A new study conducted this year investigated the benefits of Black seed Oil (Nigella sativa) in asthma control and symptoms.
The Nigella sativa seed originates from western Asia and has shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties. The main active compound in Nigella sativa, ‘thymoquinone’, has previously shown positive effects on clinical and biochemical markers of asthma inflammation.
A randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial, conducted in a collaboration between University College London and King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia, studied 80 subjects with asthma.
Half were given 500mg (less than half a teaspoon) of Nigella sativa oil twice daily for four weeks and compared with 40 subjects given a placebo, the results showed a significant improvement in pulmonary function and asthma control test scores. Improvements were also seen in blood markers linked to asthma inflammation.
The researchers described the effect of Black seed oil in normalising blood eosinophilia as ‘remarkable’. An eosinophil count is a blood test that measures the quantity of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) in your body. Elevated levels of white blood cells in your blood can be an indicator that you have an inflammatory illness or infection.
This trial demonstrates that Nigella sativa oil supplementation can help improve asthma control as well pulmonary function in a relatively short period of time.
The Global Asthma Physician and Patient (GAPP) Survey reported that 39% of asthma patients exchanged or stopped their asthma medication because of adverse events (GAPP, 2005).
Up to 79% of adult patients with asthma used different complementary and alternative treatments including herbal medicines, but the evidence for such treatments’ effectiveness in asthma is very limited (Slader et al.,2006).
This new trial on Black seed oil is encouraging, and further long-term studies are warranted.
Author: Aimée Benbow, BSc (Hons) ANutr. is Head of Technical Services at Viridian Nutrition.
Viridian Nutrition is the leading supplier of food supplements to specialist independent health food stores. For information about personalised solutions visit www.findahealthstore.com.
The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.