Q&A When Buying Black Seed Oil
Before buying black seed oil, make sure you ask these questions first to ensure you’re getting a product that is safe and effective.
So you’ve made the decision to buy black seed oil. You know the benefits to your immune system and the support that black seed oil provides to many critical systems within your body.
The next step is to figure out which brand of black seed oil to buy. It’s tempting to just look for the best-priced brand with the most four-star reviews. Reviews can be helpful, for sure. But your health situation is unique, and so the simple number of good reviews doesn’t necessarily mean anything in terms of your own circumstances and goals. If everyone loves a brand of black seed oil because they like the way their hair feels when they mix it with their shampoo, but you’re looking for something to support your immune system … well, those reviews aren’t very helpful. Even well-written, well-thought-out reviews can be hard to trust. Some people evaluate black seed oils with a mild taste more favorably. Others are suspicious of any black seed oil that isn’t as pungent as they think it should be. These are subjective measures.
The one measure you can trust is an evaluation of potency by a third-party lab. And this is best done on a batch-by-batch basis… because potencies can change. No matter which supplement you’re buying, there are questions you should ask to make sure you’re getting what you think you are. You can find the questions we think you should ask and why they are important here.
But there are some specific questions you should ask about your black seed oil supplement before you buy…
Was it grown on a small-scale farm?
Because black seed oil is affected by the soil it grows in, you’ll get a better product when it’s sourced from a single, small-scale farm. This will reduce variances in the black seed oil potency. It also increases transparency and allows you to verify that the oil is ethically sourced.
There are many factors that affect the purity, taste, potency, and safety of black seed oil. Growing black cumin seed can be a temperamental business. The plant is not only affected by the soil, but also by the climate, the ecosystem, the seeds that were used, the type of pest/herb control (if any), and the type of fertilizer used. Small variances in these things can lead to changes in the potency of the oil.
Most black seed oil companies get their seeds or oil from many farms. This maximizes their supply and profit. It takes a high volume of seeds to make the oil, and the machines that are used to clean the seeds are typically so large it’s common to mix many farms’ seeds together for the sake of economies of scale.
At Onhava Naturals, we put the quality of the product before profits. We don’t believe in telling you half-truths or making lofty claims that we can’t prove. For example, some companies indeed have a very potent oil and they might even publish the third-party testing results. But they will also intentionally leave out that their seeds contain harmful pesticides even though the region they buy from is known for it. Others simply hide behind the veil of legitimacy that official organic certification sometimes gives.
How were the seeds pressed?
Different seeds, treated in different ways, will lead to different results. Like other oils, the less heat used to extract the oil, the more likely it is that the purity and potency of the black seed oil and all of its bioactive components are preserved. It’s important to know the details of the pressing process including what type of machine was used to extract the oil, if any chemicals were used, and the skill of the machine operator.
Where was your black seed oil grown?
Black seed oil can be grown around the world. It’s native to the Middle East and nearby regions like India and Eastern Europe. The region it grows in can affect its taste, its appearance, and its potency. Whatever supplier you choose, they should be open about the region your black seed oil comes from.
How is your black seed oil packaged?
Exposure to light can reduce your black seed oil’s potency. Choose a product that is packaged in an amber-colored glass bottle.
Has it been third-party tested?
The only way to know with confidence the purity and potency of your black seed oil is to review the results provided by a third-party testing lab. The company you purchase from should readily provide those results. This is important because some companies go to great lengths to increase their profits at your expense.
One popular practice is to mix one kind of oil with other cheaper oils. This deceptive practice has been exposed in highly publicized raids of the Italian olive oil industry, for example. And it can happen with black seed oil, too.
We have lab tested many brands of black seed oil (19 and counting) and unfortunately have encountered two (so far) that were mixed with other types of oils. Sadly, they have many positive reviews, which might be fraudulent.
What is its essential fatty acid count?
The label on your black seed oil should clearly show how much omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids are in a serving.