It doesn’t cure death, but…

nigella sativaToday’s Science Daily ( has an interesting report on Nigella sativa, also known as black cumin. The black cumin seed plant is a member of the buttercup family and is a highly regarded medicinal plant in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

This is not news to me. I wrote a post in September of 2007 about Nigella sativa titled “A cure for every disease except death.” If you need a memory refresher, just click on my black cumin page on the right side of your screen.

Back to Science Daily. Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University recently discovered that an extract of Nigella sativa, called thymoquinone, blocked pancreatic cancer cell growth and killed the cells via apoptosis.
After adding thymoquinone to pancreatic cancer cells, the researchers observed increased levels of p53 and Bax, both cancer cell killers, as well as decreased levels of Bcl-2, a protein that instead blocks apoptosis. For more technical details please go read the article.
So even though I am working on a different topic right now, this article motivated me to have a quick look around to see what else I could find.
An interesting abstract published in 2006 (see: deals with the effects of Nigella sativa on rats who had been injected with cadmium. Well, the rats that were treated also with Nigella sativa fared much better than the others: their red and white blood cell counts and haemoglobin were higher, for instance. This is actually the real reason I decided to mention this study: if your haemoglobin and red and white blood cell counts are low, you might consider taking this supplement. Nigella sativa also increased the lowered insulin levels and neutrophils of the rats, and decreased their elevated heart rate and glucose concentration. So, good stuff!

Since Sherlock and I have been doing our experiments together, I have stopped taking Nigella sativa. But I will resume taking it over the summer as soon as our current experiment ends. My RBC and WBC counts are low, albeit still within the normal range. My haemoglobin is also within the normal range but I would love to bring it up a bit.

Hmmm, I just read that black cumin seeds are a good source of iron, as you can see here: Well, well…WELL!


  1. I have been intending to send you a comment to let you know how much I have appreciated and enjoyed your blogs when I have encountered them when playing my curcumin game on Google. The game consists searching for a term (such as “toll-like receptors”) mentioned in a medically oriented article from a newsletter, and combining the term with the word curcumin. In fact, today’s term was TLR, taken from today’s Science Daily’s sepsis article. And so, there you were in the listing of sites brought up by the search — so I told myself that today is the day.

    I am a retired management psychologist, meaning that I carried out psychological appraisals of candidates for managerial and executive jobs, and such. My interest in curcumin began as a consequence of an autoimmune induced “sudden hearing loss” in my right ear. The treatment (which I located with a Google search) involved taking 80 to 100 mgs of prednisone per day for two weeks, followed by a daily dose of 7mg thereafter. Coming off of the high daily dosage of prednisone gave me bloody gums and canker sores on my tongue. A single dosage with sea buckthorne seed oil took care of the canker sores — they were gone the next day. However, this experience convinced me that I really didn’t want to become hooked on prednisone, and Googling gave me the idea that I might be able to use it as a substitute for the daily prednisone. My hearing returned after a couple of months, and has functioned up to the level expected for an octoginarian for the past two years.

    Now I have a curcumin question to pose for you. Have you looked into the possible negative effects that curcumin might have upon the massive bacteria population in colon? While curcumin is apparently does not kill bacteria, it is frequently described as inactivating them. I am curious about this since, when I doubled my 285 mg per day intake, my blood pressure increased significantly, and I understand that the formate and hippurate metabolites that colon bacteria manufacture are used by the kidneys as key factors in controlling blood pressure. So now I am trying to cope by adding resistant starch to my diet and taking probiotic capsules when I can remember.

    Sorry for the length of this — as Mark Twain said, if I had more time I could have written a shorter letter.


  2. Hi Margaret,
    I have been taking one black cumin capsule/day (500mg) since you first wrote about it because I thought it might help to reduce my high platelet count. It seems to be working, albeit slowly.
    It is also said to be good for bronchitis and asthma so it could help anyone with chronic breathing allergies.
    Nigella is a fairly common garden plant here in the UK and we know it by the rather delightful name of “Love-in-the-mist”.
    I also found the following web article which might be of interest:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *