Black cumin (Nigella sativa L.): a comprehensive review on phytochemistry, health benefits, molecular pharmacology, and safety

Md Abdul Hannan, Md Ataur Rahman, Abdullah Al Mamun Sohag, Md Jamal Uddin, Raju Dash, Mahmudul Hasan Sikder, Md Saidur Rahman, Binod Timalsina, Yeasmin Akter Munni, Partha Protim Sarker, Mahboob Alam, Md Mohibbullah, Md Nazmul Haque, Israt Jahan, Md Tahmeed Hossain, Tania Afrin, Md Mahbubur Rahman, Md Tahjib-Ul-Arif, Sarmistha Mitra, Diyah Fatimah OktavianiMd Kawsar Khan, Ho Jin Choi, Il Soo Moon*, Bonglee Kim*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    114 Citations (Scopus)
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    Mounting evidence support the potential benefits of functional foods or nutraceuticals for human health and diseases. Black cumin (Nigella sativa L.), a highly valued nutraceutical herb with a wide array of health benefits, has attracted growing interest from health-conscious individuals, the scientific community, and pharmaceutical industries. The pleiotropic pharmacological effects of black cumin, and its main bioactive component thymoquinone (TQ), have been manifested by their ability to attenuate oxidative stress and inflammation, and to promote immunity, cell survival, and energy metabolism, which underlie diverse health benefits, including protection against metabolic, cardiovascular, digestive, hepatic, renal, respiratory, reproductive, and neurological disorders, cancer, and so on. Furthermore, black cumin acts as an antidote, mitigating various toxicities and drug-induced side effects. Despite significant advances in pharmacological benefits, this miracle herb and its active components are still far from their clinical application. This review begins with highlighting the research trends in black cumin and revisiting phytochemical profiles. Subsequently, pharmacological attributes and health benefits of black cumin and TQ are critically reviewed. We overview molecular pharmacology to gain insight into the underlying mechanism of health benefits. Issues related to pharmacokinetic herb–drug interactions, drug delivery, and safety are also ad-dressed. Identifying knowledge gaps, our current effort will direct future research to advance potential applications of black cumin and TQ in health and diseases.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1784
    Pages (from-to)1-60
    Number of pages60
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • Black seed
    • Essential oil
    • Nutraceutical
    • Thymoquinone
    • Molecular mechanism


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