A glance at black cumin ( Nigella sativa) and its active constituent, thymoquinone, in ischemia: a review

Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2018 Dec;21(12):1200-1209. doi: 10.22038/ijbms.2018.31703.7630.


Objectives: Black cumin (Nigella sativa) belonging to Ranunculaceae family has a long history of medicinal use in various folk and traditional systems of medicine, including Iranian traditional medicine (ITM). These valuable medicinal seeds have been used traditionally against a variety of diseases such as dyspepsia, diabetes, headache, influenza and asthma. In addition, several scientific investigations have reported the therapeutic properties of N. sativa and thymoquinone (TQ), one of the most important constituent of black cumin, for treatment of a large number of diseases, including ischemia. As there is no comprehensive review study about the anti-ischemic activity of black cumin and its mechanism of action, in the current study, we aimed to review the anti-ischemic activities of N. sativa and TQ in different organ-related disorders.

Materials and methods: We searched the words N. sativa or black cumin and ischemia in the combination of related organs through available databases including Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar.

Results: Several studies were found reporting the anti-ischemic activity of black cumin and its active constituent on different organs including brain, kidneys, heart, and liver. Black cumin exert its beneficial effects as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptosis, and anti-necrosis agent through inhibition of growth factors, biochemical and oxidative stress markers and regulating gene expression.

Conclusion: Thus, N. sativa could be a potential candidate for treatment of ischemia related disorders in key organs such as brain, liver, digestive system, kidney, and heart. To figure out the exact mechanism of action, further investigations are proposed in this regard.

Keywords: Black cumin; Brain; Cardiovascular; Ischemia; Nigella sativa.

Publication types

  • Review