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Black seed oil medicinal, but not proven cure for Covid-19

A Facebook post claims black seed oil is a “solution” to Covid-19 as the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, said it “cures all diseases”.

“COVID-19 SOLUTION: YET ANOTHER REMINDER. ‘Black seed oil cures all diseases except death,’ says Prophet Muhammad (SAW),” the 13 July 2020 post reads.

The Prophet Muhammad is quoted as saying this, or a version of this, in the Hadith. This is a record of the prophet’s actions and sayings and, according to Britannica, “revered and received as a major source of religious law and moral guidance, second only to the authority of the Quran, the holy book of Islam”.

But is it correct to say that the oil of black seed, also known as black cumin, cures Covid-19?

‘Incorrect without scientific evidence’ 

A cure for any disease cannot be presented without scientific evidence, Marycelin Baba, a professor of medical virology at Nigeria’s University of Maiduguri, told Africa Check.

“It can only be determined by scientific study. The people that make the claim should provide scientific evidence,” she said.  

The post does not provide any scientific evidence for its claim.

Black seed has potential as antiviral 

Black seed is produced by the plant Nigella sativa, which is native to north Africa, southern Europe and southwest Asia. It is cultivated in many countries of the world and widely used in traditional systems of medicine.

But Africa Check could find no specific studies that found black seed oil cured Covid-19.

However, the abstract of a study, published on 12 June on the World Health Organization website, reveals that scientists are looking at the potential of Nigella sativa compounds as a natural antiviral for the treatment of the coronavirus disease.

The study, done in Pakistan, notes that Nigella sativa is used as a medicinal plant and has been reported in several studies to treat different diseases such as influenza, headache, hypertension, diabetes, inflammation, eczema, fever, cough, asthma and bronchitis.

The abstract says the study checked the therapeutic potentials of black seed’s chief constituents against Covid-19

The authors say a compound in the seed, “if validated in wet-lab experiments, could be used to treat Covid-19 and could serve as a lead in the future for the more effective natural antivirals against Covid-19”.

Both the WHO and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control say there is still no specific and proven cure for Covid-19. “However, there are many ongoing clinical trials to test various potential antivirals,” the NCDC says.

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