A March 30, 2021 article in the Austrian site, MedMix (in German) claims that thymoquinone from black seed oil might be able to cure, or at least lessen the impact of, COVID-19.

It cites several references, including a May 2020 paper, Thymoquinone: shield and sword against SARS-CoV-2

Is this claim true?

  • 2
    Well, it looked quite bogus to me too but they published it in a non-predatory journal (apparently). In combination with the other provided publications, the science looks quite promising to me even though there aren't any clinical trials yet.
    – Hagbard
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 20:28
  • 6
    Deleted pseudo-answers in comments. Please use the lovely answer boxes that Stack Exchange provide just for this purpose.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 23:59
  • 1
    There's a clinical trial going on in Pakistan. Supposed to finish in July this year clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04767087 Commented May 23, 2021 at 19:30

1 Answer 1


There appears a plausible mechanism for Thymoquinone to be effective in treating/preventing COVID-19, and indeed as early as July 2020, it was stated that

"Therefore, the time is probably appropriate to move thymoquinone from experimentation on the bench to clinical testing for the Covid‐19 pandemic."

  • Ahmad A, Rehman MU, Ahmad P, Alkharfy KM. Covid‐19 and thymoquinone: Connecting the dots. Phytotherapy Research. 2020 Jun 26.

Numerous authors find the potential across numerous studies, including your study and the two below.

  • Xu, H., Liu, B., Xiao, Z., Zhou, M., Ge, L., Jia, F., ... & Wang, G. (2021). Computational and experimental studies reveal that thymoquinone blocks the entry of coronaviruses into in vitro cells. Infectious diseases and therapy, 10(1), 483-494
  • Badary, Osama A., Marwa S. Hamza, and Rajiv Tikamdas. "Thymoquinone: A Promising Natural Compound with Potential Benefits for COVID-19 Prevention and Cure." Drug Design, Development and Therapy 15 (2021): 1819.

The best answer I can offer is yes it is possible that Thymoquinone may potentially be a treatment for COVID-19 (a cure is a little too strong), but I can find no evidence Thymoquinone has progressed to later-phase clinical trials, so we may never be able to answer this question. The lack of advancement of a potential treatment to a later-phase clinical trial is common for many theorized treatments, even when treatment mechanisms are demonstrated. Later stage clinical trials are expensive, and only a few of the most likely candidates will make it to published and peer-reviewed later-phase clinical trials.

  • Mohammed said "cures everything but death itself". Pubmed says: 1568 articles, 47 RCTs (in general), 27 in relation to Covid (0 RCTs). So indeed: yes, very promising, tasty, well tolerated, and well for sure a good idea. As in: always. But "yes" in bold here? The Q is weakly phrased already ("help"), but you jump to "treatment" (plz, clarify that tension. ). Commented May 22, 2021 at 11:26
  • Lots of similar theoretical papers were published about HCQ, mind you. Later it turned out that the mechanisms it blocks isn't the main entry route for SARS-CoV-2. I've briefly scanned the first paper you cited (Xu et al.) It doesn't even mention TMPRSS2, so I'm not surprised it hasn't generated much excitement/citations. The same actually goes for Badary et al. Commented May 23, 2021 at 19:22
  • @fizz agree. Yes. Commented May 23, 2021 at 19:28
  • (H)CQ isn't 'proven bad', and for ref: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29932232 doi.org/10.3390/cells10020302 doi.org/10.26434/chemrxiv.12753539.v1 if that's what anyone requires Commented May 23, 2021 at 21:06
  • Seeing the comment below Q: medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.30.20217364v4 (preprint caveats as usual…) Commented May 25, 2021 at 12:02

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