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Updated 18 February 2013

Black seed (Nigella sativa)

Black seed (Nigella sativa) is an annual flowering plant, native to southwest Asia, which has been used primarily in candies and liquors, as well as medicinally. In many Arabian, Asian, and African countries, black seed oil is used as a natural remedy for a wide range of diseases.

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BACKGROUND

Black seed (Nigella sativa) is an annual flowering plant, native to southwest Asia, which has been used primarily in candies and liquors, as well as medicinally. In many Arabian, Asian, and African countries, black seed oil is used as a natural remedy for a wide range of diseases.

Early human study suggests that black seed may decrease allergies. Black seed has also been studied for use in cancer, immune disorders, inflammation, stomach and respiratory conditions, and for women's health.

EVIDENCE TABLE

Conditions

Uses
disclaimer: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Grade*

Allergies

Early human study suggests that black seed may decrease allergies. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

C

*Key to grades: A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).

TRADITION

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below. Abdominal pain, abortion inducing, abscesses, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, boils, breast cancer, breast milk stimulant, bronchitis, bruises, cancer, colon cancer, colorectal cancer, congestion, constipation, contraceptive, cough, diabetes, diarrhea, digestive tonic, diuretic, dysentery, edema, earache, eye infections, fever, flu, genital area infections, hair loss, headache, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure, immune function, inflammation, intestinal inflammation, laxative, lipid lowering effects, liver cancer, liver conditions, lung cancer, lung conditions, malnutrition, menstrual flow stimulant, muscle soreness, nasal congestion, neurological disorders, pancreatic cancer, paralysis, parasites, respiratory problems, sinus infection, skin disorders, snakebites, stimulant, stomach cancer, stomach disorders, stomach ulcer, sweating, throat cancer, tonic, warts.

DOSING

disclaimer: The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

Black seed capsules at a dose of 40 to 80 milligrams/kilogram have been used daily for the treatment of allergies.

Black seed oil has been taken by mouth and used on the skin for the treatment of allergies, arthritis, anxiety, bruises, cold symptoms, diarrhea, headache, high blood pressure, flu, muscle soreness, rheumatic disease, sinus infection, and stomach disorders.

Black seed oil has been used on the scalp for hair loss, on the skin for the treatment of fungal infections, rubbed on the back and chest for asthma and cough, massaged on the abdomen for colic, dripped in the ear for earache, and rubbed on the forehead and surrounding facial areas for treatment of headache.

The vapor of black seed oil has been inhaled for the treatment of acne, asthma, cough, and sinusitis.

Children (under 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for black seed and use in children is not recommended.

SAFETY

disclaimer: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

Avoid with a known allergy or sensitivity to black seed. Skin irritation may occur after use of black seed or black seed oil applied to the skin.

Side Effects and Warnings

Black seed is generally safe when taken by mouth in amounts found in foods.

Use cautiously in patients with immune disorders due to its effects on the immune system.

Avoid in patients who are trying to conceive or who are pregnant as black seed may prevent uterine contractions and conception.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Avoid in patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding or trying to conceive.

INTERACTIONS

disclaimer: Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

Black seed may inhibit conception and uterine contractions. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs used for fertility or to induce labor.

Black seed may have additive effects with antibiotics, drugs used to reduce inflammation, drugs used for parasites, drugs used for asthma, lipid lowering drugs, anti-cancer drugs, and drugs that affect the immune system.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Black seed may inhibit conception and uterine contractions. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements used for fertility or to induce labor.

Black seed may have additive effects with antioxidants, antibiotics, herbs and supplements used to reduce inflammation, herbs and supplements used for parasites, herbs and supplements used for asthma, lipid lowering herbs and supplements, anti-cancer herbs and supplements, and herbs and supplements that affect the immune system.

ATTRIBUTION

This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

  • Ali, BH and Blunden, G. Pharmacological and toxicological properties of Nigella sativa. Phytother Res. 2003;17(4):299-305. View abstract
  • Awad, EM. In vitro decreases of the fibrinolytic potential of cultured human fibrosarcoma cell line, HT1080, by Nigella sativa oil. Phytomedicine. 2005;12(1-2):100-107. View abstract
  • Farah, N, Benghuzzi, H, Tucci, M, et al. The effects of isolated antioxidants from black seed on the cellular metabolism of A549 cells. Biomed Sci Instrum. 2005;41:211-216. View abstract
  • Gali-Muhtasib, H, Roessner, A, and Schneider-Stock, R. Thymoquinone: a promising anti-cancer drug from natural sources. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2006;38(8):1249-1253. View abstract
  • Gali-Muhtasib, H, Diab-Assaf, M, Boltze, C, et al. Thymoquinone extracted from black seed triggers apoptotic cell death in human colorectal cancer cells via a p53-dependent mechanism. Int J Oncol. 2004;25(4):857-866. View abstract
  • Islam, SN, Begum, P, Ahsan, T, et al. Immunosuppressive and cytotoxic properties of Nigella sativa. Phytother Res. 2004;18(5):395-398. View abstract
  • Kalus, U, Pruss, A, Bystron, J, et al. Effect of Nigella sativa (black seed) on subjective feeling in patients with allergic diseases. Phytother Res. 2003;17(10):1209-1214. View abstract
  • Morsi, NM. Antimicrobial effect of crude extracts of Nigella sativa on multiple antibiotics-resistant bacteria. Acta Microbiol Pol. 2000;49(1):63-74. View abstract
  • Norwood, AA, Tucci, M, and Benghuzzi, H. A comparison of 5-fluorouracil and natural chemotherapeutic agents, EGCG and thymoquinone, delivered by sustained drug delivery on colon cancer cells. Biomed Sci Instrum. 2007;43:272-277. View abstract
  • Otoom, SA, Al Safi, SA, Kerem, ZK, et al. The use of medicinal herbs by diabetic Jordanian patients. J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;6(2):31-41. View abstract
  • Rooney, S and Ryan, MF. Effects of alpha-hederin and thymoquinone, constituents of Nigella sativa, on human cancer cell lines. Anticancer Res. 2005;25(3B):2199-2204. View abstract
  • Salem, ML. Immunomodulatory and therapeutic properties of the Nigella sativa L. seed. Int Immunopharmacol. 2005;5(13-14):1749-1770. View abstract
  • Steinmann, A, Schatzle, M, Agathos, M, et al. Allergic contact dermatitis from black cumin (Nigella sativa) oil after topical use. Contact Dermatitis 1997;36(5):268-269. View abstract
  • Suboh, SM, Bilto, YY, and Aburjai, TA. Protective effects of selected medicinal plants against protein degradation, lipid peroxidation and deformability loss of oxidatively stressed human erythrocytes. Phytother Res. 2004;18(4):280-284. View abstract
  • Thabrew, MI, Mitry, RR, Morsy, MA, et al. Cytotoxic effects of a decoction of Nigella sativa, Hemidesmus indicus and Smilax glabra on human hepatoma HepG2 cells. Life Sci. 8-5-2005;77(12):1319-1330. View abstract
disclaimer: Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2011 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions. disclaimer: While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy. disclaimer: The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)



Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
 
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