Therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa, a commonly used food additive with anti-cancer properties


A study review published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine has investigated the recent developments on the anti-cancer properties of Nigella sativa, which is a widely used food additive.

  • The review looked at the studies that examined the anti-cancer effects of N. sativa over the past two decades.
  • N. sativa is also known as nigella, blackseed, black cumin, black caraway, Roman coriander, fennel flower, and nutmeg flower.
  • The review found that the anti-cancer properties of N. sativa have been primarily attributed to its ability to provide powerful anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, anti-oxidant, anti-mutagenic, and anti-metastatic roles.
  • Moreover, its protective effects against tumor growth and progression have been attributed to its ability to prevent inflammation and provide immune-boosting effects.
  • The possibility of N. sativa to suppress the formation of tumors and cancer was brought about by the enhancement of natural killer cytotoxic activity against cancer cells and regulation of signaling pathways, which included inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) pathway, p53, and caspases.
  • In addition, the results of experiments in vitro and in vivo indicated that N. sativa extracts have the potential to be utilized in the development of effective anti-cancer therapeutic agents, such as controlling different stages of tumor growth and treatment of many types of cancer.
  • However, the review also suggested that more studies are needed to understand better the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the anti-cancer properties of N. sativa.
  • Moreover, the authors suggested that future studies should concentrate on establishing a direct association between the reported anti-cancer properties of N. sativa extracts and cancer prevention and/or treatment in preclinical and clinical settings.

The study review indicated that the findings of experimental studies showed that N. sativa, used alone or in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs, could be an effective agent to control tumor development, growth, and metastasis, making it a possible treatment for cancers.

For the full text of the study, go to this link.

Journal Reference:

Majdalawieh AF, Fayyad MW. RECENT ADVANCES ON THE ANTI-CANCER PROPERTIES OF NIGELLA SATIVA, A WIDELY USED FOOD ADDITIVE. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. July–September 2016;7(3):173–180. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaim.2016.07.004



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