From here to eternity - the secret of Pharaohs: Therapeutic potential of black cumin seeds and beyond

Cancer Ther. 2008;6(b):495-510.


Over many centuries humans have been mining the bounties of nature for discovering substances that have been used for the treatment of all human diseases; many such remedies are useful even today as modern day medicine. Emerging evidence also suggests that the search is still continuing for harnessing active compounds from nature in combating human illnesses although pharmaceutical industries are equally active for synthesizing small molecule compounds as novel therapeutics. The lesson learned over many centuries clearly suggests that further sophisticated search for finding compounds from natural resources together with robust characterization and chemical synthesis will lead to the discovery of novel drugs that may have high therapeutic efficacy against all human diseases including cancer. Black cumin seed (Nigella sativa) oil extracts have been used for many centuries for the treatment of many human illnesses, and more recently the active compound found in black seed oil, viz. thymoquinone (TQ) has been tested for its efficacy against several diseases including cancer. However, further research is needed in order to assess the full potential of TQ as a chemopreventive and/or therapeutic agent against cancers. Here, we have summarized what is known regarding the value of black seed oil and its active compound TQ, and how this knowledge will help us to advance further research in this field by creating awareness among scientists and health professionals in order to appreciate the medicinal value of TQ and beyond.