That’s one thing that black seed suppliers will need to do more of: figure out just where, out of black seed’s many potential health benefits, to focus their science on. Sabinsa (East Windsor, NJ), which recently launched its Nigellin brand-name black seed ingredient, is currently considering this, said Sabinsa’s worldwide president, Shaheen Majeed, at SupplySide East. Last December, the company announced the results of a published, comparative study3 that evaluated Nigellin’s thymoquinone potency against others on the market. The ingredient is standardized to contain thymoquinone, thymohydroquinone, hederagenin, and rosmarinic acid.
“People are looking at Nigella sativa very closely,” Majeed said. What we’ve found is that black seed research is all over the place. You have studies looking at inflammation, but then you also have studies on the other side looking at allergies. You have studies looking at healthy blood sugar, cholesterol, you name it. We’re fascinated: this little seed can do a lot of wonders. So where does a company start to focus?”
Majeed said Sabinsa will be focusing on immune health, a category where the company feels black seed oil “can have an impact.”
“But we’re not going to stop there,” he added. “We’re going to do other types of studies on Nigellin. We want to do a study on immune health, and we want to do a study on blood sugar…We are just scratching the surface. It’s exciting.”
Black seed isn’t just a standalone ingredient. In fact, said Zelkha, some of its most valuable health impacts may be achieved in conjunction with other ingredients.
Omega-3 is one of them. Specifically, he said, adding 10%-20% of his company’s ThymoQuin black seed oil can help “boost” the anti-inflammatory potential of omega-3 oils. That’s because ThymoQuin is a potent anti-inflammatory. “We have similar effects on carotenoids such as astaxanthin, lutein, beta-carotene, and lycopene,” Zelkha said. “All that is boosting the anti-inflammation activities of the carotenoids.”
- Smith T et al. “Herbal supplement sales in US increased 8.5% in 2017, topping $8 billion.” HerbalGram. Issue 119 (Fall 2018): 62-71
- Licari M et al. “Beneficial effects of thymoquinone on metabolic function and fatty liver in a murine model of obesity.” Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences, vol. 9, no. 1 (March 6, 2019)
- Koshak AE et al. “Comparative immunomodulatory activity of Nigella sativa L. preparations on proinflammatory mediators: a focus on asthma.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol. 9 (2018)