Niger seed oil is popularly known for its positive effects on human health, particularly its ability to speed up healing process, protect skin, improve heart health, help in gaining weight, aid sleep, stimulate blood circulation, and reducing inflammation, among other benefits.
Niger is also known as Ramtil, which is a straight, stout, and annual herb grown for edible oils and seeds. Its plants are on an average height of 1.4 m but can differ significantly due to environmental influences and height of 2m. The plant is normally adapted to different environments like cool tropical Eastern Africa, hotter tropical and subtropical lowlands of India and temperate Europe.
The plant can be grown on any soil except coarse or heavy-textured land. It is commonly sown in areas with a rather poor soil under poor soil conditions.
Niger Leaves and Flowers:
Niger leaves are arranged on opposite sides of the stem, which is 10-20 cm long and 3-4 cm wide. The leaf appearance varies from pointed and smooth. Its color differs from light green to dark green. The surface of the leaf is smooth.
The niger flower is yellow and slightly green. Its top is 15-50 mm in diameter along with 5-20 long ray florets. The disk florets vary yellow to orange, and yellow anthers, and a densely hairy stigma.
Niger Seed oil:
The essential oil is derived from an annual herb that grows in various parts of Malawi, India, and Ethiopia. Its scientific name is Guizotia abyssinica. This plant is known by several other names across the world, including nyder, ramtil, or blackseeds.
The niger seed is a fruit. It is also known as achene but because of its similar appearance to sunflowers seeds and is commonly considered as a seed suitable for human consumption. Nutrient-rich oil can be pressed through the niger seeds. The extraction of the oil is quite simple. It can be extracted using a heating process through which contaminants are neutralized. These seeds can actually yield about 35% of oil which is relatively inexpensive and utilize for cooking purpose. Its seed oil is produced from niger seeds which is beneficial for both culinary and medicinal purpose.
The niger seed oil content is loaded with beneficial fatty acids and linoleic acids, which has a similar composition to sunflower oil. Hence, this oil is often used as substitute for cooking oil, especially in areas where niger seeds are grown in high quantities. The seeds have several other uses, in chutneys, curries, and other health infusion. The niger seed oil has a nutty taste and have a pleasant odour.
But the niger seed oil has the highest nutritional value because of its concentrated content of nutrients.
Niger seeds have a nutty taste. Its flour has a good source of essential amino acids. Consuming 1 gram of niger seed flour offers 0.054 g of Tryptophan, 0.237 g of Threonine, 0.307 g of Isoleucine, 0.388 g of Leucine, 0.294 g of Lysine, 0.109 g of Methionine and 0.177 g of Cystine.
Niger seeds Quick Facts
|Scientific Name:||Guizotia abyssinica|
|Colors||Glossy black with white to yellow scars|
|Shapes||Club-shaped, obovoid and narrowly long, 3-6 mm long x 1.5-4 mm broad, 4-angled|
|Major nutrients||Isoleucine (18.36%)|
|Health benefits||Heart Health, Reduces Inflammation, Heals Wounds, Immune System Booster, Good for Rheumatism, Sleep Aid, Give Relief from Cold and Flu, Gastrointestinal Issues, Curbs Morning Sickness, Speed Healing, Protect the Skin, Weight Gain|
Benefits of niger seed oil:
Now, let us take a closer look at some of the essential niger seed oil health benefits:
1. Improve sleep quality
If you have sleep problems like insomnia or dementia, then you can try using niger seed oil. The health benefits of this oil can affect hormonal levels in our body. The presence of potassium, zinc, and other minerals can help to affect hormones in our body. It is loaded with minerals that help in stabilizing circadian rhythm and induce release of certain neurotransmitters. This can allow our body to be rest enough and in turn get a good night sleep.
2. Improve Heart Health
You can replace vegetable oil with niger seed oil as it has a positive effect on health, especially heart. The oil has a high content of Omega 3 fatty acids and linoleic acid. It is beneficial for balancing off cholesterol levels in our body and for preventing atherosclerosis, which can help in treating stroke and heart attack. The oil also contains anti-inflammatory agents to prevent strain on cardiovascular system.
3. Reduce Inflammation
Niger seed oil contains a high amount of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, which makes it popular for people suffering from arthritis, gout, rheumatism, fever, and high blood pressure. The antioxidants present can help in neutralizing free radicals which can lead to oxidative stress. This in turn leads to inflammation in our body and eliminate free radicals.
4. Boost Immune system
Niger seed oil contains certain anti-parasitic and antioxidant properties which is beneficial whenever applied topically or consumed. The use of niger seed oil can help to prevent several infections and strengthen your immune system. You can make use of niger seed oil on your skin for treating infections and add it to your food for protecting your internal health.
5. Treats Rheumatism
Niger seed oil is beneficial for treating rheumatism and offer fast relief without causing any other side effects. The oil contains certain medicinal properties which can aid in healing signs and symptoms of rheumatism.
6. Calm Gastrointestinal Problems
Niger seed oil is similar to rapeseed and sunflower seed oils. It can help to treat gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, bloating, cramping, hemorrhoids, and general stomach problems. The oil can also help in coating stomach, reduce inflammation, and also protect against bad bacteria in our gut system that may weaken immune system or prevent proper nutrient intake.
7. Curb Morning Sickness
Niger seed oil does not contain non-acidic stability that makes it healthy oil for treating morning sickness. The oil also contains low amounts of unsaturated fat and therefore lowers uncommon symptoms such as mood swings, hypertension, and stress.
8. Speed Up Healing Process
Niger seed oil is packed with mineral and vitamin composition which makes it helpful for healing and re-growth of cells. Protein, Vitamin C, riboflavin, fiber, and other carbohydrates compressed in this oil are essential during healing process. Therefore, include niger seed oil to your diet to help with your cholesterol problems. Also, the oil can be used for applying on wounds inflicted from injury or surgery for speeding up healing process.
9. Aid In Weight Gain
The fatty acids and proteins present in the oil are great for gaining a healthy weight. If you suffer from weight loss after a certain health problem or injury, then you may use the oil for gaining weight. The presence of Omega-3 and other nutrients in the oil can boost a healthy weight gain for patients. If you are not trying to gain weight, then make use of this oil in moderation.
10. Improve Digestive Problems
The niger seed oil can coat our stomach, reduce inflammation, and protect against bad bacteria in our gut system which may be harmful for our immune system or prevent proper nutrient uptake.
11. Control Blood Sugar Levels
Niger seed oil is highly helpful in controlling blood sugar levels in our body. It can prevent high sugar levels to increase and forestalling spikes of blood sugar levels.
12. Neutralize PH Level
Niger seed oil is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients, which are essential for boosting and regulating metabolic functions of its users. The oil can also help in neutralizing our body pH levels and keep our body hydrated at all times.
13. Safeguard Skin Against Allergies
Niger seed oil can protect your skin against allergies, itching, and burning sensation commonly associated with skin problems.
14. Olive Oil Substitute
Niger seed oil is a good alternative to olive oil. The oil can be mixed with linseed oil for extra flavoring. The taste of the oil when mixed can be great making it great for everything including salad dressings.
15. Good Composition
The niger seed oil has a rich content of oil, good protein source, and linoleic acid. In fact, its composition of fatty acids is similar to sunflower oil.
16. Low In Unsaturated Fat
Niger oil is healthy oil as it is non-acidic and low on unsaturated fat. Therefore, this oil is healthy in comparison with other kitchen oils available.
17. Rich in Minerals
Our body requires several essential nutrients for functioning properly and remaining healthy. The oil is loaded with a rich amount of calcium, zinc, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and traces of copper beneficial for health.
18. Contains Essential Nutrients
Niger seed oil contains essential nutrients like ascorbic acid, riboflavin, niacin, stearic, and oleic acid, fiber, protein, and carbohydrates. Hence, this healthy oil can be used for a number of applications.
19. Has Medicinal Properties
Niger seed oil contains antioxidant, anti-parasitic, and anti-rheumatic properties. This solution is a great solution for massages and for preventing skin related problems like infections and inflammation.
20. Adulterate Other Oils
Niger seed oil can be blended well with other oils. This oil can be used for adulterating other oils like sesame and rapeseed including others. Niger oil gives out a great flavor when mixed with other oils.
21. Skin Care
Niger seed oil is a perfect solution if you are looking for a remedy for your scars, burns, rashes, and skin irritation. The oil is an excellent option because it is packed with antioxidants that are helpful in speeding up healing process and treating inflammation. This can help in preventing skin infections by increasing immune reactivity for treating wounds or lacerations. The antioxidants present can also balance off free radicals which can reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and age-spots.
22. Provides Relief From Cold And Flu
Niger seed oil is highly beneficial for protecting our body from cold and flu. In fact, you can regularly massage using this oil extract on your chest, back, and other body parts to relief from common symptoms of flu and cold.
23. Improve Hair Health
Niger seed oil for hair effectively relieves your scalp and strengthens hair roots. You can apply the niger seed oil on hair loss areas. You may practice oiling for few weeks to see results for hair thickness and nourishment.
How to Consume Niger Seed Oil:
- Niger seed oil is warmed up in a kettle over an open fire. The seeds can then be crushed using a pestle and a mortar and mixed using crushed pulse seeds.
- Foods like chibto and litlit are prepared using crushed niger seed mixed with roasted cereals.
- The oil used in cooking as a ghee substitute can be used for salad dressing.
- Niger seeds are used in several dish items, condiments, and snacks.
- The seeds are added into chutneys, condiments, porridge mixed with pulses for preparing snack foods and grounded to produce flour and beverages.
Other Uses and Benefits of Niger Seed Oil:
- Niger seed oil is used for birth control and treating syphilis.
- Niger sprouts when mixed using garlic and honey can be used for treating coughs.
- The oil from the seeds can be used for rheumatic treatment.
- It can be applied to treat burns.
- The paste of the niger seed oil can be applied as poultice for the treatment of scabies.
Other Facts of Niger Seed Oil:
- Niger plant is consumed by sheep and not by cattle, to which niger silage is fed.
- Niger is also used for cooking, lighting, anointing, painting, and cleaning of machinery.
- Niger oil is a substitute for sesame oil for pharmaceutical purposes and used for soap-making.
- Niger oil cake is the main protein supplement for livestock in Ethiopia.
- The residual of seed cake after oil extraction have a high manorial value.
- The straw is used as a fuel for cooking in Ethiopia.
The paste or gruel is made from ground niger seeds mixed with ground flaxseeds.