Nigella Sativa, also known as black cumin or simply black seed, is a medicinal seed-bearing plant native to Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Human civilizations have used it for at least 4000 years, with one of the oldest confirmed findings in the tomb of King Tut. Cleopatra reportedly used it for beauty, the Greek physician Hippocrates used it to treat liver disease, and in the holiest of Islamic texts, it is said to be a cure for every disease except death.

For a quick primer on spike, it has been shown that SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binds to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE2 in certain human cells. This is how it gains entry into cells in the lungs, blood vessels, and heart, causing dysfunction and damage.

Nigella Sativa contains an indazole alkaloid called Nigellidine in its seed coat that is medicinal and bioavailable. These indazole alkaloids are rare, as only a few have been isolated in nature; all from the Nigella family of plants. In a study from 2020, Nigellidine was shown to bind to ACE2 and ACE1 receptors sites in human cells. This means that Nigellidine can effectively block spike protein from gaining entry into cells and causing dysfunction.

Present with spike protein infection is the often-discussed “cytokine storm” which a second study elaborates on when they note that “this virus has been reported to greatly impair the human immune system by … different cytokines namely TNFα, IL1, IL6” And that “blocking of these cytokines or their receptors may help to break the cascade of cytokine signaling.” They reported to “have decisively shown by molecular modeling that nigellidine can bind in the active sites of … several host receptors specific for SARS CoV 2 induced inflammatory markers IL1, IL6, TNF-α.”

Thymoquinone is another medicinal component of Nigella Sativa that makes up a large percentage of its essential oil. Two independent sets of researchers found that “Thymoquinone can bind effectively to the targets of 2019-nCoV” and that “Cardio-respiratory and endothelial dysfunction is one of the major symptoms of SARS CoV 2 infection. And this dysfunction may be counteracted by NS and its component thymoquinone by restraining interleukin-1β, TNF-α and NF-κB (cytokine) signaling”

Thymoquinone is one of 4 compounds which include dithymoquinone, thymohydroquinone, and thymol. Additional research showed that these all bind to receptor sites the same or better than the anti-malarial drug chloroquine; and without side effects. The authors of this study end by saying the results “encourage traditional use of Nigella sativa L. prophylactically.” Still further research postulated that “In line with the proposed use of chloroquine, Nigella sativa (black seed) could be considered as a natural substitute.”

A study review on thymoquinone, Covid-19, and cancer shows how incredibly broad-spectrum and powerful this medicine really is; assisting the entire systems of the heart, liver, kidneys, brain, pancreas, allergic response, and GI tract. The 15 minutes to read this review is well worth the time, and it can be found @ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33540625/ (Thymoquinone: A Tie-Breaker in SARS-CoV2-Infected Cancer Patients?)

Source Links:

1)      From here to eternity - the secret of Pharaohs: Therapeutic potential of black cumin seeds and beyond https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2583426/

2)      Nigella sativa L. (Black Cumin): A Promising Natural Remedy for Wide Range of Illnesses https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6535880/  

3)      https://www.islamweb.net/en/article/157049/black-seed-nigella-sativa-a-cure-for-every-disease

4)      Protective role of ACE2 and its downregulation in SARS-CoV-2 infection leading to Macrophage Activation Syndrome: Therapeutic implications: (ACE2 Image) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002432052030655X

5)      COVID-19 and the cardiovascular system: implications for risk assessment, diagnosis, and treatment options: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32352535/

6)      Nigellidine — A new indazole alkaloid from the seeds of Nigella sativa(1995) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0040403995002104

7)      Indazole-type alkaloids from the seeds of Nigella glandulifera: https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/catalog/870880

8)      In silico Nigellidine (N. sativa) bind to viral spike/active-sites of ACE1/2, AT1/2 to prevent COVID-19 induced vaso-tumult/vascular-damage/comorbidity: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33746069/

9)      Active-site Molecular docking of Nigellidine to nucleocapsid/Nsp2/Nsp3/MPro of COVID-19 and to human IL1R and TNFR1/2 may stop viral-growth/cytokine-flood, and the drug source Nigella sativa (black cumin) seeds show potent antioxidant role in experimental rats: https://europepmc.org/article/PPR/PPR158775

10)   Novel Coronavirus-2019 (2019-nCoV): Perspectives of emergence, prophylaxis and predicted treatment approaches: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33824130/

11)   The Revelation of Various Compounds Found in Nigella sativa L. (Black Cumin) and Their Possibility to Inhibit COVID‐19 Infection Based on the Molecular Docking and Physical Properties:

https://www.espublisher.com/uploads/article_pdf/es8d1127.pdf

12)   Potential benefits of combination of Nigella sativa and Zn supplements to treat COVID-19: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32834942/

13)  Thymoquinone: A Tie-Breaker in SARS-CoV2-Infected Cancer Patients?

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33540625/

14)   Acute and chronic toxicity of Nigella sativa fixed oil: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711304700847