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Black seed (Nigella sativa)

Alternate Title

  • Nigella sativa

Related Terms

  • Ajenuz, alanine, alkaloids, alpha-hederin, alpha-spinasterol, arachidonic acid protein, aranuel, arginine, ascorbic acid, asparagine, Baraka, beta-sitosterol, black caraway, black cumin, black cumin seed, black onion seed, blackseed, blessed seed, calcium, campesterol, carvacrol, carvone, charnushka (Russian), citronellol, cominho negro, cominho-negro dicotyledon, copper, corek otu (Turkish), cymene, crude fiber, crystalline nigellone, cymene, cystine, d-limonene, dehydroascorbic acid, dihomolinoleic acid, dithymoquinone, eicosadienoic acid, fennel flower, fennel-flower, fitch, folacin, glucose, glutamic acid, glycine, habbah Albarakah, Habbatul Baraka, hazak (Hebrew), iron, isoleucine, kalonji (Hindi), leucine, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, lipase, love in the mist, lysine, melanin, methionine, myristic acid, nigella, Nigella damascene L., Nigella sativa, Nigella suava L., Nigelle de Crete, nigellicin, nigellidin, nigellimin, nigellimin-N-oxide, nigellin, nigellone, niacin, nutmeg flower, nutmeg-flower, oleic acid, palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, pentacyclic triterpene, phenylalanine, phosphorus, phytosterols, potassium, pyridoxine, Ranunculaceae (family), riboflavin, Roman coriander, saponin, Schwarzkummel, seeds of blessing, siyah daneh (Persian), sodium, stearic acid, stigmasterol, tannin, terpine, terpineol, threonine, thymohydroquinone, thymol, thymoquinone, toute epice, TQ, tryptophan, tyrosine, zinc.

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

    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.

    A A – A


    C C – C

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    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.

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 ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

  • Ali, BH and Blunden, G. Pharmacological and toxicological properties of Nigella sativa. Phytother Res. 2003;17(4):299-305.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Islam, SN, Begum, P, Ahsan, T, et al. Immunosuppressive and cytotoxic properties of Nigella sativa. Phytother Res. 2004;18(5):395-398.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Salem, ML. Immunomodulatory and therapeutic properties of the Nigella sativa L. seed. Int Immunopharmacol. 2005;5(13-14):1749-1770.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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