Effect of Nigella sativa supplementation on lung function and inflammatory mediatorsin partly controlled asthma: a randomized controlled trial

Ann Saudi Med. 2017 Jan-Feb;37(1):64-71. doi: 10.5144/0256-4947.2017.64.


Background: Nigella sativa and its derivatives have been reported to have anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator effects, but the effects have been evaluated in only a few clinical studies.

Objectives: To determine the effect of N sativa supplementation on inflammation of the airways and limitation of airflow in partly controlled asthma patients.

Design: Single-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study.

Setting: Asthma and allergy clinic of a university hospital in eastern Saudi Arabia.

Patients and methods: Patients were divided into three groups. A control group (n=24) received the placebo, while NS-1 and NS-2 groups (n=26 each) received 1 and 2 g/day of N sativa, respectively, for 3 months along with maintenance inhaled therapy.

Main outcome measure(s): Asthma control test (ACT) score, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), peak expiratory flow (PEF) variability and other pulmonary function tests, IgE, serum cytokines, and frequency of exacerbations.

Results: FEF25-75% and FEV1 (% predicted) increased significantly (P < .05) at both 6 and 12 weeks in the NS-2 group. PEF variability significantly improved in both NS-1 and NS-2 groups at 6 and 12 weeks as compared with the controls (P < .05). FeNO and serum IgE decreased significantly after 12 weeks in both the NS-1 and NS-2 groups vs baseline (P < .05). Both doses of N sativa produced a significant increase in the serum IFN-gamma at 12 weeks vs baseline (P < .05) as well as a significant improvement in the ACT score at 6 and 12 weeks vs baseline (P < .001, < .01). Significantly fewer patients had exacerbations in the NS-1 group (P < .05).

Conclusion: N sativa supplementation with inhaled maintenance therapy improves some measures of pulmonary function and inflammation in partly controlled asthma.

Limitations: No bronchoalveolar lavage or sputum samples taken for measurement of asthma markers. ISRCTN registry: ISRCTN48853858 DOI 10.1186/ISRCTN48853858.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / blood
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchodilator Agents / pharmacology
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Progression
  • Exhalation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigella sativa*
  • Nitric Oxide / analysis
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Plant Extracts
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Immunoglobulin E