Nigella sativa for allergies, osteoporosis and flatulence

black cumin on wooden surface

Nigella sativa and its active constituents have been shown to possess antioxidant, anti-parasitic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, pain killing, and fever lowering properties, in addition to treating coughs, slowing the growth of some cancers, as well as inducing cancer cell death in cervical, liver, colon, lung and certain types of breast cancers [1].

Please bear in mind these are usually highly concentrated formulations involving various forms of chemical extraction and usually tested on animals. 

A 2012 review published in the journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, outlines how nigella sativa is believed to work to prevent osteoporosis. The article shares that inflammation is mediated by two enzymes, cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase, which generate prostaglandins and leukotrines from arachidonic acid [2]. Thymoquinone, nigella sativa’s active constituent, inhibits both in a dose dependent manner. The study proposes that nigella sativa or thymoquinone works to prevent osteoporosis in two ways:

1. By inhibiting cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase

2. By neutralising free radicals

Thereby preventing inflammation from contributing to increased bone reabsorption and loss.

In 2014 a study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine notes that lack of oestrogen is linked to osteoporosis and that in their animal study nigella sativa reversed low oestrogen induced changes on bone density [3].

A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery found nigella sativa to be effective in alleviating nasal allergy symptoms. Particularly nasal congestion, itching, runny nose, sneezing attacks, and that it should be considered for treating allergic rhinitis “when the effects of other antiallergic drugs need to be avoided.” [3a].

A placebo controlled study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research noted significant improvements in how patients graded their allergic symptoms when treated with nigella sativa oil versus the placebo group. Symptoms included allergist rhinitis, atopic eczema, bronchial asthma. Adverse effects in children were mainly related to gastrointestinal complaints when the oil was taken on an empty stomach [4].

Please do not administer nigella sativa or any other natural supplement to a child without the consent of your doctor, and even to yourself. Like medication, supplements can have significant adverse effects. 

Wikipedia tells me that the gastric mucosal barrier is “a property of the stomach that allows it to contain acid” and that if compromised, by aspirin for example, acid can leak and damage the stomach. Like in gastritis for example. In this 2006 study published in the Archives of Toxicology, rat gastric mucosal damage was confirmed by the significant increase in mast cells and gastric erosions. Treatment with nigella sativa significantly lowered the number of mast cells and reduced the size of gastric erosions. Using thymoquinone, nigella’s active constituent alone did not yield as significant healing [5].

I always try to eat the whole food rather than rely on extracts. 

You’ll find recipes full of foods with antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties my books Anti-Recipes and The Anti-Cookbook

Take the hassle out of meal planning and healing histamine with this four week meal planner and stress relieving program. 

Staying with all things gastric…in a 2011 study in the Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons researchers revealed that nigella sativa healed aspirin induced ulcers in rats as effectively as the antihistamine Cimetidine [6]. This antihistamine is known to negatively impact the histamine lowering diamine oxidase (DAO) enzyme [7].

Honey also had this effect on the ulcers, but I would choose nigella sativa over a highly processed, sugary treat any day. Manuka honey is something I apply topically due to its antibacterial properties (though the jury is still apparently out on whether that’s effective), or sometimes I’ll suck on the lozenges, but I go for a seriously high methylglyoxal content.

Interestingly nigella has been shown to be effective in flatulence [8], something I can attest to first hand. Yes, I did just admit to that, but in the grand scheme of things I’ve shared on this blog it doesn’t seem like a biggie. Having spent decades nursing a basketball stomach so bloated that I often could neither pass wind nor belch,  the discovery (by chance) that nigella relieved me and my loved ones of fumes so noxious they made dung beetles run for cover, was a huge blessing. There’s only so much control one can exercise during the daytime, and it’s many a time that the machine gun patter of my swollen tubes finally exhaling startled me awake from deepest sleep.

I’ve been using nigella sativa in my cooking since embracing a nutrient dense antihistamine and anti-inflammatory rich diet rather than a standard low histamine one. I’ll be sharing the basics of the diet and explaining how to work nigella sativa and other ingredients into your diet in my upcoming 90 minute online workshop. Sign up here to learn when the course is going live.  [convertkit form=4845764] There’ll be limited space so don’t miss out!

You’ll find recipes full of foods with antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties my books Anti-Recipes and The Anti-Cookbook

Take the hassle out of meal planning and healing histamine with this four week meal planner and stress relieving program. 

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Check out these other Healing Histamine blog posts


Yasmina was an award-winning broadcast journalist with a decade of experience covering war zones for CNN and the BBC. She devoted her journalism skills to researching and writing about histamine. Click here to learn about her. Each post is carefully and fully referenced with the latest scientific research. Not sure where to start? Here’s a four week meal plan and overall Histamine Reset.

4 Week Histamine Reset

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