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The hay fever season is upon us and as pollen counts and tissue sales soar we review the evidence of the use black seed oil for hay fever treatment.
Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis is the most common manifestation of atopic reactions to pollen allergens leading to uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy and watery red eyes, a stuffy nose, itchy throat and lots of sneezing. Unfortunately, these symptoms can become so extreme that it blights the summer for many of us.
There is no confirmed cure for hay fever so most sufferers use medication for symptom relief. Some of these medications have negative side effects such as drowsiness and can cause withdrawal symptoms.
Black seed oil has been utilized for its healing properties around the world for thousands of years. Today modern scientific studies have shed light on the way this powerful natural remedy affects our bodies. We know from many studies that black seed oil has modulatory effects on our immune systems up-regulating and down-regulating components. [i]
In this article we will look at studies that examined the effects of black seed (Nigella sativa) oil as a therapy in allergic rhinitis.
Study 1 - Evaluation of topical black seed oil in the treatment of allergic rhinitis.
This study looked at therapeutic efficacy of the black seed (Nigella sativa) oil as treatment approach for allergic rhinitis.
A total of 68 patients with allergic rhinitis were included in the study. 19 patients with mild symptoms, 28 patients with moderate symptoms and 21 patients were with severe symptoms of allergy. All patients were confirmed to have allergy through skin prick testing. Any individual with a negative skin test was excluded.
Patients were randomized into treatment and control groups. The treatment group received black seed oil and the control group vegetable oil. Participants were told to use the oil as nasal drops. Each individual applied 2 drops nasally (one in each nostril) 3 times a day for 6 weeks.
After the 6 weeks treatment course, 100% of the patients in the mild active group became symptom free; while in moderate active group 68.7% became symptom free and 25% were improved; while in severe active group 58.3% became symptoms free and 25% were improved. In addition, 92.1% of total patients in the active group demonstrated improvement in their symptoms or were symptoms free, while the corresponding value was 30.1% in the control group. This was a highly statistically significant result.
At the end of 6 weeks of treatment with topical use, the improvement in tolerability to allergen exposure in treatment group was 55.2% of participants, which was significant as compared with control group, which was 20% of participants.
The most improvement in symptom by treatment black seed oil was nasal drip, followed by nasal itching, sneezing, nasal congestion and improvement of sleep. The only side effect of systemic black seed oil topical treatment was reported as nasal dryness (17.8%) in the treatment group.
The authors concluded that topical application of black seed oil as nose drops are effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, with only minimal side effects.
Study 2 - Effect of Nigella sativa (black seed) on subjective feeling in patients with allergic diseases.
A paper published from Institute for Transfusion Medicine, Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany examined the results of four studies on the clinical efficacy of Nigella sativa in allergic diseases including in these studies, a total of 152 patients with allergic diseases (allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, atopic eczema) were treated with Nigella sativa oil.
Patients were given capsules of black seed oil at a dose of 40 to 80 mg/kg/day. Patients were asked to subjectively score severity of allergy symptoms using a predefined scale.
The allergy symptoms score decreased over the course of treatment with black seed oil in all four studies for all allergic diseases. The paper concluded that black seed oil proved to be an effective adjuvant for the treatment of allergic diseases.
Study 3 - Herbal treatment of allergic rhinitis: the use of Nigella sativa.
This study examined the symptomatic effect of black seed oil on allergic rhinitis symptoms in patients.
Characteristics of the disease, including nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy nose, and sneezing attacks, were evaluated at the start of the study and up to the end of the study (day 30) an observer completed the symptoms severity questionnaire.
A total of 66 patients with allergic rhinitis, were included (22 males (33.3%) and 44 females (66.7%)). The mean age of participants was 47 years.
The results showed that black seed oil reduces the presence of the nasal mucosal congestion, nasal itching, runny nose, sneezing attacks, turbinate hypertrophy, and mucosal pallor during the first 2 weeks (day 15).
These findings are consistent with evidence that the anti-allergic effects of N. sativa components could be beneficial in allergic rhinitis. The authors concluded that black seed oil should be considered for treating allergic rhinitis.
The three studies all conducted on humans have found significant benefit in treating allergic rhinitis (hay fever) with black seed oil both by oral intake and topical application as nose drops.
The benefits seen are likely to be due to the effects of black seed oil on the immune response1 and also its anti-histamine effects.
This backs some of the traditional and ancient uses of black seed oil still practiced around the world today.
For additional research on natural approaches to Hay Fever, consult the Greenmedinfo.com database on the topic: Natural Allergy Research.
 Salem ML. Immunomodulatory and therapeutic properties of the Nigella sativa L. seed. Int Immunopharmacol. 2005;5:1749–1770.
 Alsamarai AM, Abdulsatar M, Ahmed Alobaidi AH. Evaluation of topical black seed oil in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Antiinflamm Antiallergy Agents Med Chem. 2014 Mar;13(1):75-82.
 Kalus U, Pruss A, Bystron J, et al. Effect of Nigella sativa (black seed) on subjective feeling in patients with allergic diseases. Phytother Res. 2003 Dec;17(10):1209-14.
 Nikakhlagh S, Rahim F, Aryani FH, et al. Herbal treatment of allergic rhinitis: the use of Nigella sativa. Am J Otolaryngol. 2011 Sep-Oct;32(5):402-7.
 Chakravarty N. Inhibition of histamine release from mast cells by nigellone. Ann Allergy. 1993 Mar;70(3):237-42.