A review on therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb
Aftab Ahmad et al
Medicinal plants have been used for curing diseases for many centuries in different indigenous systems of medicine as well as folk medicines. Moreover, medicinal plants are also used in the preparation of herbal medicines as they are considered to be safe as compared to modern allopathic medicines. Many researchers are focusing on medicinal plants since only a few plant species have been thoroughly investigated for their medicinal properties, potential, mechanism of action, safety evaluation and toxicological studies.
Among various medicinal plants, Nigella sativa (N. sativa) (Family Ranunculaceae) is emerging as a miracle herb with a rich historical and religious background since many researches revealed its wide spectrum of pharmacological potential. N. sativa is commonly known as black seed. N. sativa is native to Southern Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia and it is cultivated in many countries in the world like Middle Eastern Mediterranean region, South Europe, India, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia.
The seeds of N. sativa and their oil have been widely used for centuries in the treatment of various ailments throughout the world. And it is an important drug in the Indian traditional system of medicine like Unani and Ayurveda,. Among Muslims, it is considered as one of the greatest forms of healing medicine available due to it was mentioned that black seed is the remedy for all diseases except death in one of the Prophetic hadith. It is also recommended for use on regular basis in Tibb-e-Nabwi (Prophetic Medicine).
N. sativa has been extensively studied for its biological activities and therapeutic potential and shown to possess wide spectrum of activities viz. as diuretic, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, anticancer and immunomodulatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, anthelmintics, analgesics and anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, bronchodilator, gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, renal protective and antioxidant properties. The seeds of N. sativa are widely used in the treatment of various diseases like bronchitis, asthma, diarrhea, rheumatism and skin disorders. It is also used as liver tonic, digestive, anti-diarrheal, appetite stimulant, emmenagogue, to increase milk production in nursing mothers to fight parasitic infections, and to support immune system–. Most of the therapeutic properties of this plant are due to the presence of thymoquinone (TQ) which is a major active chemical component of the essential oil. Black seeds are also used in food like flavoring additive in the breads and pickles because it has very low level of toxicity.