Black Seed Oil in Asthma

Black seeds (also called cumin) come from a plant called the Nigella sativa (also called black caraway, black cumin, or kalonji).  The seeds are used as a spice or a natural remedy in among various cultures, and the oil can be extracted from the seeds. 

Black seed oil contains many molecules including thymoquinone which has been shown have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; however more research is needed.

Black Seed Oil in Adults with Asthma

A review of 7 small studies of 1-2 grams per day of black seed powder or oil (for 1-3 months) in adults with asthma showed improvements in clinical symptoms (e.g. chest wheezing), lung function test scores, and/or markers of asthma-associated inflammation in the blood, as well as decreased inhaler use.  Though the results were positive, the studies reviewed had a small number of subjects (from 15-80), thus larger, blinded clinical studies can be conducted to confirm these effects.

Non-clinical Studies

Black seed oil was originally tested in rats designed to produce an allergic response to egg white protein. The rats who were administered black seed oil showed decreases in inflammatory immune cells and lesions in the lungs. It also reduced proteins involved in allergic inflammation in the blood.


Koshak A, Koshak E, Heinrich M. Medicinal benefits of Nigella sativa in bronchial asthma: A literature review. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal. 2017 Dec 1;25(8):1130-6.

Shahzad M, Yang X, Asim MR, Sun Q, Han Y, Zhang F, Cao Y, Lu S. Black seed oil ameliorates allergic airway inflammation by inhibiting T-cell proliferation in rats. Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2009 Feb 1;22(1):37-43.