Black seed

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Nigella sativa (black cumin or black seed) is a medicinal spice that appears to be active in the dose used to season food products. It has a potent bioactive known as thymoquinone which shows promise in treating epilepsy, allergies, and boosting immunity.

Black seed is most often used for


When looking at the human evidence in particular, nigella sativa appears to have a general health protective effect of a very small magnitude. It is able to reduce triglycerides and glucose when elevated and can normalize cholesterol metabolism (although not HDL-C) as well, but the amount of benefit it confers is too small for it to be considered a good intervention. It's also modestly effective as a general anti-inflammatory agent and may be useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Nigella sativa shows more promise as an immune booster (no evidence on rates of sickness, but it seems to increase the ability of macrophages to attack invaders) and an anti-allergic compound (with efficacy against allergic rhinitis, asthma, and eczema). One study that used nigella sativa alongside a proton pump inhibitor noted that the seed extract was potently anti-bacterial against helicobacter pylori with a comparable potency to the reference drugs used.

Lastly, in men with central obesity, the seeds were noted to greatly improve symptoms of obesity, such as loss of libido, forgetfulness, high appetite, aches and arthalgia, sleeplessness, and laziness. But further evidence is needed to confirm these effects.

What else is Black seed known as?
Note that Black seed is also known as:
  • Nigella Cretica
  • Black Cumin
  • Black Seeds
  • Roman Coriander
  • Nutmeg Flower
  • Fennel Flower
  • Ajaji
  • Nigella Sativa
Black seed should not be confused with:
Dosage information

Studies generally have the participants supplement with the seeds of nigella sativa, either a seed extract (a crushed powder of the seeds with no further processing or concentration) or seed oil, in the form of a capsule. The most common dosage is 1–3 grams per day.

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