Antioxidant activity of Nigella sativa essential oil

Phytother Res. 2000 Aug;14(5):323-8. doi: 10.1002/1099-1573(200008)14:5<323::aid-ptr621>;2-q.


The essential oil of black cumin seeds, Nigella sativa L., was tested for a possible antioxidant activity. A rapid evaluation for antioxidants, using two TLC screening methods, showed that thymoquinone and the components carvacrol, t-anethole and 4-terpineol demonstrated respectable radical scavenging property. These four constituents and the essential oil possessed variable antioxidant activity when tested in the diphenylpicrylhydracyl assay for non-specific hydrogen atom or electron donating activity. They were also effective.OH radical scavenging agents in the assay for non-enzymatic lipid peroxidation in liposomes and the deoxyribose degradation assay. GC-MS analysis of the essential oil obtained from six different samples of Nigella sativa seeds and from a commercial fixed oil showed that the qualitative composition of the volatile compounds was almost identical. Differences were mainly restricted to the quantitative composition.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apiaceae / chemistry*
  • Bepridil / analogs & derivatives
  • Bepridil / metabolism
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Cattle
  • Chlorides
  • Deoxyribose / metabolism
  • Ferric Compounds / metabolism
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Indicators and Reagents / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Liposomes / metabolism
  • Picrates*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Seeds / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Chlorides
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Free Radicals
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Liposomes
  • Picrates
  • Plant Oils
  • Deoxyribose
  • Bepridil
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl
  • ferric chloride