Phytochemistry, pharmacology, and therapeutic uses of black seed (Nigella sativa)

Chin J Nat Med. 2016 Oct;14(10):732-745. doi: 10.1016/S1875-5364(16)30088-7. Epub 2016 Oct 31.


Black seed (Nigella sativa) is an annual flowering plant from Ranunculaceae family, native to southwest Asia. This plant has many food and medicinal uses. The use of its seeds and oil is common for treatment of many diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, inflammatory diseases, diabetes and digestive diseases. The purpose of this study was to provide a comprehensive review on the scientific reports that have been published about N. sativa. The facts and statistics presented in this review article were gathered from the journals accessible in creditable databases such as Science Direct, Medline, PubMed, Scopus, EBSCO, EMBASE, SID and IranMedex. The keywords searched in Persian and English books on medicinal plants and traditional medicine, as well as the above reputable databases were "Black seed", "Nigella sativa", "therapeutic effect", and "medicinal plant". The results showed that N. sativa has many biological effects such as anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, and wound healing activities. It also has effects on reproductive, digestive, immune and central nervous systems, such as anticonvulsant and analgesic activities. In summary, it can be used as a valuable plant for production of new drugs for treatment of many diseases.

Keywords: Black seed; Ethnopharmacology; Medicinal plant; Nigella sativa; Phytotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Therapy
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nigella sativa / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Seeds / chemistry*


  • Plant Extracts