Nigella sativa, or black cumin, is a flowering plant that grows in Europe, India and the Arabian Peninsula. Its seeds have been used for cooking and medicinal purposes for thousands of years, but do they contain the cure to colon cancer?
According to Katherine Anderson, ND, FABNO, National Director of Naturopathic Medicine for CTCA, there is no validity to claims that black cumin can cure cancer. She says while there is growing evidence black cumin and its volatile oil may have anticancer properties, there is insufficient research to prove it is truly beneficial for people fighting colon cancer or other types of cancer.
Studies Anderson points to indicate the seeds’ active ingredients, particularly thymoquinone, may reduce the growth and size of tumors in rats. But Anderson emphasizes, “Almost all of the evidence, including preliminary research on the inhibitory effects on colon cancer, are through cell studies or animal studies [primarily on rats].”
In addition, Anderson cautions there is not enough information on proper dosages of black cumin oil or black cumin seed supplement for cancer patients. Little is also known about whether it can cause side effects or harmful interactions with chemotherapy or other cancer treatments.
“More evidence is needed for the responsible and efficacious care of patients fighting any type of cancer,” she says.
Before taking nutritional supplements or botanicals such as black cumin, consider consulting a naturopathic clinician who holds a doctoral-level naturopathic medicine degree and who works regularly with cancer patients and their oncologists. Such a clinician should be able to determine if black cumin is appropriate to take, particularly if you are currently undergoing cancer treatment. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is an excellent resource for finding a reputable naturopathic clinician near you.
Read more on colorectal (colon) cancer and the integrated, naturopathic medicine program we offer at our hospitals.