Background/aim: Previous studies on "Black seed" or "Black Cumin" Nigella sativa (NS) have reported a large number of pharmacological activities including its anti-ulcer potential. These studies employed either fixed oil, volatile oil components or different solvent extracts. In folkloric practices, NS seeds are taken as such, in the form of coarse dry powder or the powdered seeds are mixed with water. This study examines the effect of NS aqueous suspension on experimentally induced gastric ulcers and basal gastric secretion in rats to rationalize its use by herbal and Unani medicine practitioners.
Materials and methods: The study was conducted at the Medicinal, Aromatic and Poisonous Plants Research Center, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Acute gastric ulceration was produced by various noxious chemicals (80% ethanol, 0.2 M NaOH, 25% NaCl and indomethacin) in Wistar albino rats. Anti-secretory studies were undertaken in a separate group of rats. Gastric wall mucus contents and non-protein sulfhydryl concentration were estimated, and gastric tissue was examined histopathologically.
Results: An aqueous suspension of Black seed significantly prevented gastric ulcer formation induced by necrotizing agents. It also significantly ameliorated the ulcer severity and basal gastric acid secretion in pylorus-ligated Shay rats. Moreover, the suspension significantly replenished the ethanol-induced depleted gastric wall mucus content levels and gastric mucosal non-protein sulfhydryl concentration. The anti-ulcer effect was further confirmed histopathologically.
Conclusion: These findings validate the use of Black seed in gastropathies induced by necrotizing agents. The anti-ulcer effect of NS is possibly prostaglandin-mediated and/or through its antioxidant and anti-secretory activities.
Keywords: Habbatul-Barakah; Nigella sativa; gastric acid; stomach; ulcer.