In my practice, I’m always looking to get the maximum benefit for my patients with the fewest needles. Similarly, I like using a single herb that offers the function of three. A great example of this is black fennel seed. This extensively researched1 herb is highly prized for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, liver protecting and anti-cancer properties.
This month’s issue of HerbalGram looks at this special herb as a treatment for asthma.
A Recent Study on Asthma
A recent study published in the Annals of Saudi Medicine1 looked at t e effect of Nigella (Nigela sativa) on controlling and decreasing exacerbations of asthma symptoms in patients with partially controlled asthma.
Included in the study were 76 participants, aged 18-65 who were already taking an oral corticosteroid. Participants were given a 1g capsule of ground nigella seed twice a day, a 2g capsule of ground nigella seed twice a day, or a placebo (charcoal pill) twice a day. Supplements were administered for 12 weeks. Participants were blind to the treatment, but researchers were not (aka single-blind study).
At baseline, all participants reported similar objective measures of lung function including forced expiratory flow (FEF) and Asthma Control Test (ACT) measures. While the placebo group showed no change in objective measures at the end of 12 weeks, the nigella groups showed statistically significant increases in 1) cytokine IFN-y levels 2) pulmonary function tests (FeNO) and higher baseline ACT scores.2 Interestingly, the 1g group showed benefits at both 6 and 12 weeks, while the 2g group only showed benefits at 12 wks.
The authors conclude that adding nigella to regular maintenance inhaler therapy can improve overall control and decrease exacerbations in patients with partly controlled asthma.3
What is Thymoquinone
Thymoquinone is the name of the main constituent of the essential oil taken from N. sativa (black fennel seed)..