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. – Allwell Okpi
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.
Fighting coronavirus misinformation
Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Learn more about the alliance here.
© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.