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Blessed Sunnah Black Seed

Black Seed Helps in Combating Allergies


Negative environmental factors can cause an increase in allergic diseases. Childhood mortality due to bronchial asthma has more than doubled during the past decade. In the United States, approximately 200 children die of asthma each year; over 150,000 are hospitalized because of asthma, and around 5 million have the disease. Bronchial asthma is a genetically based, multifactorial disease that is aggravated by a number of factors such as infections, allergen exposure, tobacco smoke and environmental pollutants. Likewise, hay fever, a typical inhalation allergy, is generally triggered by wind-borne pollen and represents the acute form of seasonal allergic rhinitis.

The lymphatic system of the intestines and bronchi is constantly confronted with numerous food and environmental antigens. In addition to its defensive function, the lymphatic system must ensure tolerance to its own intestinal flora and other substances. Stabilization of the arachidonic acid metabolism via modulation of prostaglandin and leukotriene production, and stabilization of interleukins and tumour necrosis factor (TNF) has been shown to safeguard the body from allergic reactions.

Scientific evidence indicates that black seed oil contains pharmacologically active substances such as thymoquinones, dithymoquinones, thymohydroquinones and thymol that modify leukotriene synthesis and inhibit histamine release. Some of the studies that evaluated the antiallergic potency of black seed oil in animals demonstrated that even small concentrations of its active constituents effectively inhibited the release of histamine from mast cells.

Four human studies showed that black seed oil is indeed capable of relieving symptoms of allergic rhinitis, atopic eczema, and bronchial asthma. The effect of black seed oil on inhalation allergies, the most common type of allergic disease, was determined in two placebo-controlled studies (one in children and one in adults) and in two open-label studies also involving children and adults. Depending on their body weight, the patients took three to seven 500 mg of Egyptian black seed oil capsules each day. Improvement of allergy symptoms was observed in all four studies. The complaints of patients with allergic rhinitis decreased significantly. This was especially evident in the studies involving children, where approximately 80% of the children had improvement of allergic rhinitis symptoms. The children with bronchial asthma treated in the open-label studies study also had relevant and significant improvement of clinical symptoms. Nigella sativa oil also proved to be very effective in adult subjects with allergic rhinitis.

A possible explanation for the positive clinical effects observed in the human studies can be drawn from animal experiments. One study for example, showed that Nigella sativa oil inhibited the cyclooxygenase and 5- lipoxygenase pathways of arachidonic acid metabolism, resulting in the decreased synthesis of thromboxane and leukotrienes. Leukotrienes, in particular, are contributing factors for the development of bronchial asthma since they develop proinflammatory activity. Leukotriene receptor antagonists are therefore used for treatment of bronchial asthma. Researchers have not only found that this effect is induced by thymoquinone, but other compounds of black seed oil as well.

In Arabian folk medicine, black seed alone or in combination with honey is used as a treatment for bronchial asthma. In a recent study involving twenty-nine asthmatic adults, black seed given for three months, significantly improved all asthma symptoms including chest wheezing and pulmonary functions tests. Furthermore, the usage of inhalers and other asthma medications decreased in the patients receiving black seed. The researchers believed the results of the study confirmed previous studies indicating a relaxant effect of black seed on airway smooth muscle. They also noted the antitussive effect of black seed oil.

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