Recent studies have confirmed that black cumin seed oil (nigella sative) can inhibit cancer cell activity and is an effective cancer treatment, at least in animal studies. The black cumin seed oil and its extract (thymoquinone) are a powerful weapon against liver cancer, melanoma, pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, bone cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, prostate cancer, colon cancer and brain cancer.
Besides decades of black cumin oil research, scientists have not yet made any advances in human clinical tests, even with almost no risk of side effects.
As we can conclude from some studies, black seed oil is an efficient way of treatment for many types of cancer. However, it is still doesn’t get enough recognition from modern medicine. This article will try to examine the political pressures that might be holding back tests on humans, and will also try to learn why the drug industry wishes to subdue the use of black seed oil.
This oil has been used as cancer treatment for millennia
Two separate studies in 2011 (Chinese and Saudi Arabian), were reviewing the literature on the use of black cumin seed oil as cancer treatment. They found out that the oil has been used for centuries as a traditional cancer remedy, and confirmed its anti-cancer properties. The oil and its extract are effective in the treatment of many diseases, including various types of cancer, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, asthma, kidney disease and many more.
The scientist also noted that the exact mechanism behind its anti-cancer properties is still not completely understood. Some studies suggest that the thymoquinone has an antioxidant role and reinforces the immune system. What we know for sure is that the black cumin seed oil induces apoptosis in cancer cells, without compromising the immunity. It controls the Akt pathway as well, meaning that it has control over the cell survival of all cells in the body, healthy and cancerous. Although nigella sativa’s power is known for thousands of years, modern medicine has recognized it only recently, in the last two to three decades.
Traditional medicine is right – black cumin seed and honey work together
Egyptian scientists have been studying the effect of honey and black cumin seed oil on oxidative stress and cancer by exposing rats to a strong carcinogen. Four groups in total were exposed to the carcinogen – some groups were then fed black seeds or honey, and only one group was fed with both ingredients combined. After 6 months, the rats were evaluated – the ones that ate only black cumin seeds had 80% protection against oxidative stress and cancer formation, but the group that was fed black cumin seeds and honey had 100% protection against oxidative stress, cancer formation and inflammatory responses.
Black seeds oil is great for radiation treatment
A 2014 Turkish study researched how the oil can help to people on radiation treatment for cancer. They learned that many of these patients experience severe side effects during and after the treatment. The study explored the effects of the oil on irradiated rats. The rats were first exposed to a single dose of gamma radiation. One group was given a gram of the oil an hour before radiation and received a 10 gr. dose for the next 10 days. The other group was given a saline solution. The control group was not irradiated. When the data was analyzed, it showed that black cumin seed oil reduces the oxidative stress markers and has potent antioxidant effects, augmenting the antioxidant capacity in the liver tissues of rats. So, administering the oil before radiation and for 10 days afterwards protected the rodents from the harmful radiation effects.
In 2012, an Indian study explored the effects of the oil on mice exposed to gamma radiation. For the test, a group of normal and a group of tumor bearing mice were researched. The mice were given black seed extract before the radiation (100 mg. per 1 kg. of body weight). The black seed oil protected the spleen, liver, brain and intestines from the harmful effects of the radiation in both groups. This confirmed the protective effects of black cumin seed oil against radiation damage and biochemical alterations. The effect was due to the antioxidant properties of the seeds and their ability to hunt free radicals. This way, the black cumin seed extract can be used on human cancer patients who are receiving cancer radiation therapy, to subdue the harmful side effects, protect against oxidative stress in the normal issues, and essentially improve the life of the patients.
Black Seeds Interfere with Uncontrolled Cell Growth and Kill Liver Cancer Cells
In 2013, a study in India explored the effects of thymoquinone in two groups of rats. One group was given 0.01% thymoquinone water to drink, while the other was given plain water. After 16 weeks, the liver cancer nodules, injury markers and tumor markers were measured – they showed significant decrease in the size of the tumor markers in the group that drank water with thymoquinone. They did not develop new cancer nodules as well. This confirmed the thymoquinone’s beneficial role in treatment of liver cancer, and its strong ability to prevent proliferation of cancer cells.
A 2012 Egyptian study explored the anti-tumor effects of the combination of bee honey and black cumin seed oil on human liver cancer cells in laboratory experiments. The antioxidant capacity of both the honey and oil was examined, as well as their abilities to eliminate cancerous cells. The results showed that both ingredients were efficient in reducing the viability of cancer cells, and improved the antioxidant status of cells besides inducing apoptosis.
Black seeds oil kills lung cells
Saudi Arabian scientists stated in 2014 that black seeds have been used in traditional medicine to treat various diseases for a long time. Their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties are well-known. They conducted a study which investigated the anti-cancer activity of the oil and black seed extract used against human lung cancer cells in a laboratory. The cancer cells were exposed to 0.01 mg/ml of the oil and 1mg/ml of the extract, with the cells’ viability evaluated afterwards. The results showed that both the extract and the oil considerably reduced the population of the living cancer cells and changed their cellular morphology. They also concluded that the level of cell death increased with the greater concentration of the oil or extract. The cells lost their typical appearance and became smaller in size as well.
Black Seed Components Kill Malignant Brain Cancer Cells
In 2013, scientists at the Ohio State University published a study that suggested that glioblastoma is the most aggressive and most common type of malignant brain tumor in humans. They concluded that there was a need for additional therapies for treatment of this type of brain tumor. As natural phytochemicals possess strong tumor killing abilities, the study focused on thymoquinone. It has selective cytotoxic properties for human cells, meaning that it kills the cancer cells and leaves the normal ones untouched.
The study also explored thymoquinone’s ability to selectively inhibit the cancer cells of the brain and spinal cord to make clones of themselves, while not hampering the normal cell activity in the brain and spinal cord. The black seed extract can also inhibit autophagy genes in cancer cells. Autophagy in cancer cells enables the continued growth in cancer cells by keeping the cellular energy production. When inhibited, the energy production will suffer too, resulting in tumor regression and extending the survival of the tumor affected organs. This means that thymoquinone provides a new exciting strategy for cancer treatment.
Black seeds inhibit breast cancer
A 2013 from Malaysia researched the anti-cancer properties of the black seed extract on human breast cancer cells. Thymoquinone showed a potent ability to inhibit the cancer cells proliferation in long-term treatment. The size of the dose determined the length of the inhibition – the larger the dose, the greater the inhibition.
Black Seeds Kill Leukemia Cells
The same Malaysian study from 2013 concluded that there was a growing interest about the use of natural compounds with anti-cancer properties from traditional medicine. Nigella sativa was one of the most studied plants. This amazing herb grows in countries around the Mediterranean Sea and India. The study explored the effects of thymoquinone and its induction of apoptosis in an acute leukemia cell line. The results proved that thymoquinone showed promising signs that it can successfully be used for the treatment of leukemia.
Black Seed Oil Inhibits and Kills Colon Cancer Cells
Scientists from the University of Mississippi Medical Center stated in 2007 that 5-fluorouracil, a chemotherapy drug was still the best way for treatment of colon cancer. However, they noted that the drug has terrible side effects due to its ability to attack the healthy and cancerous cells. They responded to some previous research that explored the effects of antioxidants on cancer. The scientists studied epigallocatechin-3-gallate closely – this is the primary catechin in green tea, similar to the thymoquinone in black seeds. The black cumin seeds are known for their hunting abilities. They inhibit oxidative stress, and are used in the Middle East for centuries for various diseases.
The study wanted to examine the role of sustained delivery of thymoquinone from black seeds, catechin from the green tea and the 5-FU drug on the metabolic activity and structural alterations in human colon cancer cells. The results showed that thymoquinone and the green tea catechin have almost the same effects as the chemotherapy drug 5-FU. The induced apoptosis and hampered with many cellular metabolic functions. The cellular changes occurred after 24 hours of exposure to the green tea catechin or thymoquinone – this is comparable to the cellular changes seen in the cells exposed to 5-fluorouracil, meaning that the natural way of treatment is a good substitute for chemotherapy in cases of colon cancer.
An earlier Lebanese study from 2004 recognized the potent anti-cancer effect of the black seed oil. The scientists noted that the oil was used in Asia, Africa and the Middle East for a long time in order to preserve health and fight diseases. The research stated: “Thymoquinone, the most abundant constituent present in black seed, is a promising dietary agent for preventing cancer. We investigated the effects of thymoquinone against human colon cancer cells. We report that thymoquinone inhibits the growth of colon cancer cells. Our data support the potential for using thymoquinone for the treatment of colon cancer.”
Black Seeds Useful for Helicobacter pylori Infection
Some Saudi Arabian scientists in 2010 found that a bigger number of diseases are linked to H. Pylori, especially chronic active gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. Treatment of the bacterium with antimicrobial agents can lead to regression of the diseases related to H. Pylori. However, the bacterium is rapidly increasing the resistance to certain medications, so it is necessary to find new alternative treatments. The black oil seed can successfully kill off H. Pylori.
The study tried to find how exactly efficient is the black seed oil in treatment and elimination of H. Pylori. The patients were divided into four groups which received different combinations of antibiotics (clarithromycin and/or amoxicillin) or anti gastric reflex (omeprazole) and black seed oil. The results proved that the black seeds have anti-H.Pylori activity comparable to all three other drugs tested.
What is the future of Nigella sativa?
Combining Thymoquinone from Black Seeds with Conventional Cancer Treatments
In 2011, German scientists labeled the drug doxorubicin the mainstay of chemotherapy treatments besides its cardiotoxicity and limitations to treat drug-resistant cancers. But now, studies have suggested that thymoquinone can have a preventive effect against the cardiotoxicity caused by doxorubicin. They found out that thymoquinone boosts doxorubicin’s anti-cancer effect in some cancer cells’ lines.
Singapore researchers stated in 2013 that there are limited numbers of therapeutic agents for cancer, and their number is winding down as cancerous cells are developing resistance to drugs. There is a necessity to discover new cancer agents. Thymoquinone showed promising results in mice with breast cancer – it blocked tumor growth, and this effect was stronger as it was combined with doxorubicin.
Clinical Trials with Human Cancer Patients
According to researchers from the Wayne State University in Michigan, there is a growing need for more in-depth studies about the effects of the black seed oil, especially studies about the bioavailability and Phase-I toxicity profiling in humans. The results from these studies will be crucial for the advancement in the field. A researcher from Oman says that thymoquinone has been tested thoroughly, and considerable data from the research has been gained, providing a better understanding of the abilities of this extract. He thinks that now’s the time to move thymoquinone to clinical trials.
After so many studies involving thymoquinone, one can’t help but wonder why there isn’t a clinical trial with cancer patients yet. If the black seed oil possesses strong anti-cancer properties, and is not toxic, why is it still being confined to lab tests?
The history of use of the oil is well known – traditional medicine has been using it for millennia. The oil was found on many historic sites such as the tomb of Tutankhamen and a combination of honey bee and black seed oil was found in a pilgrim’s flask from the old Hittite Period of Boyali Höyük (Mound) in Central Turkey, dating from about 1650 BC. The seeds and oil were used to treat and prevent various diseases.
However, the remedy is still stuck in lab tests, like an unproven toxic substance. The black oil and seed are foods safe to eat. They have been used as a remedy and food coloring for millennia, so we must move the research from animal studies to human clinical trials. It is clear that both the oil and thymoquinone have anti-cancer properties, so we think it’s time to finally start testing it on humans.
Why is Clinical Research on Black Seed Oil as a Treatment for Cancer so Rare?
The answer to this question probably involves the powerful pharmaceutical companies. As many studies have confirmed, conventional chemo drugs are becoming less effective. In some studies, the oil and its extract were used along conventional chemotherapy drugs – the results showed that in many cases the oil and thymoquinone had better effects than the harmful chemo drugs, making them easily replaceable with natural solution. This is great news for cancer patients, but awful news for the profitability of the pharmaceutical companies.
There’s a growing trend where these companies take control over a natural product and prevent its wide availability. They add the substance to a drug with an expiring patent, and create a new drug which they patent. This strategy is used by the companies with the help of the FDA for the use of folate (vitamin B9). They are trying to take a natural vitamin and make a folate combination to create a new drug which they can patent. Then, the consumers will have access to a less effective form of vitamin B9 – folic acid.
This is what can happen to thymoquinone. The companies will try to include it in their failing drugs, creating a new drug which would have improved performance. There is already a research under way for this. Some studies have shown that thumoquinone is better than many chemotherapy drugs, but the companies cannot sell pure black seed oil or thymoquinone and make a profit out of it, as they can’t patent the oil.
Compassion for people with cancer
Watching someone get destroyed by chemotherapy is heart-breaking. Everyone’s trying to find a natural substitute for this treatment, and studies have shown that the black seed oil and its extract (thymoquinone) are effective replacements for chemotherapy. It even prevents radiation damage, so the fact that it still isn’t moved to human clinical trials is offensive to cancer patients.
There are many websites online which explain the true power of the black seed oil. They also recommend ways of using the oil, but from what we’ve seen in the studies, the oil works best if it is taken daily.
Black seed oil is not a drug, so taking more is not necessarily better. People usually take 1-3 teaspoons daily for different conditions. One teaspoon a day supports health, while more are recommended for various diseases. Combined with honey, the oil can be used to treat various skin conditions. Do your own research and find treatment that will work best for your condition.