Black Seed Oil Benefits (Nigella sativa)
Medicinal plants have been used for curing diseases for many centuries in different systems of medicine. They have been used to prepare herbal medicines that exert therapeutic properties with fewer side-effects when compared to their allopathic (pharmaceutical drugs) counterparts. Nowadays, researchers are focusing on the therapeutic benefits of plant based medicines which have been poorly researched and understood in the past by researchers in modern times. Plant or herbal medicines have not been well researched in terms of their therapeutic properties, side effects, and mechanisms of action. One, extremely beneficial plant medicine is black seed (Nigella sativa). Black seed has many health benefits and has not been given the due attention it deserves by those in the frontiers of health and medicine. I will set out in this article to explain briefly it’s history, characteristics and therapeutic uses. This will be followed by a series of detailed articles around it’s history, characteristics, active constituents and therapeutic uses.
Black seed (Nigella sativa) belongs to the ranunculaceae family and is rapidly becoming a miracle plant especially in the western world. With a rich historical and religious link, this plant has a wide spectrum of pharmacological properties (1). N.sativa is native to Southern Europe, North Africa and South West Asia. The seed and oil of N.sativa have been widely used for centuries in the treatment of many ailments and is an important medicine used in the Asian and Middle Eastern systems of medicine (Ayurveda and Unani) (2, 9). For Muslims, it is considered one of the most important medicines for healing along with honey; this is due to the prophetic narrations of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that black seed (N.sativa) is a cure for all diseases except death (3).
Properties of Black Seed (Nigella sativa)
Black seed has been well studied showing multi-faceted therapeutic benefits and effects on the biological systems of the human body. It works as a diuretic, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, anticancer, immunomodulator, analgesic, antimicrobial, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic (stops muscle spasm), bronchodilator (opens up airways in lungs), gastroprotective (protects stomach), hepatoprotective (protects the liver), renal protective (protect the kidney) and has antioxidant properties (4-9).
Major Active Constituents of Black Seed (Nigella sativa)
Thymoquinone (TQ) is the major active chemical component of the essential oil along with the following constituents detailed below:thymoquinone (30%-48%), thymohydroquinone, dithymoquinone, p-cymene (7%-15%), carvacrol (6%-12%), 4-terpineol (2%-7%), t-anethol (1%-4%), sesquiterpene longifolene (1%-8%) α-pinene and thymol
Black seed has been used for many different ailments owing to it’s wide spectrum of activity. This wide spectrum of activity gives this plant the ability to treat numerous ailments and so the versatility of black seed is not to be under estimated. Black seed has been used in the treatment of bronchitis, asthma, diarrhoea, rheumatism and skin disorders. It is also used as a liver tonic, digestive, anti-diarrhoeal, appetite stimulant, emmenagogue to increase milk production in nursing mothers, to fight parasitic infections and to support the immune system (4, 9).
As you are now aware that black seed and it’s oil possess numerous benefits for the human body, my forthcoming articles will discuss the details of this important plant, and its highly beneficial uses for the prevention and treatment of many ailments.
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To your good health and wellness.
 Khare CP. Encyclopedia of Indian medicinal plants. NewYork: Springes-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg; 2004.  Sharma PC,Yelne MB, Dennis TJ. Database on medicinal plants used in Ayurveda. New Delhi; 2005, p. 420-440  Al-Bukhari MI. In: Sahi Al-Bukhari, editor. The collection of authentic sayings of prophet mohammad (peace be upon him), division 71 on medicine. 2nd ed. Ankara: Hilal Yayinlari; 1976.  Abel-Salam BK. Immunomodulatory effects of black seeds and garlic on alloxan-induced diabetes in albino rat. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr) 2012; 40(6): 336-340.  Khaled AAS. Gastroprotective effects of Nigella Sativa oil on the formation of stress gastritis in hypothyroidal rats. Int J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol 2009; 1: 143-149.  Assayed ME. Radioprotective effects of black seed (Nigella sativa) oil against hemopoietic damage and immunosuppression in gamma-irradiated rats. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol 2010; 32(2): 284-296.  Abdel-Zaher AO, Abdel-Rahman MS, Elwasei FM. Protective effect of Nigella sativa oil against tramadol-induced tolerance 350 Aftab Ahmad et al./Asian Pac J Trop Biomed 2013; 3(5): 337-352 and dependence in mice: role of nitric oxide and oxidative stress. Neurotoxicology 2011; 32(6): 725-733.  Boskabady MH, Mohsenpoor N, Takaloo L. Antiasthmatic effect of Nigella sativa in airways of asthmatic patients. Phytomedicine 2010; 17(10): 707-713.  Goreja WG. Black seed: nature’s miracle remedy. New York, NY 7 Amazing Herbs Press; 2003.