Antiviral effect of Nigella sativa may protect covid patients
Black cumin, the spice made up of the ground seeds of Nigella sativa, has an antiviral effect that may increase the survival rate of covid patients, speeding their recovery. This is suggested by a human study by doctors from Pakistan.





Study

The researchers divided 313 covid patients into a placebo group and an experimental group.The subjects in the experimental group were given 1 gram of honey and 80 milligrams of Nigella sativa powder per kilogram of body weight every day. The powder was not an extract, but consisted of finely ground dried seeds of the Nigella sativa.
The two main active ingredients in honey and Nigella sativa respectively are probably quercetin and thymoquinone respectively.
Virologists suspect, based on silico studies, that thymoquinone [structural formula on the right] makes it more difficult for viruses to enter cells and to multiply. [Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 2020;93:100602.] In addition, Nigella sativa contains zinc and vitamin C.Results
During the 30 days that the researchers followed the subjects, the risk of death in the patients who were seriously ill was more than 4 times higher in the placebo group than in the experimental group.

In the figure below, the researchers compared these results with the results of other recent studies in which covid patients were treated with pharmacological substances.







Supplementation with Nigella sativa and honey not only reduced the risk of death, but also accelerated the recovery from the virus infection. Six days after the supplementation started, half of the critically ill patients in the experimental group had already returned home. In the placebo group this was only 2.8 percent.
According to PCR tests, the virus disappeared in the blood of the subjects in the experimental groups more quickly than in the blood of the subjects in the placebo groups.









Conclusion
"In COVID-19 patients, honey and Nigella sativa with standard care therapy resulted in earlier viral clearance, symptomatic relief, clinical improvement and mortality reduction", the researchers summarize their findings.

"Moreover, similarly to previous research no adverse effects were reported regarding honey and Nigella sativa."
Source:
MedRxiv 2020.10.30.20217364; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.30.20217364.