Health Promoting Activities of Nigella sativa Seeds

Part of the Food Bioactive Ingredients book series (FBC)


Nigella sativa L. (black cumin, family Ranunculaceae) is an annual flowering plant. Its black trigonal seeds are the source of the active ingredients of the plant. It is native to South Asian and East Mediterranean countries, where it has been used traditionally and clinically in different parts of the world to treat many diseases. The use of N. sativa seed showed wide range worldwide in foods (preservative, spice, and flavoring agent), painkiller (headache, and back pain), some ailment treatments (diabetes, infection, inflammation, hypertension), pharmacology (antioxidant, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, analgesic effects, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, antifungal, anticancer and male infertility). Black cumin seeds contain a substantial amount of vegetable protein, fiber, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. The major bioactive component of black cumin seed is thymoquinone which found in the essential oil and provides wide range of therapeutic benefits (i.e., gastrointestinal protective effects). Fatty acid composition of the seed oil is reported mainly to contain linoleic, linolenic, oleic, palmitoleic and palmitic acids. The major sterols of seeds are β-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol and 5-avenasterol which known to lower cholesterol levels. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a comprehensive review based on the scientific reports about the health-promoting activities of N. sativa seed and to discuss the therapeutic properties and functionality of the seed that lead the appliactions of seeds in the pharmaceuticals and food industry.


Thymoquinone Medicinal plants Health Anti-virus H9N2 avian influenza virus Hepatitis C Diabetes Cardiovascular diseases Gastric ulcers Fertility 



Essential oil


International Diabetes Federation


Minimal bactericidal concentration


Minimum inhibitory concentration




World Health Organization


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering, Department of Food EngineeringSuleyman Demirel UniversityIspartaTurkey

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