Black Seed Oil for Asthma
Black seed (Nigella sativa) extracts have been demonstrated to have muscle relaxant, anti-cholinergic, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine effects on guinea-pig tracheas in lab studies. [i] [ii] These effects are beneficial at targeting the underling disease mechanisms in asthma.
Studies are now looking at the clinical effects of black seed and its extracts on patients with asthma and are producing promising results.
We summarise a study which studied the prophylactic effect of boiled extract of Nigella sativa seeds on asthmatic adults [iii] The participants were randomly divided into control group (14 patients) and Nigella sativa group (15 patients). The Nigella sativa group was given a daily dose of a boiled extract of black seeds and the control group was given a daily placebo solution.
The study was conducted over 3 months. Asthma symptom score, asthma severity, frequency of symptoms/week and wheezing were recorded in the beginning (first visit), 45 days after treatment (second visit), and at the end of the study (third visit). Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) were also measured, and the drug regimen of the patients was evaluated.
All asthma symptoms, frequency of asthma symptoms/week, chest wheezing, and PFT values in the Nigella sativa group significantly improved in the second and third visits compared with the first visit. By the third visit the asthma symptoms in the Nigella sativa group had significantly improved compared to the control group.
The usage of inhaler and oral beta-agonists, oral corticosteroid, oral theophylline and even inhaler corticosteroid in the study group decreased at the end of the study while there were no obvious changes in usage of the drugs in control subjects.
The results of this phase 1 study suggest a significant prophylactic effect of Nigella sativa on asthma disease and indicate that it warrants further research regarding this effect.
[i] Keyhanmanesh R, et al. The Relaxant Effects of Different Methanolic Fractions of Nigella sativa on Guinea Pig Tracheal Chains. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2013 Feb;16(2):123-8.
[ii] Keyhanmanesh R et al. The effect of single dose of thymoquinone, the main constituents of Nigella sativa, in guinea pig model of asthma. Bioimpacts. 2014;4(2):75-81.
[iii] Boskabady MH, et al. The possible prophylactic effect of Nigella sativa seed extract in asthmatic patients. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Feb;22(1):105.