Skip to content

Find a Vitamin or Supplement

BLACK SEED

Other Names:

Ajenuz, Aranuel, Baraka, Black Cumin, Black Caraway, Charnuska, Cheveux de Vénus, Cominho Negro, Comino Negro, Cumin Noir, Fennel Flower, Fitch, Graine de Nigelle, Graine Noire, Kalajaji, Kalajira, Kalonji, La Grainer Noire, Love in a Mist, Mugr...
See All Names

BLACK SEED Overview
BLACK SEED Uses
BLACK SEED Side Effects
BLACK SEED Interactions
BLACK SEED Dosing
BLACK SEED Overview Information

Black seed is a plant. People have used the seed to make medicine for over 2000 years. It was even discovered in the tomb of King Tut.

Historically, black seed has been used for headache, toothache, nasal congestion, and intestinal worms. It has also been used for “pink eye” (conjunctivitis), pockets of infection (abscesses), and parasites.

Today, black seed is used for treating digestive tract conditions including gas, colic, diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, and hemorrhoids. It is also used for respiratory conditions including asthma, allergies, cough, bronchitis, emphysema, flu, swine flu, and congestion.

Other uses include lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels, treating cancer, and boosting the immune system. You may read that a patent has been issued to cover the use of black seed to improve immunity, but don’t be misled. The presence of a patent doesn’t mean black seed has been shown to be effective for this use.

Women use black seed for birth control, to start menstruation, and to increase milk flow.

Black seed is sometimes used in combination with cysteine, vitamin E, and saffron to ease the side effects of a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin.

Some people apply black seed directly to the skin for joint pain (rheumatism), headache, and certain skin conditions.

In foods, black seed is used as a flavoring or spice.

How does it work?

There is some scientific evidence to suggest that black seed might help boost the immune system, fight cancer, prevent pregnancy, and lessen allergic reactions by acting as an antihistamine, but there isn't enough information in humans yet.

BLACK SEED Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Asthma. Research suggests that taking black seed extract by mouth improves coughing, wheezing, and lung function in people with asthma. However, black seed may not be as effective as the drugs theophylline or salbutamol.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing black seed oil, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and biotin (Immerfit by Phyt-Immun) by mouth daily might improve allergy symptoms in people with hay fever.
  • Itchy and inflamed skin (eczema). Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing black seed oil, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and biotin (Immerfit by Phyt-Immun) by mouth daily might improve symptoms in people with itchy and inflamed skin. However, applying 15% black seed oil ointment to the skin for 4 weeks does not appear to improve itching or disease severity in similar patients.
  • Seizures (epilepsy). Early research suggests that taking black seed extract by mouth every eight hours for 4 weeks might reduce the number of seizures in children with epilepsy.
  • High cholesterol. Evidence regarding the effectiveness of black seed for high cholesterol is conflicting. Some early research suggests that taking whole crushed black seed 1 gram twice daily before meals for 4 weeks reduces cholesterol, “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and blood fats called triglycerides in people with high cholesterol. However, other research shows that taking powdered black seed 1 gram twice daily for 6 weeks does not improve cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure. Early research suggests that taking black seed extract twice daily for 8 weeks might slightly improve blood pressure in some people.
  • Metabolic syndrome. Early research suggests that taking a specific black seed oil product twice daily for 6 weeks might reduce total cholesterol, “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and blood sugar levels in people with metabolic syndrome.
  • Relieving symptoms related to narcotic drug withdrawal (opiate withdrawal). Early research suggests that taking black seed extract by mouth three times daily for 12 days might reduce symptoms of opiate withdrawal.
  • Sore throat and swollen tonsils (tonsillopharyngitis). Early research suggests that taking a combination of chanca piedra and black seed by mouth for 7 days relieves pain in people with sore throat and swollen tonsils.
  • Digestive problems including intestinal gas and diarrhea.
  • Cough.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Flu.
  • Congestion.
  • Boosting the immune system.
  • Cancer prevention.
  • Birth control.
  • Menstrual disorders.
  • Increasing breast-milk flow.
  • Achy joints (rheumatism).
  • Headache.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of black seed for these uses.


BLACK SEED Side Effects & Safety

Black seed, when taken by mouth in small quantities, such as a flavoring for foods, is LIKELY SAFE for most people. Black seed oil and black seed extract are POSSIBLY SAFE when medical amounts are used short-term. There isn't enough information to know if larger, medicinal quantities are safe. Black seed can cause allergic rashes when applied to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Black seed seems to be safe in food amounts during pregnancy. But taking larger medicinal amounts is LIKELY UNSAFE. Black seed can slow down or stop the uterus from contracting.

Not much is known about the safety of using black seed during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Black seed oil is POSSIBLY SAFE for children when taken by mouth short-term and in recommended amounts.

Bleeding disorders: Black seed might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. In theory, black seed might make bleeding disorders worse.

Diabetes: Black seed might lower blood sugar levels in some people. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use black seed.

Low blood pressure: Black seed might lower blood pressure. In theory, taking black seed might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.

Surgery: Black seed might slow blood clotting, reduce blood sugar, and increase sleepiness in some people. In theory, black seed might increase the risk for bleeding and interfere with blood sugar control and anesthesia during and after surgical procedures. Stop using black seed at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

BLACK SEED Interactions What is this?

We currently have no information for BLACK SEED Interactions

BLACK SEED Dosing

The appropriate dose of black seed depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for black seed. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

See 35 Reviews for this Treatment - OR -

Review this Treatment

Learn about User Reviews and read IMPORTANT information about user generated content

Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

Search for a Vitamin or Supplement

Ex. Ginseng, Vitamin C, Depression

Today on WebMD

Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
Man taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
clams
Quiz
Woman in sun
Slideshow
 
Flaxseed added fiber
Video
!!69X75_Vitamins_Supplements.jpg
Evaluator
 
Woman sleeping
Article
Woman staring into space with coffee
Article
 
IMPORTANT: About This Section and Other User-Generated Content on WebMD

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatment or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.