Nigella sativa: reduces the risk of various maladies. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Nigella sativa: reduces the risk of various maladies.
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Aug ;50(7):654-65. PMID: 20694927
Masood Sadiq Butt
Coinage of terms like nutraceuticals, functional, and pharma foods has diverted the attention of human beings to where they are seeking more natural cures. Though pharmaceutical drugs have been beneficial for human health and have cured various diseases but they also impart some side effects. Numerous plants have been tested for their therapeutic potential; Nigella sativa, commonly known as black cumin, is one of them. It possesses a nutritional dense profile as its fixed oil (lipid fraction), is rich in unsaturated fatty acids while essential oil contains thymoquinone and carvacrol as antioxidants. N. sativa seeds also contain proteins, alkaloids (nigellicines and nigelledine), and saponins (alpha-hederin) in substantial amounts. Recent pharmacological investigations suggested its potential role, especially for the amelioration of oxidative stress through free radical scavenging activity, the induction of apoptosis to cure various cancer lines, the reduction of blood glucose, and the prevention of complications from diabetes. It regulates hematological and serological aspects and can be effective in dyslipidemia and respiratory disorders. Moreover, its immunopotentiating and immunomodulating role brings balance in the immune system. Evidence is available supporting the utilization of Nigella sativa and its bioactive components in a daily diet for health improvement. This review is intended to focus on the composition of Nigella sativa and to elaborate its possible therapeutic roles as a functional food to prevent an array of maladies.