Recent studies confirm that Nigella sativa seed oil is a promising anticancer treatment.
Nigella sativa is called a miracle plant since ancient times, and its also marketed as black seed oil. But only the last few decades this plant started to be scientifically investigated in the western world. Recent studies have confirmed folklore that Nigela sativa seed’s oil inhibits the growth of various types of cancer, making its oil a promising anticancer treatment.
Some of the promising studies on Nigella sativa seed oil and its anticancer activities are below:
In an animal study, 56 rats were given for 60 days a treatment of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), which increased lipid peroxidation and liver enzymes and also decreased the antioxidant enzyme levels. Afterwards the rats were treated for another 60 dayswith N. sativa, which then decreased the elevated levels of lipid peroxidation and reduced the liver enzyme levels; increasing antioxidant enzyme levels.
A study to find out the chemopreventative activities of Nigella sativa seed oil has suggested that thymoquinone (a phytochemical compound found in Nigella sativa) is anti-neoplastic and pro-apoptotic against colon cancer cell line HCT116.
A research on the effects of Nigella sativa’s thymoquinone showed inhibition of breast cancer cell proliferation at minimal dose 25 μM .
An in vitro research demonstrated that pancreatic cancer cells growth is inhibited by 60 to 80% after cells were exposed to 48 hours of thymoquinone.
How does exactly Nigella sativa seed oil is effective in combating cancer development?
The secret of Nigella sativa is a phytochemical called Thymoquinone (TQ) present in the plant. A recent review on TQ’s anti cancer properties has shown the signaling pathways through which TQ mediates its anti-cancer activity. There are 7 signaling pathways that if aberrant cause the proliferation of cancer cells in the body. They are:
p53 - This protein is a tumour suppressor. Its been shown that stresses and inactivation of the p53 tumour suppressor signalling pathway, is seen in most human cancers.
NF-κB This signaling pathway is increasingly recognized as a crucial player in many steps of cancer initiation
PPARγ peroxisome-proliferation-activated receptor gamma is a transcriptional master regulator of glucose and lipid metabolism. Some studies have shown that aberrant expression of PPARy have been linked with poor outcomes in breast cancer.
STAT3 -Persistently activated STAT3 and, to some extent, STAT5 increase tumour cell proliferation, survival and invasion while suppressing anti-tumour immunity.
MAPK Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are evolutionarily conserved kinase modules that link extracellular signals to the machinery that controls fundamental cellular processes such as growth, proliferation, differentiation, migration and apoptosis. Abnormalities in MAPK signaling impinge on most, if not all these processes, and play a critical role in the development and progression of cancer.