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Animal studies have confirmed the popular claim that Black Seed is an effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic substance. The mechanism by which black seed exerts its anti-inflammatory action appears to be as a potent inhibitor of eicosanoid generation, namely thromboxane B2 and leucotrienes B4, by inhibiting both cyclooxygenase and lipooxygenase, respectively. In other studies, thymoquinone has been reported to have potent superoxide anion scavenging abilities and to inhibit iron-dependent microsomal lipid peroxidation.
This is promising considering the fact that superoxide reacts with protein and non-protein sulfhydryls and polyunsaturated fats and initiates sprecific reactions, thus damaging cells and causing inflammation. Meanwhile free radical oxidative stress is implicated in many inflammatory diseases. Therefore, it is reasonable that the anti-inflammatory activities of thymoquinone are attributed to its antioxidant effects. Interestingly, it was found that the whole oil had both antioxidant and anti-eicosanoid effects greater than thymoquinone, the oil's active constituent.
A recent study found black seed and thymoquinone may be an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. This comes as no surprise, since it has been shown that thymoquinone is an inhibitor that is more potent than indomethacin of COX-2-catalyzed PGE2 production.
The immuno-modulatory properties of black seed and thymoquinone support its traditional use as a treatment for rheumatism and related inflammatory disorders.
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