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The Maple Street Co-op

Nigella Sativa.

Old Wisdom - New Ways.

By Naturopath Pascale Richy.

Nigella sativa commonly known as black seed, black cumin, black caraway, fennel flower, Nigella or Kalonji has long been used in the medicine traditions of North Africa, Middle East and Asia. It boasts so many therapeutic applications and benefits that it is known as a “cure all” in Ayurvedic medicine. The black seeds are used for reducing adverse effects of arthritis, asthma & allergies, inflammation, respiratory infections, liver and gastro disorders, hypertension, immune and neurological disorders and exhibit a therapeutic role in diabetes and cancers.

This ancient plant medicine has now found a place of importance in our most contemporary of health concerns. As the Corona virus continues to move through our communities, challenging many with respiratory symptoms that hit hard and tend to linger, Nigella is gaining the reputation both anecdotally and in the scientific literature as an effective treatment. The mechanism of action being due to the active constituent thymoquinone (TQ) and its ability to stick to, for example the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein seen in Covid, giving a protective effect to the lungs. Research findings also highlight the potential of TQ to block the serious inflammatory response known as “cytokine storm” by moderating our immune system through activation of T cells and by helping in the formation of IFNγ, whilst simultaneously preventing release of pro-inflammation chemicals such as COX-2, TNF-α and IL-6.

Other secondary metabolites such as alkaloids, pentacyclic triterpenes, phytosterols and flavonoids have also been shown to exhibit therapeutic activities. Based on its wide spectrum therapeutic potentials, interest in development of pharmacological extracts and use in conventional medical realms is fast growing. The seeds of Nigella sativa as a whole, or in oil extraction form are readily available in retail health stores and usually found under the name “black seed”.

First published August 2022

Pascale is one of our in-store naturopaths.

Her practice is on Coral Street, Maleny

The information in this article is for educational purposesonly and is not intended as a substitute for health care advice. Please consult your friendly local naturopath, herbalist or other health care practitioner for personalised advice, particularly if you have a diagnosed medical condition or take pharmaceutical medications.

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