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Nigella sativa L. seed and seed oil: potential sources of high-value components for development of functional foods and nutraceuticals/pharmaceuticals

Mukhtar, Hamid, Qureshi, Aminah Suhail, Anwar, Farooq, Mumtaz, Muhammad Waseem, Marcu, Monica
TheJournal of essential oil research 2019 v.31 no.3 pp. 171-183
Nigella sativa, active ingredients, analgesics, antioxidants, essential oils, food plants, functional foods, linoleic acid, medicinal properties, quinones, seed oils, spices, therapeutics
Black cumin (Nigella sativa L., Kalonji), is a well-known medicinal food plant with a long history of ethno-medicinal uses. Its active ingredients are mainly concentrated in the essential oil of the seed. The plant has been widely used as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, antioxidant and gastro-protective agent. It has been demonstrated that the therapeutic properties of N. sativa are due to the presence of thymoquinone, a major biologically active constituent of the essential oil, along with other high-value components such as linoleic acid, nigellone (dithymoquinone), nigilline, melanthin, and trans-anethole. The present review mainly focuses on the detailed phytochemical, nutritional, and therapeutic aspects of the seed and seed oil of N. sativa so as to explore their potential applications for the development of innovative functional foods, nutraceuticals, and pharmaceuticals as well as to help establish the scientific basis for the widespread traditional medicinal uses of this multipurpose spice.