual’s mental and emotional part of the body which takes place in the brain. Just like physical health, mental health needs support, love, understanding and care for an individual to recover from it. However, mental health is often misunderstood, stigmatised and discriminated against. Mental and physical health are interlinked in many ways, and one can have an impact on the other.
Although experts are not exactly sure of what causes a decline or a complete breakdown in mental health, many of these factors can contribute to a mental health disorder.
Substances (whether recreational or prescribe): Substances are complex chemicals that react to the chemicals and electrons in our brain. Sometimes these reactions have a very negative impact on the overall functioning of the brain which can cause a mental health breakdown.
Life Stressors: Life is full of ups and downs (stressors) and sometimes too many stressors can have a significant impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Life stressors can be anything and everything an individual finds difficult to overcome, so things like finance, bereavement, job loss, divorce, parenthood, exams, isolation, illness, etc. can be stressors.
DNA: This is one factor that is really hard to trace as most of us only know our DNAs up to our grandparents, grandaunts/uncles so, we don’t really know our family history let alone the different personalities and medical histories. However, if any members of your family had suffered from a mental disorder, then there is a possibility that you may suffer from one. Your DNA can also be linked to your coping mechanism and resilience you are with life stressors.
Lifestyle: Lifestyle is looking more at your diet and sleeping pattern (even though the above factors are part of your lifestyle). The type of food we consume; the amount of food we consume; the length and quality of sleep we receive can have an impact on our mental health.
People you associate with: The people we associate with and the interaction we have with them can have an impact on our mental health.
Weather: The weather also has an impact on our mental state. Us Brits (as well as most Northern and Southern hemisphere countries in the world) are very much aware of this during seasonal chances such as winter.
Below is a list of the different types of mental health concern an individual can be affected by with brief information of what it is and how it effect can take place. Please note that individuals can suffer from more than mental health concerns.
Anger: We have all felt anger at some point or another. However, this becomes a disorder when an individual cannot manage it and exact their frustrations on others in a physical and/or emotional outburst frequently.
Anxiety and Panic Attack: It is an intense emotional worry (this is when our adrenaline is increased to the Fight, Flight or Freeze response) that increases our heart rate and blood pressure. Anxiety and Panic Attack can be caused by a thought, a feeling or a physical sensation.
Bipolar Disorder: This is a mood disorder and can affect individual people differently as we all experience different moods in a slightly different way. There is also different severity of the disorder. There are two parts to Bipolar, which are Manic or Hypomanic episode and Depressive episode. A Manic/Hypomanic episode is when the sufferer is on a high and a Depressive episode the sufferer is on a low.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder: This disorder is when an individual is overly anxious about their body image. This can present itself in eating disorders, over exercising and excess cosmetic surgery.
Clinical/Chronic Depression: This is a very deep, dark and extremely low mood type of depression, where an individual can self-neglect and seize to (or finds it extremely difficult to) function in their everyday life.
Hoarding: Finding it very difficult to throw anything away (regardless of the value), has emotional attachment to things and feels anxiety at the thought of throwing anything away
Loneliness/Isolation: Feelings of being along and physically being alone for a long period of time without any social interaction.
OCD: This stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This is a disorder that has two components which are Obsession and compulsion. Obsession is a repeated but unwanted thoughts, images, worries, doubts and urges in an individual mind. This can cause a feeling of anxiousness. Compulsion repeated activities or actions that helps to reduce anxiety cause by the obsession.
Personality Disorder: Is having difficulties in relating with others and yourself, and having problems in coping with day to day life.
Perinatal Depression: is a depression that is associated with pregnancy and up to the first year after giving birth.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: It is an anxiety type disorder that can happen after experiencing and/or witnesses a traumatic situation or events
Psychosis: This is when an individual interprets and/or perceive reality differently from those around them and their society (this can be delusion, paranoid delusion, hearing voices, etc.)
Schizoaffective Disorder: Is both mood and psychotic disorder that can happen within a couple of weeks from each other during a single episode and can cause individual to self-neglect.
Schizophrenia: This disorder can cause hallucination, delusion, paranoid delusions and disorganised speech and thought. Individual suffers self-neglects
Seasonal Affective Disorder: This is a type of depression that individuals can experience during a particular season (weather) or time of year.
The signs that you or someone you know may be suffering from a mental health breakdown are:
Eating problem/difficulties: Having difficulties in eating where they will play with their food or hide their food. They may also over eat (more so than their normal eating habit)
Hypomania: Full of energy, over spend and shop a lot, extremely happy and euphoric, over talkative (can’t get words out fast enough), increase in sex drive, easily distracted in thought and concentration, irritable and agitated (please remember that this should be outside of the norm for the individual)
Paranoia: This is when an individual thinks and believe they are under threat (even though there are little to no evidence of this) or have an exaggerated suspicion (i.e. people making a nasty rumour or comments about them)
Self-Esteem: It is how individual perceive and value themselves based on self-opinion and beliefs. During a mental health break down, individuals can have very low to nonexistence self-esteem.
Self-Harm: This is a coping mechanism, where individual participate in self-destructive behaviour to help cope with difficult events, situations, feelings, thoughts and painful behaviour. Self-harm is a short term realise pressure and pleasure but the original distress is still present as it have not been dealt with (also self-harm may cause other distress as a result).
Sleeping Problem: Finding it very difficult to sleep and feeling more tired than usual.
Suicidal Feeling: Feeling that you cannot go on living and that life would be better minus you (but this is wrong as you may be causing more harm to your loved ones than you will realise). Please remember that all problem has some sort of solution and help should be seek immediately if you or someone you know have these feelings.
To get support there are many people and organisations you can turn to, to receive the right support.
Hospital: You can go to the accident and emergency department who will then contact the right team and professionals to help and support you
Call: You can dial 999 (UK), 911 (US) and 112 (Europe) to be transported to emergency department if you are unable to go (please remember that this is for serious emergency- for example if you feel suicidal). Also, you can call 111 NSH direct (England) or 0845 46 47 (Wales) for advice if it is none emergency.
Samaritans: In the UK you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 who can then provide you with a good listen ears and advice (if you need any)
Crisis Team: In the UK you can contact your local crisis team who are specialist mental health professionals available to provide you with the support you need.
Crisis House: Offers a short-term support in a residential setting Crisis House can be a safe haven for many
GP: Your GP will refer you to the right mental health team or professionals
Therapy: Every area has at least one specialist services that consists of Psychologists, Psychotherapists which may include: Psychologists, Arts therapists (including Arts/Music and Sound/Dance and Movement and Drama Therapists), Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners, Occupational Therapy. These are highly trained professionals who will try to provide you with the right type of support. These are the many therapy service you can access: Anxiety UK, Mental Health Matters, IAPT (England)
Medication: Your GP or a Psychiatrist may prescribe you medication
CMHT (UK): CMHT stands for Community Mental Health Team, this is a specialist team that contains many health professionals to support you in your road to recovery in the community and at home. The professionals can be made up of Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Mental Health Nurse, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker and now an Employment Specialist. These key workers are there to support you with every aspect of your life from understand your illness and medication (if you are on one), to providing you with your medication, finance, working life, family dynamic, physical health, etc.
Charities (UK): There are many charities that can provide you with support and possible advocacy such as Mind, Young Mind, Samaritans, Mental Health Foundation, Nightline Association, Beat, Calm, Shout, The Mix, OCD Action, Turning Point, Rethink, Cruse Bereavement Care, Rape Crisis. These are some of national charities but there are local charities as well- ask your GP or your local NHS mental health services for more information.
Mental Health UK: https://mentalhealth-uk.org/help-and-information/conditions/
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968
World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/mental_health/management/en/
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Photo by Claudia Wolff on Unsplash
Since the lockdown have been enforced, there are many reports that Domestic Abuse is on the increase. If you are experiencing domestic abuse or not sure if you are but want more information, then this blog post is for you.
What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic Abuse is the new term for Domestic Violence. The term changed as Domestic Violence can take many forms and it doesn’t always involve physical abuse or violence.
These are the many different forms of abuse:
Economic abuse- This can be any form of financial abuse (involving money) including loyalty point/rewards, gift vouchers, etc.
Emotional, Mental or Psychological abuse- This form of abuse can be referred to any of these terms; this is abuse is where a person behaviour and treatment can cause significant trauma to another’s emotional wellbeing and can cause psychological distress. Psychological distress can include: as anxiety, chronic-depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sexual abuse- This abuse comes in many different forms including posting/sharing and receiving intimate images of someone without their consent, coercing or forcing someone to view or participating in sexual activities they don’t want to do.
Online abuse- This is any abuse that involves the internet and therefore this form of abuse can be interlinked with other forms of abuse.
Verbal abuse- Verbal abuse is any type of abuse that comes in the shape of any sound, so this can be words, grunts, sighs, the kiss of teeth, etc. It is any sound that is used to bring another person down.
Coercive control and ‘gaslighting- Is a psychological mind game and manipulation of an individual to create doubts, questioning of memory, judgement and perception.
Physical abuse- This is an abuse that can take shape in the physical form such as punching, kicking, biting, throwing objects, slapping, hair pulling, etc.
What causes Domestic Abuse?
There are many reasons why a person can abuse others, but whatever the reason, the person receiving the abuse is NOT at fault and they SHOULDN’T live in an abusive environment.
Some people grew up in an abusive home and are therefore desensitised from it and believes that these types of behaviour are normal. Sometimes a stressful situation or a change of circumstances can cause abuse such as the current lockdown and recession. Food, mood, temperature and substances (such as substance misuse) can change a person’s behaviour into an abusive behaviour. It can be personality traits where a person loves power and control and like to implement their version of power and control.
What are the signs Domestic Abuse?
If you suspect that you or someone you know may be experiencing domestic abuse and are unsure, these are some sign to look out for and to seek help.
Bruises: If a person is covered in bruises, trying to hide (wearing unsuitable clothing- i.e. long sleeves on an extremely hot day) or make excuses (implausible reasons) for bruises.
Withdrawn: If they become withdrawn and are not interacting with friends and family or at social gatherings like how they normally would.
Finances: This sign can take place in different forms. The first form is financial difficulties- so if the person is having financial troubles where they are always either bothering money or can’t afford to pay for things. The second form is financial affluent- The person suddenly has too much money or expensive goods in their possessions all of a sudden without any plausible explanation- This might be a sign of grooming which will lead to abuse.
Prisoner at Home: If the person is not allowed to leave the home or if they do, they have to be back at a certain time and if they are not, they seem worried and afraid.
Tracking: If the person whereabout and other activities are getting monitored using technological tools and social media.
Where to seek help?
If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, you can dial 999 and the police will take the call. If you are unable to speak (for whatever reason), you can cough or tap on the phone when the operator asks you some questions. If you are calling from a mobile you can dial 55 if prompt (55 is requesting help silently so that the abuser is not aware that you just called the police). Please remember that once 55 is dialled, the police are unable to trace the location of your call.
If you are on a landline, the 55 option is NOT available, but the call will stay connected for 45 seconds in case you can pick up again. The call handler will be able to locate your location on a landline to then pass the information to the responding officers.
Have a 24 hours 7 days a week National Domestic Abuse Helpline you can contact on 0808 2000 247. All calls are absolutely free and confidential and you can book a safe time to speak to them on their website. Their website is packed with supportive information and guidance for victims and friends and family of victims.
Women’s Aid provides a range of services for survivors of Domestic Abuse as well as providing special information and for the Covid-19 virus outbreak. They also provide domestic abuse services locally and you can search for your local one here.
Men’s Advice Line
For men facing domestic abuse, you can receive confidential support from Men’s Advice Line, their number is 0808 801 0327
Galop – for members of the LGBTQ+ community
If anyone from the LGBTQ+ community want support with domestic abuse then Galop have a specialist service for you. You can either call them on 0800 999 5428 or email them at email@example.com
Anyone who thinks they or someone they know are suffering some form of ‘Honour’ based abuse can contact Karma Nirvana on 0800 5999 247 or email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Karma Nirvana runs the national honour-based abuse. Honour Based abuse is when individual is abuse because their family or community believes that individual have compromised the family or the community honour/reputation.
SignHealth offers support for any deaf person communicating using the British Sign Language (BSL) who may be facing domestic abuse. They can be contacted on 020 3947 2601, or email at: email@example.com or WhatsApp/Facetime on: 07970 350366.
Children and Young People affected by domestic abused can contact any of these organisations, they will support and provide you with the information you, your friends and your family needs.
Childline– Their number is 0800 1111
Family Lives– Their number is 0808 800 2222
Home Office (2020); Guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for victims of domestic abuse; UK Government; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-and-domestic-abuse/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-victims-of-domestic-abuse
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