What is in black seed oil?

Black seed (Nigella sativa) oil – composition and chemical makeup 

Nutritionally the Nigella sativa seed is comprised of approximately 21% protein, 35% carbohydrates and 35-38% fats (varies from country to country). It also contains numerous vitamins, mineral elements, and trace elements.

Chemical analysis has further revealed that the black seed (Nigella sativa) contains many different compounds make up each of the above groups (see below).

nigellas-seed-thymoquinone
Amazing insight into the wonderful Nigella sativa black seed

The protein content of the black seed (Nigella sativa) is comprised of fifteen different amino acids, including eight of the nine essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be synthesised in our body in sufficient quantities and are thus derived entirely from our diet.

Black seed oil is particularly rich in unsaturated and essential fatty acids (Linoleic and Linolenic acid) alpha-Linolenic acid (omega-3) and Linoleic acid (omega-6), are substances that cannot be produced in the body, and thus must be taken consumed.

The black seed oil is also a source of calcium, iron, sodium, and potassium. Required only in small amounts by the body, these trace elements’ are essential for various enzyme functions.

Detailed breakdown of what is in black seed oil

Table I. Chromatographic analysis of composition of the fixed black seed oil 

Fatty acid

Percentage

Lauric acid

0.6

Myristic acid

0.5

Palmitic acid

12.5

Stearic acid

3.4

Oleic acid

23.4

Linoleic acid

55.6

Linolenic acid

0.4

Eicosadienoic acid

3.1

 

Non-terpenoid hydrocarbons

Percentage

n-Nonane

1.7

3-Methyl nonane

0.3

1,3,5-Trimethyl benzene

0.5

n-Decane

0.4

1-Methyl-3-propyl benzene

0.5

1-Ethyl-2,3-dimethyl benzene

0.2

n-Tetradecane

0.2

n-Hexadecane

0.2

 

Mono-terpenoid hydrocarbons

Percentage = 26.9

α-Thujene

2.4

α-Pinene

1.2

Sabinene

1.4

-Pinene

1.3

Myrcene

0.4

α-Phellandrene

0.6

p-Cymene

14.8

Limonene

4.3

γ-Terpinene

0.5

 

Mono-terpenoid ketones

Percentage = 6

Fenchone

1.1

Dihydrocarvone

0.3

Carvone

4.0

Thymoquinone

0.6

 

Mono-terpenoid -ols

Percentage = 2.7

Terpinen-4-ol

0.7

p-Cymene-8-ol

0.4

Carvacrol

1.6

 

Sesquiterpenoid hydrocarbones

Percentage = 1.0

α-Longipinene

0.3

Longifolene 1408 0.7

0.7

 

Phenyl propanoid compounds

Percentage = 46.1

Estragole

1.9

Anisaldehyde

1.7

trans-Anethole

38.3

Myristicin

1.4

Dill apiole

1.8

 

Thymoquinone (chemical structure)
(a) Nigella sativa seeds (black seeds) (b) The chemical structure of thymoquinone (2-isopropyl-5-methyl-1,4-benzoquinone)
Image from: Majed M. AbuKhader. Thymoquinone in the clinical treatment of cancer: Fact or fiction? Pharmacogn Rev. 2013 Jul-Dec; 7(14): 117–120.

Nigella sativa has been renowned in traditional holistic medicine systems for over 2000 years. It has remarkable antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, bronchodilatory, hypotensive, immunopotentiating and anti-cancer properties