Black Cumin: The ancient panacea which fights cancer

Recent researches indicate that a component found in black cumin is capable of killing cancer cells and prevent the metastasis on healthy cells. This component is Thymoquinone, and according to experts, it can be the future drug in cancer therapeutics. But, what exactly is black cumin and why is it so famous?

What is the black cumin?

Black cumin or Nigella Sativa -as it its genus name – is an annual flowering plant native to south Asia. It grows to 20-30 cm tall and has divided linear leaves. Its seeds are small, black and crescent-shaped. Its taste is spicy and it has been used in culinary for more than 2000 years. Some people mistakenly refer to black cumin as black sesame. Even though the seeds are identical, black cumin and black sesame are two different plants.

black cumin seeds, wikipedia commons

Historical Reference

The use of black cumin oil dates back to ancient Egypt when Cleopatra used it as a beauty treatment for her skin and hair. Queen Nefertiti also used it as a beauty tonic for her skin, nails and hair. Hippocrates used it as a treatment for metabolic and digestive disorders while prophet Muhammad refered to it as “a cure for everything but death”. Archeologists in Middle East found bottles of black cumin in ancient tombs, confirming with this way the popularity of the seed in ancient years.

Scientific Studies 

Since 1964, the popularity of black cumin has brought it under the microscope numerous times. The meticulous analysis of the plant has shown that the black cumin consists of a series of important vitamins and minerals like folic acid, phosphorous, iron, copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C, B1, B2 and B3. However, scientists are particularly interested in one bioactive component of the plant, the Thymoquinone. After years of extensive researches, an analytical investigation report on Thymoquinone was published on National Center of Biotechnology Information on 18 April 2017. According to this report:

“Thymoquinone is an anticancer phytochemical commonly found in black cumin. Thymoquinone targets cellular copper, which is present in the chromatic and is closely associated with DNA base guanine, and causes oxidative breakage to DNA and subsequent cancer cell death. In addition to controlling cancer cell proliferation, Thymoquinone also reduces cancer metastasis. Thymoquinone is evident as a potent anticancer molecule by regulating numerous molecular mechanisms, and it has the potential to be a good therapeutic small molecule in the prevention and treatment of cancer”. And the report continues… “This is the optimal time to focus on clinical trials for developing Thymoquinone as a future drug in cancer therapeutics.”

 For a further study of the report follow the link

The list of its healing power grows more with many health experts claiming that the black cumin oil is indeed a true panacea as it has been found assisting in treatments from allergies , cough, asthma, headaches, diabetess, weigh loss, liver health to skin disorders and hypertension. It is also worth it to mention that many patients who suffer from vitiligo (leuki) report partial skin re-pigmentation after applying a small dose of black cumin oil directly on the affected skin area twice a day for 3 months. What’s more, due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties the black cumin oil has been found treating effectively eczema , acne, psoriasis and hair loss.

Ways to consume it  

Since the black cumin is a natural ingredient and can be found easily in supermarkets and shops with biological products, the best way to benefit from it is to integrate it into your meals. Most natural physicians though, recommend instead of consuming the seeds, we better take one teaspoon of black cumin oil daily because it is more concentrated  to essential components (30-48%) – including thymoquinone – and it is more readily absorbed.



The black cumin has never been referred to have any dangerous side effects and  this is another reason why scientists want to use it to cancer treatments, because it reduces the side effects of chemotherapy. However, it is strongly advised not to be taken during pregnancy as it can induce abortions. Moreover, it can lower blood sugar so diabetics should consult with their doctors.

The bad news is that at the moment there is no tangible evidence to support the use of black cumin oil instead of a standard medical therapy, and there is not complete clinical trial revealing any results.

The good news is that scientists continue the study on Thymoquinone and they are on the way to proceed to clinical trials in the foreseeable future!