Whether you call it nigella sativa, black cumin, or black coriander it has been recognized for thousands of years as a popular medicinal herb.
Nigella sativa is the scientific name for a plant that is grown and found throughout the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. It is coveted for the little black seeds found on the plant and is also known as black cumin or black coriander.
The Greeks called it melanthion, the “little black seed,” and it was widely used in ancient Greek medicine. Hippocrates, of Hippocratic oath fame, you know that oath that each doctor must take, and Galen, a historically renowned Greek physician that was the doctor to several emperors all used this in their patients when it was appropriate.
It is mentioned in the Bible at least twice (Isaiah 28:27; Matthew 23:23) and the prophet Muhammad said this about it… “In the black cumin, there is a cure for every disease except death.” This led to it being used in Islamic pharmacopeia for centuries and to it being named the “seed of blessing” in Arabic. Nigella sativa has also been found in medical literature from Egypt, India, and Turkey.[i]
There is mounting evidence that the use of nigella sativa against virus’ seems to be effective.[ii] One study out of Egypt suggests that it is effective in reducing the viral load associated with hepatitis C virus.[iii] Further, there were several studies that showed Black cumin reduced the viral load in HIV patients.[iv] The antiviral effects along with black cumin’s ability to act as a zinc ionophore[v], which means it helps zinc get into our cells in order for zinc to wreak havoc on the virus, make it a great natural option when fighting against a virus whether that is the flu, a cold or corona.
Here Are 10 Conditions Nigella Sativa Can Help Fight Against:
1. Fight against Infection
Infection is the result of the invasion of a variety of microorganism in our body compartment. Infection can be bacterial, viral or fungal. Surprisingly, Nigella sativa oil possesses strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is highly substantial that research study findings reported that the antibacterial effect of Nigella sativa oil is effective to control some of the multiple resistance bacterial infection.
Researchers also investigated the anti-fungal activity of Nigella sativa, and the study results showed that strong anti-fungal activity of Nigella sativa oil is effective against multiple fungal infections.
The potent anti-parasitic effect of Nigella sativa oil is effective against Schistosoma mansoni. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 200 million people worldwide have schistosomiasis which is one of the most critical parasitic infections.
Preclinical research study reported a combination of garlic extract and Nigella sativa oil can be effective to improve hematological and biochemical parameters by inducing oxidative stress against adult worms due to biocidal effects against Schistosoma mansoni induce infection.
2. Fight against diabetes
National Diabetes Statistics Report of 2017 declared that the estimated number of diabetic patients globally has reached up to 30.3 million. Therefore, diabetes becomes a highly prevalent condition and can affect any age group.
In this condition, prevention is one of the best ways to reduce the number of incidences. Daily intake of Nigella sativa oil can help to accomplish this drive. Nigella sativa can improve glucose tolerance by emphasizing glucose-induced insulin secretion and also decrease the rate of glucose absorption in the bloodstream from the intestinal mucosa.
In 2010, a clinical research study showed daily intake of Nigella sativa oil along with prescribed anti-diabetic medication can cause significant reduction of both fasting and postprandial blood glucose level by improving glycemic control in the diabetic patient.
The outcome of this led to better control in glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c). All these outcomes are significantly beneficial for the diabetic patient.
3. Fight against cancer
All of us are aware of cancer and its outcome. Every individual possesses some fear in their mind due to the increasing trend of cancer prevalence. Several types of research conducted various researchers to check the efficacy of Nigella sativa oil against cancer and the study findings recommended that Nigella sativa oil caused cell death (apoptosis) in 24 hours.
Thymoquinone present in Nigella sativa oil is effective to inhibit tumor formation and suppress tumor growth by inhibiting angiogenesis. It suppresses nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) and further promotes apoptosis (death of cells).
In addition, Nigella sativa has cancer cell-specific cytotoxic effect and promotes apoptosis by regulating antigen-specific T cell activity. A wide range of organ-specific cancer protection including colon cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer can be obtained by daily intake of Nigella sativa oil.
The potent antioxidant effect and presence of Thymoquinone are the most important therapeutic potential that Nigella sativa possess.
4. Fight against inflammation and reduce associated pain
Inflammation and related pain are very common in our daily health problems. Several chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, different allergic conditions including allergic rhinitis have a negative impact on quality of life of the affected individual.
The cancer progression is also related to internal inflammation. Nigella sativa oil has significant anti-inflammatory effect as it follows multiple inhibitory pathways like reduction of prostaglandin release and synthesis of interleukins, TNF- alpha and blocking cyclooxygenase pathway.
By following these pathways, Nigella sativa not only reduces inflammation but also acts as an analgesic in the related condition. Moreover, Nigella sativa provides symptomatic relief from allergic rhinitis by reducing nasal itching, nasal mucosal congestion, runny nose, sneezing attacks, etc.
5. Fight against cardiovascular diseases
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an antioxidant enzyme present in our body. Environmental pollution is often a cause of cardiac insufficiency.
The environmental pollutants decrease SOD activity and increase the oxidative stress. In addition, reduction of systolic blood pressure, increase the concentration of interleukins leads to inflammation and pollutant rich blood causes platelet aggregation.
All these phenomena provide a negative impact on the cardiac system. The potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Nigella sativa oil improve SOD functioning, decrease interleukins level, rectify blood pressure level, and decrease prothrombotic events and platelets number, which recovers cardiac functioning.
However, Nigella sativa cannot prevent platelet aggregation or plaque formation.
6. Fight against gastro-intestinal conditions
Ulcer formation in the gastrointestinal tract is one of the common health issues. Nigella sativa containing thymoquinone is considered as a novel gastro-protective natural therapeutic agent because this herbal remedy has an inhibitory effect against acid secretion, proton pump, and neutrophil infiltration.
Besides these, Nigella sativa enhances mucin secretion and nitric oxide production. Therefore, Nigella sativa can provide a safeguard against excessive gastric acid secretion and the related consequences. In addition, the anti-microbial effect of Nigella sativa can also control H. pylori-induced ulcer formation. Therefore, individuals having higher risk can incorporate Nigella sativa oil in their daily diet to obtain natural ulcer protection.
7. Fight against liver diseases
The liver is one of the most important accessory gastrointestinal organs to detoxify our body. Chronic exposure to multiple metabolic toxins often harms liver functioning by inducing oxidative stress and leads to lipid peroxidation level.
Increasing toxic load in the liver often causes hepatic ischemia. This condition can be prevented by regular intake of Nigella sativa oil. It can provide antioxidant effect and reduce lipid peroxidation rate, and also improve anti-oxidative enzyme activity for restoring liver functioning.
8. Fight against kidney problem
The kidney is a primary renal organ which is involved in blood purification. Kidney problem can appear due to an intrinsic deficient control of renal transportation of organic anion and cation. A sufficient thymoquinone concentration in Nigella sativa oil can regulate renal expression of anion and cation transporters. The researchers examined that Nigella sativa has a protective effect against ischemia-perfusion induced kidney tissue injury.
Daily intake of Nigella sativa supplement can control blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine level and reduce the risk of kidney damage.
9. Fight against asthma and related pulmonary conditions
The enlargement of respiratory tract due to inflammatory condition leads to narrowing of the air passage is the main pathophysiology involved in the development of asthma. Asthma is a chronic pulmonary condition that can be developed at any age. However, childhood asthma is a major health concern nowadays.
Wheezing is a common symptom that occurs in respiratory condition due to insufficient pulmonary functioning. Nigella sativa can improve pulmonary functioning due to its bronchodilatory effect. The outcome of this can cause improvement of asthma symptom score, decrease asthma severity, reduce the frequency of symptoms including wheezing. In addition, allergic pulmonary symptoms can also be treated with Nigella sativa due to its anti-histaminic effect.
10. Fight against neurological problems
Anxiety and mood swing due to the over-stressed condition are different mental health issues that we regularly face but chronic anxiety gradually induces several neurological problems by irregular neurotransmitter release. The outcome of this leads to a reduction of cognitive functioning.
Pretreatment with Nigella sativa induces GABA-ergic condition and provide anxiolytic effects. The potent antioxidant activity of Nigella sativa can decrease oxidative stress in brain intracellular by decreasing glutathione peroxidase activity and glutathione level due to its potent antioxidant property. Both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Nigella sativa provides neuroprotective effect against the cerebral ischemic condition.
Seizure associated neurological problems often induce convulsion. The potent antioxidant property of Nigella sativa oil can restore Na+, K+-ATPase activity in the hippocampus and reduce oxidative stress burden in the brain.
Nigella sativa, black seed, black cumin, or black coriander – whatever you choose to call it – is not a meager spice. This powerful healing agent has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
[i] Maideen, N., Prophetic Medicine-Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin Seeds) – Potential Herb for COVID-19?, Journal of Pharmacopuncture, 6-8-20; p 62 – 70.
[ii] Barakat EM, El Wakeel LM, Hagag RS. Effects of Nigella sativa on outcome of hepatitis C in Egypt. World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Apr 28;19(16):2529-36.
[iii] Barakat EM, El Wakeel LM, Hagag RS. Effects of Nigella sativa on outcome of hepatitis C in Egypt. World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Apr 28;19(16):2529-36.
[iv] Maideen, N., Prophetic Medicine-Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin Seeds) – Potential Herb for COVID-19?, Journal of Pharmacopuncture, 6-8-20; p 62 – 70.
[v] Rahman, M., Potential Benefits of Combination of Nigella Sativa and Zn Supplements to treat COVID-19, Journal of Herbal Medicine, 6-22-2020; 1-6.