Nigella Sativa (black seed)

Nigella Sativa benefits.   More benefits!

Nigella sativa is one the most revered medicinal seeds in history. The best seeds come from Egypt where they grow under almost perfect conditions in oases where they are watered until the seed pods form. Black cumin seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. Though black cumin seeds are mentioned in the Bible as well as in the words of the Prophet Mohammed, they were not carefully researched until about forty years ago. Since this time, more than 200 studies have been conducted in universities.

The plant Nigella sativa,has been used for medical purposes for more than 2,000 years. Recent studies reported that thymoquinone (a component of Nigella sativa) exhibited inhibitory effects on cell proliferation of many cancer cell lines.

Nigella sativa has a rich composition of proteins, minerals, carbohydrates and fats. Almost all of its fat content is in the form of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids - which are very important for good overall health and a sound immune system. It also has around 15 amino acids, the building blocks of protein, 9 of which are the essential amino acids. It is most recognizably in Naan Bread.

"There is within the black seed a cure for every disease except death".

The nigella sativa seed is known by various names, including kalo jira, kalo jeera, kali jeera.

  • Black cumin
  • Black caraway
  • Black onion seed
  • Black seed
  • Fennel flower
  • Roman coriander
  • Kalonji

Other names mistakenly used are onion seed and black sesame, and although these look similar to nigella sativa, they are not the same seed.

Nigella sativa (lay overview)

Nigella sativa helps make chemo/radiation more effective and less damaging.

Thymoquinone (a component of Nigella Sativa) inhibited cell proliferation and suppressed the activation of AKT and extracellular signal-regulated kinase.

Nigella sativa (black seed oil)
Thymoquinone inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor–induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation but showed no inhibitory effects on vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 activation. Overall, our results indicate that thymoquinone inhibits tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth and could be used as a potential drug candidate for cancer therapy. [Mol Cancer Ther 2008;7(7):1789–96]

The pharmacological investigations of the seed extracts reveal a broad spectrum of activities including immunopotentiation (5) and antihistaminic (6), antidiabetic (7), anti-hypertensive (8), anti-inflammatory (9), and antimicrobial activities (10). Many of these activities have been attributed to the quinone constituents of the seed

Furthermore, blackseed preparations may have a cancer chemopreventive potential and may reduce the toxicity of standard antineoplastic drugs (13)

These results demonstrate either that the essential oil has an anti-metastatic activity in mice or that it inhibits or delays metastasis by rapid reduction of primary tumor volume at the site of induction.

On the other hand, to evaluate the side effects of these extracts, we tested their cytotoxicity toward normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Interestingly, only minimal cytotoxicity was observed for all extracts.

Nigella is considered a BRM because studies show extracts from the seeds are toxic to cancer cells and, in mice, prevent blood cell toxicity caused by the anti-cancer drug cisplatin.1 The active components of nigella seeds are the volatile oils thymoquinoline and dithymoquinone, both of which inhibit tumor cells in laboratory experiments—even tumor cells resistant to anti-cancer drugs.2

N. sativa was tested in volunteers with a low helper T-cell to suppressor T-cell ratio. The results indicated an increase in the helper T-cell population in the experimental group. Further, the helper T-cell to suppressor T-cell ratio increased while the ratio within the control groups remain the same.Nair et al. (1991) investigated the effects of N. sativa as potential protective agents against cisplatin-induced toxicity in mice. Some protective effects were shown by the use of N. sativa extracts.

N. sativa has been found to be most effective when administered at a dosage of 30 g per day, with an effective range of 20-40 g per day.

Nigella also stimulates the immune system, as shown in an experiment conducted with human lymphocytic white blood cells. Cells treated with nigella-seed proteins produced greater amounts of cytokines, specifically interleukin-1-beta and tumor necrosis factor alpha.4 How and if this is important to treating cancer is not yet established.

long list of nigella sativa research

Nutritional value, functional properties and nutraceutical applications of black cumin (nigella sativa) (need full text)

Thymoquinone, a component derived from the medial plant Nigella sativa, has been used for medical purposes for more than 2,000 years. Recent studies reported that thymoquinone exhibited inhibitory effects on cell proliferation of many cancer cell lines.

low toxicity:

The pharmacological actions of the crude extracts of the seeds (and some of its active constituents, e.g. volatile oil and thymoquinone) that have been reported include protection against nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity induced by either disease or chemicals. The seeds/oil have antiinflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, antimicrobial and antineoplastic activity. The oil decreases blood pressure and increases respiration. Treatment of rats with the seed extract for up to 12 weeks has been reported to induce changes in the haemogram that include an
increase in both the packed cell volume (PCV) and haemoglobin (Hb), and a decrease in plasma concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose.

The seeds are characterized by a very low degree of toxicity.

Restriction of tyrosine (Tyr) and phenylalanine (Phe) inhibited growth and metastasis of B16BL6 murine melanoma and arrested these cells in the G0-G1 phase of the cell cycle.

The natural tyrosine kinase inhibitor Genistein produces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in Jurkat T-leukemia cells.

Current medical research is focused on finding a patentable way to harness the benefits of Thymoquinone separate from the nigella sativa seeds. It is cheap to purchase Black seeds (nigella sativa) at any Middle Eastern or Indian store. (maybe call first). It will be called either black seed or habbat-ul-baraka or kalonji (Indian stores).They look similar to sesame seeds but black and they taste cumin(ish), or you could see if they have the oil. NOT black sesame seeds though. Must be nigella sativa (latin name).

I found them locally, easily by calling around to a Middle Eastern grocery. About $5 for a month supply. You could order from also, if you can wait it's better to do that. Their black seed oil is cold pressed, pure and you can get caps as well if you don't want to do oil/seeds. The taste is quite strong and many chase it with a spoonful of honey.

Why use organic, cold-pressed black seed oil. Cold Pressed & Solvent Free costs a bit more, but there is a huge debate about the risks associated with solvents in the processing.

We take a tablespoon a day, for anything acute. Or for chronic conditions, I'd take 2 tablespoons a day for a while. The actual black seeds can easily be used similarly to sesame seeds when baking breads, or in salads, or use in cooking as a spicy/peppery flavored herb.

Caution: nigella sativa is often confused with black sesame seeds. They are different seeds. You want Nigella Sativa, black cumin seeds.

And more about the medical benefits of Nigella Sativa from GreenMedInfo!

Nigella sativa (Black seed) helps slow or prevent many cancers:
   1. lung:
   2. colon:
   3. breast:
   4. pancreatic:
   5. prostate:
   6. leukemia:
   7. Dalton's lymphoma:
   8. liver:


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Load Previous Comments
  • Pat Robinson

    I had read that 1-2 teaspoons a day is the "normal" consumption. I add the black seeds to everything. They are peppery. My dh takes them in a capsule. You can buy the gelatin caps and encapsulate them also. But, I toss them in smoothies, side dishes, salads, meats, sauces, etc.


  • Binbin

    Yippee, just ordered some online and looking forward to adding them to my list of daily essentials!

  • Megan O

    what dosage would be appropriate for a 2 year old and a 5 five year old?  both of my kids have life-threatening food allergies. They are both on a grain-free, sugar- free (except fruit and honey) dairy free (except organic grass-fed butter), preservative-free, chemical-free diet.  My son is anaphylactic to eggs, and my daughter is allergic to coconut, treenuts, and peanuts. I would give anything to heal them of these allergies. normally, i would just give them both some seeds in their daily smoothies, but since n. sativa is mildly toxic, i need some guidance. also, if this boosts the immune system in a way similar to echinacea as one of the links above states, is daily use appropriate, or should i do several weeks on and several weeks off?  please help, anyone with experience with children and this seed, if you can. thanks in advance for your time.