Nigella sativa (black seed) is an important medicinal herb. In many Arabian, Asian and African countries, black seed oil is used as a natural remedy for a wide range of diseases, including various allergies. The plant's mechanism of action is still largely unknown. Due to the lack of study data on its efficacy in allergies, four studies on the clinical efficacy of Nigella sativa in allergic diseases are presented. In these studies, a total of 152 patients with allergic diseases (allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, atopic eczema) were treated with Nigella sativa oil, given in capsules at a dose of 40 to 80 mg/kg/day. The patients scored the subjective severity of target symptoms using a predefined scale. The following laboratory parameters were investigated: IgE, eosinophil count, endogenous cortisol in plasma and urine, ACTH, triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol and lymphocyte subpopulations. The score of subjective feeling decreased over the course of treatment with black seed oil in all four studies. A slight decrease in plasma triglycerides and a discrete increase in HDL cholesterol occurred while the lymphocyte subpopulations, endogenous cortisol levels and ACTH release remained unchanged. Black seed oil therefore proved to be an effective adjuvant for the treatment of allergic diseases.
Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.