A Nigella sativa compound exterminates multiple myeloma cells…

The last post I wrote about Nigella sativa, = a “cure for every disease except death,” dates to May 2008 (see my page on “Black cumin” http://margaret.healthblogs.org/other-alternative-treatments/nigella-sativa-black-cumin/ )…

Back then, there weren’t any scientific studies on Nigella sativa and myeloma…Nonetheless, I was fascinated by, and devoted two posts to, this extraordinary medicinal plant, also known as black cumin, because its main active compound, thymoquinone, had been tested (with very good results) against many types of cancer cells, including pancreatic and super aggressive prostate cancer cells. These tests have shown that thymoquinone blocks many of the signalling pathways that are involved in myeloma. And that is why I was absolutely certain (almost 3 years ago) that it would have an effect on myeloma cells. But I had no proof at the time…

Well. Today. I. Do. Have. Proof.

A blog reader (thanks!!!) recently sent me the link to a study published in October in the “British Journal of Pharmacology” (http://goo.gl/L4kTf), showing that thymoquinone (TQ, from now on) can kill myeloma cells…ruthlessly…

As we can read in the abstract, TQ inhibits STAT3, a crucial signalling pathway that keeps our myeloma cells healthy and alive. Sifting through the rather complicated jargon used in the abstract (and in the full study, I would like to add!), the main point is that TQ has a very strong effect on a lot of the bad stuff in myeloma—cyclin D1, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Mcl-1, survivin and VEGF…(I have written about all of these bad thingies…You can do a “search” of my blog if you want to know more…the search box is on the right-hand side…just keep scrolling down my Pages…).

The abstract informs us that TQ also significantly potentiated the apoptotic effects of thalidomide and bortezomib in MM cells. But what I found most interesting is that this compound KILLED myeloma cells on its own, without the help of any other substance…In more scientific terms, it “induced apoptosis in myeloma cells.”

Apoptosis is an interesting and important cellular process also known as “programmed cell death.” I have written about it before (again, use the “search” box)…but, essentially, after a cell is born, it floats around for a while and does whatever it is it is supposed to do…then, when its time comes, it dies. That is what happens under normal, healthy circumstances…In fact, I read somewhere that in just ONE year we can lose half our body weight in cells that have died due to apoptosis = a fascinating titbit that stuck in my mind…

But cancer cells don’t like the “dying” part of the equation. They want to live forever…and so they bring into play a variety of “avoid-death-at-all-costs!” mechanisms. The little buggers even become chemoresistant…

Now, getting back to myeloma cells, one of these survival mechanisms includes STAT3…And that gives us an idea of how important it is to block this pathway when treating myeloma…

I have read the full TQ-MM study, and I must say it is impressive…though it is also quite difficult to follow here and there. As you know, I have a new policy of not quoting directly from copyrighted material…but, hmmm, let’s see…in addition to what we know from the abstract, here is a bit more info…

For those who are more technically-inclined: TQ inhibits the IL-6-induced STAT3 and also Akt activation. It also inhibits NF-kappaB activation, which is the Cruella Deville of myeloma…And it also blocks IL-6, which helps myeloma cells proliferate and build resistance against chemo drugs, among other things. Well, let me assure you that these are extremely positive findings…

The authors conclude that TQ merits further study, since it could possibly be used in cancers linked to the infamous STAT3 signalling pathway. Hah. No kidding!!!

I definitely need to order some more Nigella sativa…yup…

P.S. Interesting Science Daily article on thymoquinone and aggressive prostate cancer: http://goo.gl/cghDV


  1. Very interesting Margaret. Do you know What kind of nigella sativa they used in the study,(oil or seeds?) and dosage?

    Greetings from Johanne, still stable MM (or rather SMM) after nearly two years and lots of curcumin

  2. hi
    First of all let me to congratulate you for such a nice informative and useful blog. As a researcher in this filed , it helped me so much to re-organize my view to Myeloma. I found a lot of points to reconsider and reread. But just a point, based on my last months data (experimental) about nfkb role in myeloma, I found some controversial findings which challenges the general idea about crucial role of nfkb in myeloma biology.
    If every thing goes well, I will come back with news in some months.

  3. Wowsa. Never heard of it. I will have to learn more. Thanks Margaret. And it is acceptable for you to quote articles, papers, studies, just as long as you cite it properly.

  4. Thankyou so much for your article on Nigella Sativa I have ordered the cold pressed oil from Iherbs in the U.S.A.but I was wondering how much to take. I am currently on my last month of a 5 month course of Thalidomide and Dex. thinking I would be able to have a “rainy day” stem cell harvest but I’ve just been informed that over the past couple of months the laws have changed in Aust. and you have to have it all done at the same time so I have some thinking to do about my treatment options.

  5. I am trying to find my first cousin Suzanne Selwyn and am wondering if that is you? Were you born in Wellington circa 1950’s?

  6. hi there would like to know how many caps we have to take or what is your exp. waht would be the totla dosage of Thymoquinone. I am very keen to try

  7. Hi Margaret,
    Thank you for the very informative article. I have been researching Nigella Sativa (thymoquinone) and have been so excited about my findings that I could hardly sleep for days. In the last few years there have been some amazing research completed on the benefits of Nigella Sativa oil. In the last few months we have had a product made for us. I would love to send you one and share some of my research with you. Mohammed said that Black Cumin cures everything except for death. Black Cumin is one of the most revered medicinal herbs for 3000 years.
    I am so excited about it that I will be putting a website up Thymoquinone.com in the next week or two.
    Have a nice evening,

  8. Hi margaret would be grateful ifyou could email me the dosage of TQ as I am quite keen to know. There has been some study done at the SIngapore medical University .It seem to have good potential. So pls dolet me have the dosage you have been taking

  9. So can anyone let me know good source for the best quality nigella sativa oil on the internet, and the daily protocol for taking it and whether the powder is useful too? Is it safe to take it three times a day, how many teaspoons or half teaspoons and with what other food.
    I would like to know how much is considered safe and recommended.
    Much, much, much appreciated.

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