black seed and its active ingredient, thymoquinone, may be especially beneficial for people with COVID and cancer

We have previously talked about perhaps the most important study yet of a herb for COVID. That study found that black seed has real promise for treating COVID. Now there may be even more promise.

In an earlier blog, we talked about a very exciting study—perhaps the very first one—that has shown a herb to have promise for COVID. The herb is black seed (Nigella sativa), and the study showed that people with moderate to severe COVID got over their symptoms faster when they took a combination of black seed and honey. They had negative tests faster, and, most importantly, fewer of them died.

Several computer simulation studies have found that a number of components of black seed can attach to cell receptors and potentially inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication (Curr Ther Res 2020;93:100602; Coronaviruses 2020;1:1). Thymoquinone may also inhibit proteases the virus uses to facilitate attachment to your cells (Curr Drug Discov Technol 2020 Jul 12; doi:10.2174/1570163817666200712164406).

Most recently, researchers found that thymoquinone, an important compound of black seed, binds to ACE2 receptors, the receptors the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID uses to get into your cells (Infect Dis Ther 2021 Mar ;10(1):483-494).

In a very interesting paper called “Thymoquinone: A Tie-Breaker in SARS-CoV2-Infected Cancer Patients?,” researchers discuss the many reasons why thymoquinone may be a promising treatment for COVID.

Thymoquinone is the most active component in black seed. It has antiviral effects against COVID that prevent infection and entry into your cells, it is sufficiently anti-inflammatory to tamp down cytokine storms, it can protect against respiratory symptoms and lung injury and it is an antioxidant that can protect against the multiple organ dysfunction of COVID, including the liver, kidney and gastrointestinal tract.

The researchers also point out that people with cancer have double the risk of COVID and are more likely to develop severe illness and are more likely to die. They say that thymoquinone may have special value in this complicated case because of its beneficial effects, not only on COVID, but also on cancer, including apoptosis, the safe death specifically of cancer cells; progression; angiogenesis and metastasis. Thymoquinone also may also enhance the effects of chemotherapy and radiation, while lessening some of their side effects.

Blood coagulation and blood clots are an important feature of both cancer and COVID. Importantly,
thymoquinone can prevent blood coagulation in both COVID and cancer. Inflammation is also crucial in both cancer and in the cytokine storm that causes multiple organ damage and acute respiratory distress syndrome in COVID. Thymoquinone has relevant anti-inflammatory effects that are potentially protective against the inflammation of both cancer and COVID.

Free radical damage also plays a crucial role in both cancer and COVID, and thymoquinone is a potent antioxidant. It boosts your body’s own antioxidants, including glutathione, superoxide dismutase, and catalase, and it has been shown to significantly decrease markers of free radical damage. This activity could protect against the multiple organ failure of both cancer and COVID.
Thymoquinone may also contribute relevant protection against the cardiac, liver and kidney injury that are important effects of COVID and of cancer or the cancer treatment.

The researchers conclude that, for all of these very important reasons, thymoquinone from black seed could have important benefits for COVID and, especially, for people with cancer who get COVID.

These new studies add to the hope that black seed and its component thymoquinone may be able to make an important contribution to the fight against COVID.

Cells 2021 Feb;10(2):302

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