Background/aim: A large number of diseases are ascribed to Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), particularly chronic active gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. Successful treatment of H. pylori infection with antimicrobial agents can lead to regression of H. pylori-associated disorders. Antibiotic resistance against H. pylori is increasing, and it is necessary to find new effective agents. Nigella sativa seed (NS), a commonly used herb, possesses in vitro anti-helicobacter activity. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of NS in eradication of H. pylori infection in non-ulcer dyspeptic patients.
Materials and methods: The study was conducted on 88 adult patients attending King Fahd Hospital of the University, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, from 2007 to 2008, with dyspeptic symptoms and found positive for H. pylori infection by histopathology and urease test. Patients were randomly assigned to four groups, receiving i) triple therapy (TT) comprising of clarithromycin, amoxicillin, omeprazole [n= 23], ii) 1 g NS + 40 mg omeprazole (OM) [n= 21], iii) 2 g NS + OM [n= 21] or iv) 3 g NS + OM [n= 23]. Negative H. pylori stool antigen test four weeks after end of treatment was considered as eradication.
Results: H. pylori eradication was 82.6, 47.6, 66.7 and 47.8% with TT, 1 g NS, 2 g NS and 3 g NS, respectively. Eradication rates with 2 g NS and TT were statistically not different from each other, whereas H. pylori eradication with other doses was significantly less than that with TT (P < 0.05). Dyspepsia symptoms improved in all groups to a similar extent.
Conclusions: N. sativa seeds possess clinically useful anti-H. pylori activity, comparable to triple therapy. Further clinical studies combining N. sativa with antibiotics are suggested.