Radiation Protection with Seeds

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Given that we are all exposed to inordinate electrical pollution, it is important to remedy the radiation toxicity. Black cumin seed, the main ingredient in a synergistic blend of anti-inflammatory seeds, helps living tissue not be so damaged by radiation. 

“… Hence macerated extract of Nigella sativa seeds, could be used in combination with radiation to protect against oxidative stress in normal tissues and improving the quality of life of cancer patients by mitigating unwanted side effects of radiation in normal tissues…”

“…Our results strongly recommend Nigella sativa oil as a promising natural radio-protective agent against immunosuppressive and oxidative effects of ionizing radiation…”

J Craniofac Surg. 2018 May;29(3):e279-e282. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000004314.

Evaluation of the Effect of Topical Application of Nigella sativa on Acute Radiation-Induced Nasal Mucositis.

Çanakci H1, Yilmaz AAŞ2, Canpolat MS1, Şeneldir H3, Kir G3, Eriş AH4, Mayadağli A4, Oysu Ç5.


The goal of this study was to demonstrate the effect of radiotherapy (RT) on nasal mucosa in rats and to evaluate the radioprotective effects of the topical application of black seed oil (Nigella sativa [NS]) to treat acute radiation-induced nasal mucositis.A total of 18 rats were randomized into 3 groups, with 6 animals per group. The rats in group 1 were topically administered saline in the nasal cavity after sham irradiation. Group 2 received saline at the same dose after irradiation. Group 3 was given NS after irradiation. The rats in groups 2 and 3 were irradiated with a single dose of 40 Gy to the nasal and paranasal area. Only one drop of saline (0.05 mL) was applied to each nostril in the first, second, and third days after RT in groups 1 and 2. One drop of cold press NS (0.05 mL) was applied to each nostril in group 3. Fourteen days after irradiation, the nasal mucosal tissues were excised for histopathological evaluation. Vascular dilatation, inflammatory cell infiltration, superficial erosion, and formation of exudates were classified according to the severity.No evidence of mucositis was observed in group 1. Of all the parameters the only statistically significant difference between groups 2 and 3 were observed for “superficial erosion’ (P < 0.05). Overall microscopic observations in the NS-treated group were better than in group 2.The preliminary results of our study have shown that local application of NS to the nasal mucosa may be an effective treatment of acute nasal mucositis due to RT.

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Oncol Lett. 2017 Jul;14(1):1147-1151. doi: 10.3892/ol.2017.6189. Epub 2017 May 17.

Effect of thymoquinone on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells in vitro: Synergism with radiation.

Kotowski U1, Heiduschka G1, Kadletz L1, Fahim T1, Seemann R2, Schmid R3, Schneider S1, Mitterbauer A4, Thurnher D5.


Thymoquinone (TQ) is the main bioactive constituent present in black seed oil (Nigella sativa); it has shown anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic effects in various cancer cell types. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of TQ on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines, on its own and in combination with radiation and cisplatin, respectively. The SCC25 and CAL27 HNSCC cell lines were treated with TQ alone and in combination with cisplatin or radiation, respectively. Proliferation assays and clonogenic assays were performed. Apoptosis was detected by flow cytometry. TQ exhibited dose-dependent cytotoxicity via apoptosis in the investigated cell lines. In combination with cisplatin, TQ resulted in no significant increase in cytotoxicity. Combined with radiation, TQ significantly reduced clonogenic survival compared with each treatment method alone. TQ is a promising agent in the treatment of head and neck cancer due to its anti-proliferative and radiosensitizing properties.However, the combination of TQ with cisplatin showed no therapeutic benefit in vitro.

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Biomed Pharmacother.2016 Oct;83:635-640. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2016.07.018. Epub 2016 Jul 25.

Thymoquinone: An edible redox-active quinone for the pharmacotherapy of neurodegenerative conditions and glial brain tumors. A short review.

Elmaci I1, Altinoz MA2.


There exist few efficient agents in the neurological and neurosurgical armamentarium for treatment of neurotrauma, refractory seizures and high grade glial tumors. Pathophysiological conditions of diverse neural injuries have converging common pathways including oxidative stress and apoptosis. Targeted therapies have been throughly investigated, but limited success has been achieved until now. Phytochemical drugs may provide easily achievable and cheap adjunctive sources. Thymoquinone is an edible quinone obtained from Nigella sativa seed oil and exerts powerful antiinflammatory, antioxidant and antitumor activities in experimental models. Recently emerging studies conducted with animal models suggest that thymoquinone – bearing a very simple molecular structure – significantly crosses the blood brain barrier and exerts neuromodulatory activities. Indeed, in animal studies, the following actions of thymoquinone were demonstrated: 1-Protection against ischemic brain damage. 2-Reduction of epileptic seizures and associated cerebral oxidative injury. 3-Reduction of morphine tolerance and associated oxidative brain damage. 4-Anxiolytic effects and reduction of immobility stress-associated cerebral oxidative injury. 5-Reduction of diabetes-induced cerebral oxidative stress, 6-Reduction of cerebral oxidative injuries induced by noxious exposures including toluene, lead and ionizing radiation.Substantial in vitro data suggest that thymoquinone may be beneficial in treatment of glial tumors. However, there is no clinical study investigating its antitumor effects. In fact, thymoquinone suppresses growth and invasion, and induces apoptosis of glial tumor cells via degrading tubulins and inhibiting 20S proteasome, telomerase, autophagy, FAK and metalloproteinases. A simple and easily available agent may be a promising adjunctive treatment option in neurological and neurosurgical practice.

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Indian J Pharm Sci.2012 Sep;74(5):403-14. doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.108415.

Radioprotection by Macerated Extract of Nigella sativa in Normal Tissues of Fibrosarcoma Bearing Mice.

Velho-Pereira R1, Kumar APandey BNMishra KPJagtap AG.


The current study was undertaken to study the effect of a macerated extract of Nigella sativa seeds in normal as well as in tumour bearing mice against gamma radiation-induced cellular damage to normal tissues. This was done to mimic the clinical setting where in, normal tissues of cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy are exposed to the deleterious effects of radiation. The protection of cellular DNA was analysed in peripheral blood leucocytes of whole body irradiated mice following pretreatment with macerated extract of Nigella sativa seeds (100 mg/kg), using alkaline comet assay, and also estimating biochemical and blood parameters such as levels of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and catalase, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances and protein oxidation in organs such as spleen, liver, brain and intestine haemoglobin and total leucocyte count, respectively. The results showed that the macerated extract of Nigella sativa seeds protected the liver, spleen, brain and intestines both in normal as well as tumour bearing mice. This study concludes that macerated extract of Nigella sativa seeds has protective effects against radiation-induced damage and biochemical alterations which could be attributed to the ability to scavenge free radicals and its antioxidant properties. Hence macerated extract of Nigella sativa seeds, could be used in combination with radiation to protect against oxidative stress in normal tissues and improving the quality of life of cancer patients by mitigating unwanted side effects of radiation in normal tissues.

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Biochem Biophys Res Commun.2013 Apr 19;433(4):362-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.11.139. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Thymoquinone protects cultured rat primary neurons against amyloid β-induced neurotoxicity.

Alhebshi AH1, Gotoh MSuzuki I.


Thymoquinone (TQ) is the main constituent of the oil extracted from Nigella sativa seeds, which is known to be the active constituent responsible for many of the seed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The present study was designed to investigate whether TQ can protect against Alzheimer’s amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) induced neurotoxicity in rat primary neurons. Cultured hippocampal and cortical neurons were treated with Aβ1-42 and TQ simultaneously for 72 h. Treatment with TQ efficiently attenuated Aβ1-42-induced neurotoxicity, as evidenced by improved cell viability. TQ also inhibited the mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization and reactive oxygen species generation caused by Aβ1-42. In addition, TQ restored synaptic vesicle recycling inhibition, partially reversed the loss of spontaneous firing activity, and inhibited Aβ1-42 aggregation in vitro. These beneficial effects may contribute to the protection against Aβ-induced neurotoxicity. In conclusion, our results suggested that TQ has neuroprotection potential against Aβ1-42 in rat hippocampal and cortical neurons and thus may be a promising candidate for Alzheimer disease treatment.

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Cell Biol Int.2011 Oct;35(10):1025-9. doi: 10.1042/CBI20100701.

Radiosensitization in human breast carcinoma cells by thymoquinone: role of cell cycle and apoptosis.

Velho-Pereira R1, Kumar APandey BNJagtap AGMishra KP.


TQ (thymoquinone), the bioactive constituent of black seed (Nigella sativa), has been shown to inhibit the growth of various human cancers both in vitro and in vivo. This study reports the radiosensitizing effect of TQ on human breast carcinoma cells (MCF7 and T47D). TQ in combination with single dose of ionizing radiation (2.5 Gy) was found to exert supra-additive cytotoxic effects on both the carcinomas as measured by cell proliferation and colony-formation assays. Annexin V binding and FACS analysis revealed the role of enhanced apoptosis and cell cycle modulation in the mechanism of TQ-mediated radiosensitization, thus supporting TQ as an adjuvant for preclinical testing in cancer chemo-radiotherapy.

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7. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol.2010 Jun;32(2):284-96. doi: 10.3109/08923970903307552.

Radioprotective effects of black seed (Nigella sativa) oil against hemopoietic damage and immunosuppression in gamma-irradiated rats.

Assayed ME1.



Sixty male Wistar rats, divided into 4 groups, 15 each, were designed as I-control rats, II-rats orally intubated with Nigella sativa oil (1 ml/kg b.wt./day) for 5 days/week, III-whole body gamma irradiated rats with the estimated LD50/30 (4 Gray) and IV-rats daily intubated with Nigella sativa oil then subjected to whole body gamma irradiation, to investigate the radioprotective potential of Nigella crude oil against hemopoietic adverse effects of gamma irradiation.


Irradiation resulted in significant reduction in hemolysin antibodies titers and delayed type hypersensitivity reaction of irradiated rats, in addition to significant leukopenia and significant decrease in plasma total protein and globulin concentrations and depletion of lymphoid follicles of spleen and thymus gland. Furthermore, there was a significant increase in malondialdehyde concentration with a significant decrease in plasma glutathione peroxidase, catalase and erythrocyte superoxide dismutase activities were recorded. Oral administration of Nigella sativa oil before irradiation considerably normalized all the above-mentioned criteria; and produced significant regeneration in spleen and thymus lymphoid follicles.


Our results strongly recommend Nigella sativa oil as a promising natural radioprotective agent against immunosuppressive and oxidative effects of ionizing radiation.

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