Hashimoto’s disease and Nigella sativa, or black cumin seed extract, are highly related when considering the health-promoting effect of this medicinal plant in ameliorating the disease severity.
According to research, black cumin seed extract can be considered as a useful therapeutic approach in management of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Today, we will delve a little deeper into the great benefits of black cumin seed extract for the health of our thyroid.
What is Hashimoto’s disease?
According to The American Thyroid Association, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (Lymphocytic Thyroiditis), refers to an “inflammation of the thyroid gland” and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States.
The thyroid is a small gland with butterfly-shaped located in the front of our neck. Thyroid hormones control how our body uses energy, so they affect nearly every organ in the body, included our heart beats. Hence, with an insufficient amount of thyroid hormones, many of our body’s functions are impaired and slowed down.
Hashimoto’s disease then, is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies directed against the thyroid gland lead to chronic inflammation.
It is not known why some people make antibodies, although this condition tends to run in families. Over time, however, this results in impaired ability of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones, leading to gradual decline in function and eventually an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis occurs most commonly in middle aged women, but can be seen at any age, and can also affect men, and children. The disease affects 2% of general population and is about ten times more prevalent in women than in men.
A significant proportion of patients have asymptomatic chronic autoimmune thyroiditis and 8% of woman (10% of woman over 55 years of age) and 3% of men have subclinical hypothyroidism.
Also, a person is more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease if they have other autoimmune disorders such as: Addison’s disease, autoimmune hepatitis, celiac disease, lupus, pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, type 1 diabetes and vitiligo, among others.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
Hashimoto’s disease often is subclinical, mild and without symptoms. Especially early in the illness they are not specific, and can mimic the symptoms of many other conditions. When it progresses, one or more of the following symptoms may appear:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Joint and muscle pain
- Modest weight gain
- Cold intolerance
- Excessive sleepiness
- Dry, coarse hair
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Muscle cramps
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Decreased concentration
- Vague aches and pains
- Swelling of the legs
- Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
- Difficulty to becoming pregnant
- Memory problems
- Slowed heart rate
While hypothyroidism becomes more severe, there may be puffiness around the eyes, a slowing of the heart rate, a drop in body temperature, and heart failure.
In its most harmful form, severe hypothyroidism may lead to a life-threatening coma (myxedema coma). Myxedema coma tends to be triggered by severe illness, surgery, stress, or traumatic injury. This condition requires hospitalization and immediate treatment with thyroid hormone.
Other symptoms and signs include:
- Swelling of the thyroid gland (due to the inflammation), which can cause a feeling of tightness or fullness in the throat.
- A lump in the front of the neck from the enlarged thyroid gland called a goiter.
- Difficulty swallowing solids and/or liquids due to the enlargement of the thyroid gland with compression of the esophagus.
Hashimoto’s disease and Nigella sativa (Black cumin seed)
Essential oils have gained a very important place as an alternative therapy for certain types of diseases and conditions that complicate the balance of our health. However, vegetable oils, although not yet expanded, also have a fundamental and no less important role in delivering multiple benefits for an endless number of ailments.
Autoimmune thyroiditis, chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s disease, is one of those illness that can be supported in its treatment with the consumption of black cumin seed oil (Nigella sativa) or other derivative such powdered Nigella sativa.
An interesting study published in November 2016, showed a potent beneficial effect of powdered Nigella sativa in improving thyroid status and anthropometric variables in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
In the conducted research, treatment with Nigella sativa significantly reduced body weight and body mass index (BMI). In addition, serum concentrations of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and anti-thyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO) antibodies also decreased, while serum T3 concentrations increased in Nigella sativa-treated group after 8 weeks.
Besides, there was a significant reduction in serum VEGF concentrations in intervention group, and none of these changes had been observed in placebo treated group.
It should be noted that black cumin seed oil does not contain the many side effects of Levothyroxine, a conventional medicine used for this disease.
About Nigella sativa
The seeds of Nigella sativa, known as black seeds or black cumin, have long been used in folk medicine in the middle and Far East as a traditional remedy for a wide range of disease including infections, obesity, hypertension and gastrointestinal complaints. Its most prominent constituent with well- known antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties is thymoquinone.
Thymoquinone has potential cytoprotective and anti-inflammatory effects; it has been reported that its anti-inflammatory effects are induced by up-regulated expression of heme-oxygenase-1 and suppression of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in different cell lines.
You may also like:Black Cumin Seed Oil Uses and Benefits for Health
Also, Thymoquinone differentially modulated thyroid hormones and improved thyroid status in rats.
The therapeutic effects of Nigella sativa against hypothyroidism is mostly attributed to its antioxidant effects which have been proved in numerous studies. It has also been suggested that Nigella sativa protects the hyperplasia changes of thyroid parenchyma in hypothyroid rats.
If you want to know even more about the benefits of this wonderful herb, we recommend the following book:
Black Cumin – $12.95
from: Starwest Botanicals Inc.
About the study of Hashimoto’s disease and Nigella sativa
The research work aimed to evaluate the effects of black cumin seed (Nigella sativa) on thyroid function, serum Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) – 1, Nesfatin-1 and anthropometric features in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
To perform the study, random permuted block procedure was performed, and 47 participants were randomly allocated into Nigella sativa-treated (23 patients) or placebo-treated (24 patients) groups.
During the trial, three patients in Nigella sativa-treated group were excluded from the study because of itching and nausea; while four patients in control group refused to continue the trial.
Therefore, totally 20 patients in each group completed the study. Patients in the intervention group received a daily dose of 2 g black cumin seed powder per day, and placebo group received 2 g starches per day, during 8 weeks.
The dose of Nigella sativa and time period of the study was selected according to review of previous studies indicating the effectiveness of 2 g of Nigella sativa or even lesser doses, and 8 weeks study duration in treatment of numerous metabolic disorders including immune disturbances and lipid abnormalities.
In the investigation, beneficial effects of black cumin seed in improving thyroid status were demonstrated, reducing VEGF and body weight in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Although no significant change in serum Nesfatin-1 concentrations has been observed, change in anthropometric variables and thyroid hormones were significant predictors of changes in serum Nesfatin-1 concentrations.
Where to find Black Cumin Seed Extract?
Fortunately, black cumin seed extracts are not hard to find. Nowadays we can easily acquire them in specialized herbal stores or online naturist suppliers.
There are studies that point out that black cumin seed oil is more concentrated than its powder. However, there is also research that states that thymoquinone (the most prominent constituent and with higher properties on it) extraction from nigella sativa seeds is more potent in its powder.
The truth is that both formats of this extract have the therapeutic qualities that we are looking for.
Now, there are people who prefer one more than another, everything is a matter of taste.
Below you will find some of the different alternatives that exist today in the market:
First, we highly recommend black cumin seed oil from Star West Botanicals, one of our favorites in terms of quality and price:
Our Organic Black Cumin Seed Oil is cold pressed from the organic seed of Nigella sativa, thus retaining its valuable nutrients. This remarkable “black seed” has had a very rich traditional history over the centuries, containing over 100 compounds, including vitamins, trace elements, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. It has a spicy, pungent, nutty flavor and aroma with notes of black peppercorns.
The following are also good quality Nigella sativa extracts that you can find on Amazon. They come in format of powder, soft gel oil capsules and bottled oil:
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We hope this information is useful for you, however, do not forget to visit your doctor, since Hashimoto’s disease must be constantly monitored to avoid having the many typical adverse reactions of the illness.
While it is true, black cumin seed extract helps in the treatment of this disorder, it should not replace the medical protocol in any way.