(NaturalNews) Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have discovered that an extract of nigella sativa seed oil, known as thymoquinone, can remedy one of the most virulent and difficult to treat cancers: pancreatic cancer. The extract does this by blocking pancreatic cell growth, and actually enhancing the built-in cellular function that causes programmed cell death, or apoptosis.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. It usually presents no symptoms in its early stages, unless the common bile duct is obstructed by a tumor (in which case jaundice would occur). However, as the cancer progresses, more symptoms do present themselves. Nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, weakness and pain after eating are all symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, these symptoms could be indicative of other disorders as well, so it is a challenging cancer to diagnose that requires thorough testing. Many people are not diagnosed until the cancer has spread; therefore, treatment is often very complex since the cancer has advanced to other areas.
As of now, there is little known about its causes, and less known about how to treat it. There are a few clues to its origins, however. A 2007 study showed that diabetes during pregnancy can lead to pancreatic cancer later in life; smoking also increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer as well. There may also be some evidence to suggest a link between type 2 diabetes mellitus and pancreatic cancer, but there still is no succinct, hard evidence to prove a link. Through all of this, nigella sativa (also known as black cumin) may be a potential solution to pancreatic cancer and could be the breakthrough that is needed to solve this complex problem.
This herb is popular across the Middle East and India, and is widely known in those parts to aid in a variety of disorders. From emphysema and asthma, to colic and cancer, this herb has a colorful and storied history that stretches far back in time, even to the Biblical era. With pancreatic cancer being the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, killing approximately 34,000 people each year, more research needs to be conducted on the effectiveness of this herb in treating this and other cancers. Though more empirical data is needed, Middle-Eastern folklore describes nigella sativa as one of the most potent healing agents, curing a variety of disorders, other cancers, and having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Sometimes, especially in the case of this herb, folklore is more than just exaggerated stories of indigenous peoples; it can actually be useful in everyday life and provide the much needed help that conventional practices do not offer. In fact, according to Arab proverbs, nigella sativa is quoted as having the ability to cure all disease except death. Though its properties in healing all diseases has not been empirically verified, if folklore is going to be a guide to health and wellness, the best herb to start with would be nigella sativa.
Traditional treatments for pancreatic cancer are the same as the treatments for other cancers: loading the body up with toxins that kill the patient before killing the cancer (chemotherapy), and radiation. But, as with many other cancers, this method is not very successful (as mentioned before, 34,000 people die each year from pancreatic cancer). Side effects of the allopathic approach to this disorder include anything from skin reactions to disruption of insulin production, so pancreatic cancer treatments are often very uncomfortable.
Nigella sativa offers an alternative to this fate, giving cancer patients access to a treatment that actually works for them. As the path of allopathic remedies has dimmed on this cancer, sentencing its sufferers to a life of pain and misery, another, less invasive and more effective path has opened. Through herbal treatment, a way to a cure has been paved, offering relief that cannot be found amongst the cold hospital walls.
This study also helps dispel the myth that herbs are just herbs, and are thus ineffective in treating disease. This herb is just one of many that are now being discovered as breaking the mold and defeating the lie. This herb proves useful and helpful in treating every day illnesses and complex illnesses as well.
Ella Andersen is a college student who intensely researchs topics on health and nutrition. In college, she is furthering her love of nutrition by pursuing a degree in clinical dietetics. She also runs her own blog: http://www.snhbw.blogspot.com