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Compelling research links liver health with black seed and lemon balm

Friday October 5, 2018
Compelling research links liver health with black seed and lemon balm

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a chronic condition that affects 1 in 3 adults in the UK (1). The accumulation of fat around the liver can eventually lead to permanent liver damage if left untreated. Managing NAFLD can be achieved by adopting healthy diet and lifestyle habits. According to new compelling research, supplementing the diet with black seed and lemon balm can further improve liver health (2).

A recent trial conducted by S. Hosseini et. al in the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran, investigated the effects of black seed (Nigella Sativa) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) supplementation on patients with NAFLD (2). Fifty participants with the condition took a daily supplement mixture consisting of 20mg black seed and lemon balm for 18 months.

Compared to placebo, the treatment group experienced a significant reduction in liver enzymes (AST and ALT) and grade of fatty liver. Elevated levels of liver enzymes indicate that the liver may be damaged.

As noted by S. Hosseini, it is suggested that lemon balm may improve liver function and adipose tissue function, as well as help reduce dangerous visceral fat that may lead to NAFLD. Furthermore, thymoquinone, an active component of black seed, may reduce oxidative stress to the cells in the liver (hepatocytes) and reduce lipid profiles.



As this trial was the first of its kind, the researchers at Mashhad University encouraged future trials of larger durations and more participants, to further add to the pool of evidence. Nonetheless, lemon balm and black seed have been used for centuries in traditional medical practices, and may have a promising effect on liver function.  


Author: Salma Dawood is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Human Nutrition.


1)      NICE Guidelines (2016) Available at:
2)      Seyed Mousal-Reza Hosseini, Gholam Reza Ghayour Razmgah et. al (2018) Efficacy of Black Seed (Nigella sativa) and Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) on Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial, Iran Red Crescent Med J. In Press(In Press):e59183


The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Nutrition News and ViewsLiver, Nigella Sativa, Melissa officinalis


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