Black cumin or Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant belonging to the plant family “Ranunculaceae.” It is native to south and southwest Asia.
Studies report that black cumin contains a flavonoid which potentially reduces the risks of cancer. It inhibits the progression of a tumor. According to the researchers from Mansoura University in Egypt, thymoquinone, present in black cumin, possesses therapeutic and anti-cancer properties. Their study was published in the Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences. In their study, they investigated thymoquinone and its anti-cancer properties using a carcinoma animal model.
Black cumin is more popular in its oil form. It is used for cooking. Thymoquinone is a component of black cumin seeds. It’s a compound capable to hinder tumors and inflammation.
This study was exclusively carried out to examine that whether Thymoquinone has anti-cancer properties and if they are effective in-vivo.
For the study, researchers took male Swiss albino mice. They were divided into five groups as follow,
- Control group
- Mice orally injected with thymoquinone for four weeks
- Mice intramuscularly inoculated with Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cells
- Mice orally injected with thymoquinone for two weeks before the experiment and then intramuscularly inoculated with Ehrlich ascites carcinoma
- Mice injected with Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and thymoquinone at the same time, throughout the experiment
Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cells were used because they can develop rapidly, in just 14 days. The researchers regularly observed the mice throughout the experiments. They noted their body weight at regular intervals. The research team observed the following facts,
- The mice from the control group and mice from the thymoquinone-injected group showed similar percentages of body weight gain.
- The mice inoculated with Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cells only, showed a significant decrease in their body weight gain percentage.
- The mice from the fourth and fifth groups exhibited an increase in body weight. However, the percent weight gain was higher for the fourth than the fifth group.
The mice underwent treatment for a period of four weeks. Afterward, scientists sacrificed them and analyzed their liver and tumors further.
The results revealed that the mice inoculated with Ehrlich ascites carcinoma had an altered liver and cellular structure. On contrary, the mice treated with thymoquinone exhibited characteristics closer to the control group.
The observations led to the fact that thymoquinone provides better results prior to the treatment. Summing up the whole story, the scientists concluded that thymoquinone has anti-cancer properties. It is effective in preventing cancer and indicates that black cumin can effectively lower cancer risks.
Aside from preventing cancer, black cumin offers various other health benefits. These benefits are as follow,
- Studies show that black cumin effectively eradicates nasal congestion and itching. It also reliefs a runny nose, and sneezing within two weeks.
- Owing to a significant amount of bioactive compounds, like antioxidants, beneficial acids, and B-vitamins, black cumin enhances or boosts the immune system without causing any kind of autoimmune responses.
- Black cumin suppresses inflammatory mediators like prostaglandin and leukotrienes. Thus, it reduces excessive and undue inflammatory responses in the body. Moreover, thymoquinone can inhibit inflammation-induced activation of different signaling pathways. It also suppresses gene expressions of precursors for osteoclast. These anti-inflammatory properties of black cumin can also soothe and speed up the healing process of skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis.
- Studies indicate that black cumin is helpful against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and helminths. It also kills some superbugs and stands parallel to Amoxicillin, Gatifloxacin, and Tetracycline in this regard.
- A study showed that black cumin can effectively lower the blood sugar and cholesterol levels in diabetic models.