Nigella Sativa (NS) is a popularly used medicinal plant throughout the world in various traditional systems of medicine like Unani, Tibb, Ayurveda and Sidha. Native to South and West Asia, NS is also known as Black Cumin, Nigella, Kalojeere, and Kalonji. The annual flowering plant belongs to the family Ranunculaceae and is an excellent phytomedicine.
NS is known for its diuretic, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, immune-modulatory, antimicrobial, antihelmintic, analgesics and calming, spasmolytic, bronchodilator, anti-inflammatory, anti-tussive, gastro-protective, hepato-protective, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreasing, renal-protective and anti-oxidant properties.
The world is witnessing difficult times. The race against time in finding a vaccine for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is getting more challenging with every single day. Numerous papers with their initial research findings on the pathophysiology of the COVID-19 infection have given some clues to invent a cure to this pandemic.
The variety of symptoms seen in patients infected with COVID-19 shows the importance of immunomodulation in the human body. A recent study published in the Journal of Autoimmunity reported that severe cases admitted to the intensive care unit showed high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines including TNFα (Tumor necrosis factor Alpha) that are reasoned to promote disease severity.
Another study published in The Lancet on pathological findings of COVID-19 associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome reported lymphopenia as a common feature in the patients and suggested that it might be a critical factor associated with disease severity and mortality.
A letter to the editor published in Nature Medicine reported that an increased antibody-secreting cell, producing immunoglobulin M and Immunoglobulin G antibodies that bound the COVID-19 causing coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 were detected in blood before symptomatic recovery and the immunological changes persisted for at least 7 days following full resolution of symptoms.
Thymoquinone (TQ) is an abundant component of Nigella Sativa seed oil extract. TQ is known to inhibit TNF-α-induced inflammation. TQ is known for its lymphoprotective activity and immune modulation. Another major concern for doctors has been the effect on kidney and testes.
TQ is not only a pulmonary protective but also a nephroprotective in diseases caused by inflammation and oxidative stress. TQ is also known for its testicular protective function.
The component TQ in the seed oil of Nigella Sativa is known for its intense immune-modulatory benefits. The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-modulatory actions of Nigella Sativa have resulted in preventive and bronchodilatory effects on obstructive respiratory diseases.
A study published in the Journal of Molecular Biology Reports in 2014 concluded that treatment of cells with NS extracts prior to infection with CoV decreased replication of the virus.