Black Seed Oil for Inflammatory Diseases
Black seed oil has potent anti-inflammatory effects, its benefit for a range of inflammatory diseases is well recognised
In many diseases both acute and chronic it is inflammation that causes damage to tissues. Nigella sativa seeds, black seed oil and oil extracts have demonstrated a range of anti inflammatory effects. The main action of black seed oil is due to the inhibitory effects on inflammatory mediators and cells.
In many diseases inflammation results in damage to the body.
One of the major pro-inflammatory signalling proteins in the body is called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). Thymoquinone is an extract of Nigella sativa which has been shown to reduce production of TNF-alpha in response to inflammatory stimuli.[i]
Certain cells within the body are specifically designed to induce inflammation though the production signalling molecules. Nigella sativa fixed oils and extract thymoquinone have been found to inhibit the production of eicosanoids and the process of lipid peroxidation both of which mediate inflammation. These pharmacological properties of the oil support the traditional use of N. sativa and its derived products as a treatment for rheumatism and related inflammatory diseases.[ii]
Inflammation can also occur in many solid cancers like pancreatic cancer. Thymoquinone has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of inflammation in pancreatic cancer cells again by reducing the action of TNFalpha[iii]
Osteoporosis is a disease of bone thinning which has been linked to oxidative stress and inflammation. The effect of N. sativa and its extract Thymoquinone on modulating the immune response by inhibiting inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1 and 6 and the transcription factor, nuclear factor κB have shown promise in its potential as anti-osteoporotic agent. [vi]
Anti-allergy actions of black seed oil and extracts
Allergies are another group of conditions in which inflammation is the main pathological mechanisms. In allergic reactions interleukins 5 and 13 (IL-5 and IL-13) play key roles in recruiting specific inflammatory cells.[iv] Thymoquinone, extract of N. sativa, has been shown to inhibit IL-5 and IL-13 mRNA expression and protein production.
Clinical anti-inflammatory effects of N. sativa oil have been demonstrated in a prospective and double blind trial of patients with allergic rhinitis. The results of the trial show that N. sativa reduces the presence of the nasal mucosal congestion, nasal itching, runny nose, sneezing attacks, turbinate hypertrophy, and mucosal pallor after two weeks of treatment. [v]
Nigella sativa black seed oil is clinically beneficial for patients with allergic rhinitis
[i] El Gazzar MA, El Mezayen R, Nicolls MR, Dreskin SC. Thymoquinone attenuates proinflammatory responses in lipopolysaccharide-activated mast cells by modulating NF-kappaB nuclear transactivation. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Apr;1770(4):556-64.
[ii] Houghton PJ, et al. Fixed oil of Nigella sativa and derived thymoquinone inhibit eicosanoid generation in leukocytes and membrane lipid peroxidation. Planta Med. 1995 Feb;61(1):33-6.
[iii] Chehl N, Chipitsyna G, Gong Q, Yeo CJ, Arafat HA. Anti-inflammatory effects of the Nigella sativa seed extract, thymoquinone, in pancreatic cancer cells. HPB (Oxford). 2009 Aug;11(5):373-81.
[iv] El Gazzar MA. Thymoquinone suppressses in vitro production of IL-5 and IL-13 by mast cells in response to lipopolysaccharide stimulation. Inflamm Res. 2007 Aug;56(8):345-51.
[v] Nikakhlagh S, Rahim F, Aryani FH, Syahpoush A, Brougerdnya MG, Saki N. Herbal treatment of allergic rhinitis: the Nigella sativa. Am J Otolaryngol 2011; 32(5): 402-407.
[vi] Shuid AN, Mohamed N, Mohamed IN, Othman F, Suhaimi F, Mohd Ramli ES, Muhammad N, Soelaiman IN. Nigella sativa: A Potential Antiosteoporotic Agent. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012():696230.