Nigella sativa is a flowering plant, native to south and southwest Asia. The plant has various names including, fennel flower, nutmeg flower, black caraway, Roman coriander, and black cumin. People should note that this spice should not be confused with another plant also named black cumin with the Latin name of Bunium bulbocastanum. The flowers of Nigella sativa are delicate and usually colored pale blue and white, with five to ten petals. Nigella sativa has a strong bitter taste and smell and is widely used primarily in confectionery and liquors.
Here are the 7 health benefits of black cumin.
1. Black cumin helps individuals with asthma.
A study published in Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology in 2007 suggested that Nigella sativa may help ease symptoms of asthma. The researchers had 29 adults with asthma took either a placebo or a Nigella sativa extract daily for three months. The results showed that individuals treated with Nigella sativa had significantly greater improvements in the occurrence and severity of asthma symptoms.
2. Black cumin may help people with high blood pressure.
Research published in Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology in 2008 concluded that Nigella sativa might help individuals keep their blood pressure in check, decreasing they risk for hypertension. Patients with mild hypertension had a greater reduction in blood pressure, compared to those assigned to a placebo supplement, after eight weeks of twice-daily treatment with the Nigella sativa extract.
3. Black cumin may help prevent pancreatic cancer.
A study published in HPB reported that Nigella sativa might help hinder the development of pancreatic cancer. The researchers found that an essential component in Nigella sativa called thymoquinone significantly reduced levels of inflammatory inducing compounds found in pancreatic tumors.
4. Black cumin may help people with allergic reactions.
Allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the nose) is the most common chronic and allergic disease, especially in children. A study published in theJournal of Ethnopharmacology reported that Nigella sativa possesses anti-allergic effects and “should be considered for treating allergic rhinitis when the effects of other antiallergic drugs need to be avoided.”
5. Black cumin may help individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Nigella sativa has the potential to be used for type 2 diabetic patients to reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar levels.
6. Black cumin may help individuals for better memory.
A study in 2013 recruited 40 elderly volunteers and divided them randomly into two groups of 20. The two groups were given either 500 mg Nigella sativa capsule twice daily for nine weeks or a placebo. All the volunteers were assessed for cognitive improvement and safety profile twice before treatment and after nine weeks. Individuals who took the Nigella sativa supplement scored better on each of the tests, suggesting the role in enhancing memory, attention, and cognition Nigella sativa has.
7. Black cumin possesses benefits for women in menopause.
A study in 2013 suggested that Nigella sativa could maintain a protective effect by improving lipid profile of total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and blood glucose, which are at higher risk to be elevated during the menopausal period.
- Boskabady, M. H., Javan, H., Sajady, M., & Rakhshandeh, H. (2007). The possible prophylactic effect of Nigella sativa seed extract in asthmatic patients. Fundamental & clinical pharmacology, 21(5), 559-566.
- Dehkordi, F. R., & Kamkhah, A. F. (2008). Antihypertensive effect of Nigella sativa seed extract in patients with mild hypertension. Fundamental & clinical pharmacology, 22(4), 447-452.
- Chehl, N., Chipitsyna, G., Gong, Q., Yeo, C. J., & Arafat, H. A. (2009). Anti‐inflammatory effects of the Nigella sativa seed extract, thymoquinone, in pancreatic cancer cells. HPB, 11(5), 373-381.
- Sayeed, M. S. B., Asaduzzaman, M., Morshed, H., Hossain, M. M., Kadir, M. F., & Rahman, M. R. (2013). The effect of Nigella sativa Linn. seed on memory, attention and cognition in healthy human volunteers. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 148(3), 780-786.
- Ibrahim, R. M., Hamdan, N. S., Ismail, M., Saini, S. M., Rashid, S. N. A., Latiff, L. A., & Mahmud, R. (2014). Protective effects of Nigella sativa on metabolic syndrome in menopausal women. Advanced pharmaceutical bulletin, 4(1), 29.
- Bamosa, A. O., Kaatabi, H., Lebda, F. M., Elq, A. M. A., & Al-Sultan, A. (2010). Effect of Nigella sativa seeds on the glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
- Nikakhlagh, S., Rahim, F., Aryani, F. H. N., Syahpoush, A., Brougerdnya, M. G., & Saki, N. (2011). Herbal treatment of allergic rhinitis: the use of Nigella sativa. American journal of otolaryngology, 32(5), 402-407.
Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 20, 2014
Last updated: June 10, 2016
Was this article helpful?