Black Seed Oil

Can Nigella Sativa Oil – Black Seed Oil be used as a treatment for milder form of COVID-19?

Can Nigella Sativa Oil – Black Seed Oil be used as a treatment milder for mild COVID-19?

Disclaimer: The author of this blog is not part of the following study: “Nigella Sativa oil for the treatment of COVID-19: An open-label randomized controlled clinical trial.” which was conducted from May, 1st till September 30th, 2021and published in April 2021 by A E. Kosher et al. 

By reporting on the results of this study, the author does not claim or endorse its use to prevent or treat COVID infection. Its use and indication needs to be further explored in better designed studies with a larger sample size. Consult your doctor before using this oil. Please follow the current CDC guidelines and standards of care as advised by your physician. 

Back ground of the Study

“Effective treatment for Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) is under intensive research. Nigella sativa oil (NSO) is a herbal medicine with antiviral and immunomodulatory activities, and has been recommended for the treatment of COVID-19. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of NSO treatment in patients with COVID-19.” (Abdulrahman E Koshak 1, 2020)

Did you ask yourself, there may be a remedy that is natural and easily taken by mouth to at the least prevent the severity of COVID and may prevent critical situations that patients are not waking up and failing their lung, kidney and end up with multi-organ failure. We all have been doing hand sanitizing, covering face and eyes, social distancing and yet we catch it. Despite vaccination, with newer variants we are still prone to the disease. One of the study recently completed in Middle East, caught my attention. It is about the use of Nigella Sativa -Black Cumin Seed Oil. This new study suggests that it may potentially work in milder form of COVID. 

Study design….

In this study, Nigella Sativa oil was given 500 mg twice a day for 14 days and it was seen that patients in the treatment group recovered faster and with lesser symptoms. The study has limitations because it is open label study, smaller sample size, subjective symptoms reporting and no serological makers were used to objectively confirm the evidence of recovery. The authors of the study report that due to the lack of funding the biomarkers (such tests that may indicate that the infection has resolved e.g IgM and IgG Titers or CRP – a marker for inflammation in human body) were not used to objectively evaluate and measure the recovery. 

Medicinal value of Nigella Sativa…..

Nigella Sativa, a well-known food in Middle East and South East Asian countries with a remarkable medicinal value. (Silveira D, 2020)(Ahmad A, 2013)

Black Seeds have naturally occurring high content of Thymoquinone (TQ). Its immune regulatory and anti-inflammatory properties have been studied very well and reported in scientific journals. TQ is one of the most studied and reported as active ingredient in Nigella Sativa Oil (Razmpoosh E, 2020), (Molla S, 2019) 

NSO is relatively new to United State of America and it is getting more and more attention, and lots of people do not now about Nigella Sativa - Black Seed Oil and its uses and potential benefits.

Why Nigella Sativa Oil  (NSO) was chosen to treat COVID in this study?

To better understand the need to choose NSO for this study it is important to understand: “Cytokine Storm”. It is a pathological response of human body to infection. In simple terms it is sudden severe opening of ‘flood gates’ at the cellular and tissue level . This results in inflammatory storm to the point that cells and surrounding tissues including blood vessels are flooded. It results in clogging, slugging of blood in the vessels, results in low oxygen supply and too many inflammatory cells and it impairs cell function and supply of oxygen. Ultimately it results in challenging environment to survive. Ultimately the tissues develop scar e.g in lungs results in poor oxygenation by lungs. Hence respiratory failure begins, and some patients end up on ventilators. In severe clinical cases, in order to mitigate Cytokine Strom and its effects; steroids are used to reduce inflammation. Of note, steroids have lots of side effects.

With that in mind, the researchers wanted to use Nigella Sativa Oil (NSO) to prevent lung and other organs inflammation. They chose milder COVID cases because if you can halt the inflammation process at a very early stage (mild), one may not suffer from devastating complications. 

How NSO regulates the immune system and inflammation processes. Nigella Sativa has multiple ways to regulate the immune system and lower inflammatory response by lowering the inflammatory factors (cytokine: factors that act on cells). (Khazdair MR, 2021)(Kulyar MFeA, 2020) (Majdalawieh AF, 2015). The details as how it works at cellular level are beyond the scope of this article but you can review it more in PUBMED. It has immunostimulant effects, what it means in layman terms that these are capable of regulating immune effect. It may also reduce the inflammatory mediators which in turn help to reduce tissue injury. The mediators (cytokines) are molecules that play a role in the tissue inflammation. (Khazdair MR, Possible therapeutic effects of Nigella sativa and its thymoquinone on COVID-19. , 2021), (Majdalawieh AF, Immunomodulatory and anti-in ammatory action of Nigella sativa and thymoquinone: a comprehensive review., 2015) (Koshak A, 2015)

What do we know about its effects on the liver and kidney?

Nigella Sativa is well studied in clinical studies and found to be safe for liver and kidneys. 

(Razmpoosh E, The effect of Nigella sativa on the measures of liver and kidney parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials., 2020)

What was the outcome of this study?

Of note, in this study 62% of the mild COVID cases recovered with lesser symptoms and had faster compared to 32% in the control group. It was a statistically significant observation. Most noticeable symptoms that improved quicker than the control group were smell sensation, chills, runny nose and loss of appetite. 

In conclusion, the researchers have suggested studying the use of Black Seed Oil in well designed clinical trials to further evaluate the Black Seed oil use in COVID population. And lastly, the findings of present study cannot be generalized to other disease severities, age categories, treatment doses, or formulations. 

Tip of the day

Be patient, persistent and consistent in your exercise routine such as 60 minutes per day on an empty stomach, and see the result of weight loss ofr yourself.

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