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Supplement Perspectives

The Future of Immune Health

Regular contributor Dr. C. Leigh Broadhurst makes the case for Black Seed.

When my son went back to college in January he developed a cough. After a week of hacking he announced, “We’re out of Black Seed oil, but everybody tells me I have a sinus infection and need antibiotics!”

I told him he could find himself a primary care physician, schedule an appointment, pay the copay, and get the prescription or just run down to the Halal supermarket and buy Black Seed oil. He returned in 15 minutes with a bottle and bag of samosas: “I couldn’t use my debit card unless I charged $10,” he explained, “and the oil was only $7.99.”

What a bargain! Black Seed, or Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) is an ancient spice and herbal remedy that impresses me. It’s especially recommended for respiratory infections. N. sativa acts to reduce airway inflammation, open bronchial tubes, and soothe coughing. Most importantly, it increases your natural immunity against respiratory infections. It also helps allergy-hypersensitivity conditions such as asthma, colitis, dermatitis and hay fever. With a treatment I developed (4x daily: 1,000 mg vitamin C; 4 sprays elderberry propolis spray; 1 tsp black seed oil*; 1 dose children’s liquid Benadryl; raw salad/fruit) plus sleep, Chris was fine in four days.

Natural immunity is key. You are carrying around enough microbes to be sick every minute of your life, but your immune system keeps them checked.

For example, just about everybody with chronic sinusitis, tonsillitis, bronchitis, or ear infections have persistent nasal passage colonization of Staphylococcus aureus. These bacteria are also the major cause of skin and soft tissue infections: many are familiar with the dreaded methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Ninety-eight percent of atopic dermatitis and 50 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients are S. aureus carriers. A combination of genetic and lifestyle factors—including smoking, drug use, high sugar/low produce diets, lack of sunlight exposure and elevated blood sugar—allow S. aureus to reduce natural immunity and overrun our normal skin bacteria which are beneficial or harmless.

Plants contain thousands of antimicrobial compounds. They have to—they get infected too! Some of these compounds kill pathogenic human microbes, but it usually takes large doses and special preparations. Plants also contain thousands of phytochemicals that enhance our immunity by increasing the number of infection-fighting cells, increasing their effectiveness or reducing inflammation. We primates lost the ability to make vitamin C–the number one immune-boosting phytochemical, presumably because we ate so much fruit and tubers.

It’s likely that we also became partially dependent on numerous other plant compounds to balance our immune system: too weak and we get sick; too strong and we’re allergy-ridden and hypersensitive. The “adaptogenic” concept of ginseng is due to make a comeback, perhaps relabeled “immunomodulation.” Black Seed can lead the way.

*The product is prepared in a vegetable oil base thus is not 100 percent essential oil. Read the label carefully on any essential oil product that you may sell or purchase and adjust recommended dosages accordingly.

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