Nigella sativa and its active principles: Potential food for healthy living

Dharmendra Nath Bhatt, Sekhu Ansari, Wesley Fernandes Fonseca, Kumar Vaibhav, Meenakshi Ahluwalia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Nigella sativa is an annual plant from Ranunculaceae family and was traditionally used as medicine by ancient civilizations for its wide therapeutic values. N. sativa is not only the source of healthy nutrition but also has the potential to be an alternative treatment option for different pathologies, from microbial infection to metabolic disease. Nigella seed is composed of a number of biologically active components that are being used in traditional medicines from antimicrobial remedy to cardiovascular diseases This chapter aims to provide readers understanding of complex composition, biological activities, adverse effects, and therapeutic propertiesof N. sativa. Further, seeds from Nigella are rich in nutrients such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, oils, minerals, fibers, etc., and contain a wide variety of saponins and alkaloids. Alkaloids, specially thymoquinone and its derivatives in Nigella, are rich in medicinal activities and are of therapeutic importance in many diseases. Recent research has identified several important active components of N. sativa such as thymoquinone, α-hederin, thymol, and others. However, thymoquinone is the principle active ingredient of Nigella and shows disease-altering biological properties, to name few, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiinflammatory, antiproliferative, anticancer, and antimetastatic effects, suggesting potential therapeutic roles in many human pathologies. In addition, Nigella has been shown to be effective in immunomodulatory, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, and neuroprotective activities and in neurological disorders. Derived from its antioxidant and also antiinflammatory action, Nigella has also been associated with the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. In conclusion, Nigella is a good candidate to be developed as a natural therapeutic agent for many pathologies and extensive studies are therefore, recommended. In addition, a better understanding of the mechanisms of Nigella’s therapeutic medicinal effects is needed, as well as knowledge of the best dose to be used, resulting in high efficacy, low toxicity, and better therapeutic effect against different diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBlack Seeds (Nigella sativa)
Subtitle of host publicationPharmacological and Therapeutic Applications
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780128244623
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Ayurveda
  • Black seed
  • Medicinal properties
  • Nigella sativa
  • Nigella seeds
  • Thymoquinone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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