Black Seed Oil for Coughs: A Natural Remedy Worth Exploring

By Dr. Hamad Shafqat | Edited By Samuel Kovac | Written on October 8, 2023

Black seed oil benefits | How it works | How to take | Side effects | Bottom line

Coughing is a common reflex that helps clear the airways of mucus and irritants, but when it becomes persistent and bothersome, finding a natural remedy can be a top priority. A remedy that has become increasingly popular in recent years is black seed oil. It is derived from the seeds of Nigella sativa, and has gained popularity as a potential solution for various health concerns, including coughs.

This article will discuss the potential benefits of black seed oil for coughs, how to take it, and provide some creative ways to incorporate it into one’s daily routine.

Understanding Black Seed Oil

What Is Black Seed Oil?

Black seed oil, also known as Nigella sativa oil, is extracted from the seeds of the Nigella sativa plant, which is native to South Asia and the Middle East. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine for its various therapeutic properties. The active compound responsible for many of its health benefits is thymoquinone, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent ( [Mahboubi M. Natural therapeutic approach of Nigella sativa (Black seed) fixed oil in management of Sinusitis. Integr Med Res. 2018 Mar;7(1):27-32. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2018.01.005. Epub 2018 Feb 2. PMID: 29629288; PMCID: PMC5884000.] ).

The Health Benefits of Black Seed Oil

Black seed oil has garnered attention for its potential to improve overall health and well-being. It is known to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. Beyond its potential for cough relief, black seed oil has been explored for its positive impact on conditions such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, and skin issues ( [Yimer EM, Tuem KB, Karim A, Ur-Rehman N, Anwar F. Nigella sativa L. (Black Cumin): A Promising Natural Remedy for Wide Range of Illnesses. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019 May 12;2019:1528635. doi: 10.1155/2019/1528635. PMID: 31214267; PMCID: PMC6535880.] ).

Black Seed Oil for Coughs: How Does It Work?

Alleviating Dry Coughs

Dry coughs are characterized by irritation and scratchiness in the throat, often without mucus production. Black seed oil may help soothe these coughs due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It can reduce irritation in the throat and ease the urge to cough incessantly ( [Mahboubi M. Natural therapeutic approach of Nigella sativa (Black seed) fixed oil in management of Sinusitis. Integr Med Res. 2018 Mar;7(1):27-32. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2018.01.005. Epub 2018 Feb 2. PMID: 29629288; PMCID: PMC5884000.] ). Consuming black seed oil in various forms, as discussed later in this article, can be particularly beneficial for dry cough relief.

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Relieving Wet Coughs

Wet coughs, on the other hand, involve the production of excess mucus in the airways. Black seed oil’s potential as an expectorant may help in loosening and expelling this mucus, providing relief for wet coughs. Its antimicrobial properties can also aid in combating the underlying infections that often trigger wet coughs ( [Hanafy MS, Hatem ME. Studies on the antimicrobial activity of Nigella sativa seed (black cumin). J Ethnopharmacol. 1991 Sep;34(2-3):275-8. doi: 10.1016/0378-8741(91)90047-h. PMID: 1795532.] ).

Managing Chesty Coughs

Chesty coughs are typically characterized by the presence of thick, sticky mucus that is difficult to clear. Black seed oil’s expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties can assist in thinning and expelling this mucus, making it easier to breathe and reducing discomfort in the chest.

Addressing Chronic Coughs

Chronic coughs persist for an extended period, often lasting more than eight weeks. While black seed oil may not be a definitive cure, its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties could provide some relief for those suffering from chronic coughs ( [Bordoni L, Fedeli D, Nasuti C, Maggi F, Papa F, Wabitsch M, De Caterina R, Gabbianelli R. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Nigella sativa Oil in Human Pre-Adipocytes. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Feb 25;8(2):51. doi: 10.3390/antiox8020051. PMID: 30823525; PMCID: PMC6406245.] ). It is essential to consult a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause of the chronic cough and seek appropriate treatment.

How to Take Black Seed Oil for Coughs

The versatility of black seed oil allows for various consumption methods, making it accessible to those looking to alleviate their cough symptoms. Here are some ways to incorporate black seed oil into your daily routine:

1. Black Seed Oil Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon of black seed oil
  • Optional: honey for sweetness

Instructions:

  • Boil a cup of water and let it cool slightly.
  • Add one teaspoon of black seed oil to the water.
  • If desired, stir in honey for sweetness.
  • Sip the tea slowly to soothe your throat and alleviate coughing.

2. Straight from the Spoon

Consuming black seed oil directly from a spoon is a straightforward and effective method. Take one teaspoon of black seed oil twice daily. It’s advisable to start with a smaller dose and gradually increase it as your body gets accustomed to it.

3. Steam Inhalation

Ingredients:

  • A pot of boiling water
  • A few drops of black seed oil

Instructions:

  • Boil a pot of water.
  • Remove it from heat and transfer it to a safe surface.
  • Add a few drops of black seed oil to the hot water.
  • Lean over the pot, covering your head with a towel to trap the steam.
  • Inhale the steam for 5-10 minutes, taking care not to get too close to avoid burns.
  • This method can help alleviate cough symptoms and clear your airways.
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4. Black Seed Oil Capsules

For those who find the taste of black seed oil unpleasant, capsules offer a convenient option. Follow the dosage instructions on the product label, typically one or two capsules per day.

5. Black Seed Oil in Drinks

You can add black seed oil to your favorite beverages, such as smoothies or juices, to mask the taste. Start with a small amount and adjust to your preference.

6. Combined with Honey

Mixing black seed oil with honey not only enhances the flavor but also provides additional throat-soothing benefits. Combine one teaspoon of black seed oil with one tablespoon of honey and consume it as needed to relieve cough symptoms.

Precautions and Potential Side Effects

While black seed oil offers numerous potential health benefits, it’s essential to use it responsibly and consult a healthcare professional, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or are taking medications. Some potential side effects and considerations include:

  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to black seed oil. If you experience hives, itching, or swelling after consumption, discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult a healthcare provider before using black seed oil, as its safety in these situations has not been thoroughly studied.
  • Medication Interactions: Black seed oil may interact with certain medications. A noteworthy consideration is the potential for interactions between black seed oil and medications metabolized through the cytochrome P450 pathway. Common medications susceptible to such interactions include beta-blockers such as metoprolol and anticoagulants like warfarin ( [Al-Jenoobi FI, Al-Thukair AA, Abbas FA, Ansari MJ, Alkharfy KM, Al-Mohizea AM, Al-Suwayeh SA, Jamil S. Effect of black seed on dextromethorphan O- and N-demethylation in human liver microsomes and healthy human subjects. Drug Metab Lett. 2010 Jan;4(1):51-5. doi: 10.2174/187231210790980435. PMID: 20201775.] [McDonnell AM, Dang CH. Basic review of the cytochrome p450 system. J Adv Pract Oncol. 2013 Jul;4(4):263-8. doi: 10.6004/jadpro.2013.4.4.7. PMID: 25032007; PMCID: PMC4093435.] ). Therefore, discussing any potential interactions with your healthcare provider is essential to ensure your safety and the effectiveness of your prescribed medications.
  • Quality Matters: Ensure you purchase high-quality, cold-pressed black seed oil from a reputable source to maximize its benefits.
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Bottom Line

Black seed oil has emerged as a natural remedy for coughs, offering a holistic approach to respiratory relief. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties make it a versatile option for addressing different types of coughs, from dry and wet to chesty and chronic. When used correctly and with caution, black seed oil can be a valuable addition to your cough management regimen.

Like all natural remedies, it is essential to seek guidance from a healthcare professional, particularly if you have underlying health conditions or are currently taking medications. Black seed oil should complement, not replace, medical advice and treatment.

While the scientific evidence supporting black seed oil’s efficacy is promising, ongoing research will provide further insights into its potential benefits for respiratory health. Incorporating black seed oil into one’s self-care routine, along with maintaining good hygiene practices and a healthy lifestyle, can contribute to better respiratory health and relief from troublesome coughs.

Remember to prioritize quality and safety when selecting black seed oil products, and always start with a moderate dose, gradually increasing it as needed while monitoring your body’s response. This natural remedy for coughs may hold the key to soothing coughs and enhancing one’s overall well-being.

  1. Mahboubi M. Natural therapeutic approach of Nigella sativa (Black seed) fixed oil in management of Sinusitis. Integr Med Res. 2018 Mar;7(1):27-32. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2018.01.005. Epub 2018 Feb 2. PMID: 29629288; PMCID: PMC5884000.
  2. Yimer EM, Tuem KB, Karim A, Ur-Rehman N, Anwar F. Nigella sativa L. (Black Cumin): A Promising Natural Remedy for Wide Range of Illnesses. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019 May 12;2019:1528635. doi: 10.1155/2019/1528635. PMID: 31214267; PMCID: PMC6535880.
  3. Hanafy MS, Hatem ME. Studies on the antimicrobial activity of Nigella sativa seed (black cumin). J Ethnopharmacol. 1991 Sep;34(2-3):275-8. doi: 10.1016/0378-8741(91)90047-h. PMID: 1795532.
  4. Bordoni L, Fedeli D, Nasuti C, Maggi F, Papa F, Wabitsch M, De Caterina R, Gabbianelli R. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Nigella sativa Oil in Human Pre-Adipocytes. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Feb 25;8(2):51. doi: 10.3390/antiox8020051. PMID: 30823525; PMCID: PMC6406245.
  5. Al-Jenoobi FI, Al-Thukair AA, Abbas FA, Ansari MJ, Alkharfy KM, Al-Mohizea AM, Al-Suwayeh SA, Jamil S. Effect of black seed on dextromethorphan O- and N-demethylation in human liver microsomes and healthy human subjects. Drug Metab Lett. 2010 Jan;4(1):51-5. doi: 10.2174/187231210790980435. PMID: 20201775.
  6. McDonnell AM, Dang CH. Basic review of the cytochrome p450 system. J Adv Pract Oncol. 2013 Jul;4(4):263-8. doi: 10.6004/jadpro.2013.4.4.7. PMID: 25032007; PMCID: PMC4093435.
  • Current Version
  • October 8, 2023
    • Written By: Dr. Hamad Shafqat
    • Edited By: Samuel Kovac