What’s tan and black—and gives
cancer a deadly whack?
March 26th, 2014 by Holly Cornish
If you’re a cook, you’re probably familiar with cumin, a tannish-colored powder derived from grinding the seeds of a plant related to the parsley family. The spice is commonly used to prepare Mexican, Spanish, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.
There’s also a plant seed called black cumin that may be less widely known—but has been making headlines lately as a powerful preventive treatment. Both the tan and black cumins have a long history of being used to heal, and research suggests both have value as cancer fighters.
But they’re completely different from one another. In fact, they’re not even related!
Let’s take a close look and see if we want to crank either the tan or black cumin into our plan for a longer, healthier life. . .
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Practitioners of Indian Ayurvedic medicine often use cumin to relieve digestive tract disorders like diarrhea, heartburn and nausea. Scientists believe it may have earned this reputation because it stimulates production of protective enzymes in your pancreas.
Cumin also has the ability to enhance your insulin sensitivity. Some studies have reported that the cuminaldehyde found in cumin seeds inhibits glucose metabolism. If true, then cumin is a promising agent against diabetes.
What’s more, cumin extract has also flexed its muscle against the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria—a common cause of ulcers.
What can cumin do to beat cancer?
Many traditional and alternative medical practitioners believe cumin also has impressive anti-cancer properties that stem from its ability to:
- Enhance the liver´s detoxification enzymes
- Neutralize cancer-causing free-radicals
Deriving from a plant in the parsley family, cumin shares similarities to anise, caraway, coriander, dill and fennel as well.
And this family doesn’t mess around when facing cancer cells! All the plants in this clan contain unique phytochemicals (that is, natural plant chemicals), such as polyacetylenes and phthalides, which show both anti-inflammatory and cancer-protective properties.
A “black sheep” that’s not in the family
There’s been increased buzz lately about black cumin—that is, seeds from the plant known as Nigella sativa. Despite commonly being called black cumin, it’s unrelated to the familiar kitchen spice I just discussed, Cuminum cyminum. Black cumin is also called kalonji and black seed.
Don’t worry about all the confusion surrounding the name. This tiny wonder has been in use for thousands of years as a natural health cure. Healthwise, it’s as good or better than the kitchen spice.
But only during the last forty years have scientists come to appreciate its true potential to save your health.
Since 1964, there have been some than 450 peer-reviewed, published studies that have referenced black cumin!
Originally used to treat allergies, asthma and migraines, scientific studies also show black seed can be useful at combating a variety of other diseases, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Hepatitis C
- Multiple sclerosis
- And much more!
What’s even more exciting are recent discoveries that show this little black seed can give several types of cancer cells a scrub down too!
Studies show that regularly taking black cumin or black cumin oil can help prevent the growth and spread of colon cancer cells.
Dr. Hwyda Arafat recently conducted studies at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. He was able to show that black cumin was effective at killing 80 percent of pancreatic cancer tumors it encountered.
In a press statement, Dr. Arafat said, “Nigella sativa helps treat a broad array of diseases, including some immune and inflammatory disorders. Previous studies also have shown anticancer activity in prostate and colon cancers, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.”
Researchers at the Cancer Immuno-Biology Laboratory in South Carolina found that black cumin helps stimulate neutrophil granulocyte activity.
Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white blood cell in the body. They shoulder primary responsibility for targeting and eliminating cancer cells before they band together to form tumors.
So what’s the secret ingredient?
Black cumin’s strength comes from a combination of healthy compounds, including:
- Thymoquinone – a phytochemical with anti-cancer, anti-inflammattory and immune-boosting properties
- Essential fatty acids –including linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that aids in cancer prevention
- Amino Acids – essential protein building blocks that assist in proper execution of many bodily functions
- Minerals – calcium, iron, potassium and sodium to help your body function properly
- Carotene – a compound your body changes into vitamin A needed to grow new cells, sharpen vision, maintain healthy skin and more
- Phytosterols – a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol
If you want to enjoy the benefits of the conventional cumin spice Cuminum Cyminum, you can sprinkle it on your meals as you prepare various dishes. If you like Asian and Middle Eastern dishes the way I do, you encounter it all the time. As far as I can learn, it isn’t taken as a supplement – at least not often!
The other cumin — black cumin or Nigella sativa — is not commonly used as a spice – it’s not even related to the spice — but it IS a fairly popular supplement. If you’d like to try this nutrient you can purchase black cumin oil in pill and liquid form fairly inexpensively from vendors of nutritional supplements.
Try to purchase organic, cold pressed Nigella oil that is free of additives. You can take a teaspoon of the oil before breakfast each day and mix it with raw honey or fresh juice.
If you’re concerned about battling cancer, my sources indicate you can increase the dosage to three teaspoons daily in divided doses. Just for the record, I haven’t tried this supplement.
But I look forward to more research on this ancient remedy. It might prove to be a modern marvel when it comes to fighting cancer!