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Abstract

Cumin (Cuminumcyminum) is an important and popular spice locally known as 'zeera' that is used for culinary purpose due to its special aromatic effect. Cumin is a traditional and much used spice from Middle Ages because it was an icon of love and fidelity. The proximate analysis of the cumin seeds reveals that they contain fixed oil, volatile oils, acids, essential oils, protein and other elements. Cumin contains some important components such as pinene, cymene, terpinene, cuminaldehyde, oleoresin, thymol and others that have shown their efficacy against various diseases. It is an important source of energy, strengthens immune system, gives protection against many diseases.The total phenolic content of methanolic extracts of different cumin varieties (cumin, black cumin and bitter cumin) range from 4.1 to 53.6 mg/g dry weight. In this comprehensive review, focus is on the nutritional, antioxidant and pharmacological properties of cumin.
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Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies 2018; 6(2): 232-236
ISSN (E): 2320-3862
ISSN (P): 2394-0530
NAAS Rating: 3.53
JMPS 2018; 6(2): 232-236
© 2018 JMPS
Received: 04-01-2018
Accepted: 08-02-2018
Tabasum Fatima
Assistant Professor, Kashmir
Tibbiya College Hospital and
Research Centre, Srinagar,
Jammu and Kashmir, India
Beenish
Ph. D Scholar Division of Food
Science and Technology,
SKUAST Kashmir, Jammu and
Kashmir, India
Bazila Naseer
Ph. D Scholar Division of Food
Science and Technology,
SKUAST Kashmir, Jammu and
Kashmir, India
Gousia Gani
Ph. D Scholar Division of Food
Science and Technology,
SKUAST Kashmir, Jammu and
Kashmir, India
Tahiya Qadri
Ph. D Scholar Division of Food
Science and Technology,
SKUAST Kashmir, Jammu and
Kashmir, India
Tashooq Ah Bhat
Ph. D Scholar Division of Food
Science and Technology,
SKUAST Kashmir, Jammu and
Kashmir, India
Correspondence
Tabasum Fatima
Assistant Professor, Kashmir
Tibbiya College Hospital and
Research Centre, Srinagar,
Jammu and Kashmir, India
Antioxidant potential and health benefits of
cumin
Tabasum Fatima, Beenish, Bazila Naseer, Gousia Gani, Tahiya Qadri and
Tashooq Ah Bhat
Abstract
Cumin (Cuminumcyminum) is an important and popular spice locally known as ‘zeera’ that is used for
culinary purpose due to its special aromatic effect. Cumin is a traditional and much used spice from
Middle Ages because it was an icon of love and fidelity. The proximate analysis of the cumin seeds
reveals that they contain fixed oil, volatile oils, acids, essential oils, protein and other elements. Cumin
contains some important components such as pinene, cymene, terpinene, cuminaldehyde, oleoresin,
thymol and others that have shown their efficacy against various diseases. It is an important source of
energy, strengthens immune system, gives protection against many diseases.The total phenolic content of
methanolic extracts of different cumin varieties (cumin, black cumin and bitter cumin) range from 4.1 to
53.6 mg/g dry weight. In this comprehensive review, focus is on the nutritional, antioxidant and
pharmacological properties of cumin.
Keywords: Antioxidant potential, health benefits, locally known
Introduction
Spices have been known for ages as effective therapeutic food. The power of spices to impart
biological activity is now slowly reemerging as an area of interest for human health. The seed
spices constitute an important group of agricultural commodities and play a significant role in
our national economy. The cropscovered as major seed spices are coriander, cumin, fennel and
fenugreek, whereas ajowan, dill (sowa), celery, nigella (kalonji), caraway (siahjeera) and anise
constitute minor group of seed spices (Rathore et al. 2013) [18]. Cumin (Cuminumcyminum)
seeds (Figure 1) are obtained from the herb Cuminumcyminum, native from East
Mediterranean to South Asia belonging to the family Apiaceae-a member of the parsley
family. Cumin seeds are oblong and yellow-grey. Cumin seeds are liberally used in several
cuisines of many different food cultures since ancient times, in both whole and ground forms.
In India, cumin seeds have been used for thousands of years as a traditional ingredient of
innumerable dishes including kormas and soups and also form an ingredient of several other
spice blends. Besides food use, it has also many applications in traditional medicine. In the
Ayurvedic system of medicine in India, cumin seeds have immense medicinal value,
particularly for digestive disorders. They are used in chronic diarrhoea and dyspepsia. Black
seed (also known as black cumin; Nigella sativa) (Figure 1) is an annual flowering plant
belonging to the family Ranunculaceae and is a native of Southern Europe, North Africa, and
Southwest Asia. Black cumin is cultivated in the Middle Eastern Mediterranean region,
Southern Europe, Northern India, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Nigella
sativa seeds and their oil have a long history of folklore usage in Indian and Arabian
civilization as food and medicine (Yarnell and Abascal, 2011) [28]. The seeds of N. sativa have
a pungent bitter taste and aroma and are used as a spice in Indian and extensively in Middle
Eastern cuisines. The dry-roasted nigella seeds flavour curries, vegetables, and pulses. Black
seeds are used in food as a flavouring additive in breads and pickles. It is also used as an
ingredient of the spice mixture (panchphoron) and also independently of many recipes in
Bengali cuisine. Cumin was traditionally used as a preservative in mummification in the
ancient Egyptian civilization. Black cumin has a long history of use as medicine in the Indian
traditional system of medicine like Unani and Ayurveda (Sharma et al. 2005) [20].
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Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies
Fig 1: Different varieties of Cumin
Cumin (Cuminumcyminum) is a flowering plant in the family
Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to East India. In
India cumin is known in as ‘jeera’ or ‘jira’ and in Iran it is
called ‘zira’. Indonesians call it ‘jintan’ (or jinten) and in
China it is called ‘ziran’ but in Pakistan it is known as ‘zeera’
(Nadeem et al, 2003). Cumin is a herbaceous annual plant,
with a slender branched stem 20-30 cm tall. The leaves are 5-
10 cm long, pinnate or bipinnate, thread-like leaflets. The
flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels. The
fruit is a lateral fusiform or ovoid achene 4-5 mmlong,
containing a single seed. Cumin seeds are similar to fennel
and anise seeds in appearance, but are smaller anddarker in
color (Jazani et al. 2008) [8]. The English cumin was derived
from the French cumin, which was borrowed indirectly from
Arabic ‘Kammon’ via Spanish ‘comino’ during the Arab rule
in Spain in the 15th century. The spice is native to Arabic-
speaking Syria where cumin thrives in its hot and arid lands
(Nadeem et al. 2003).
Nutrition
Cumin seeds are nutritionally rich; they provide high amounts
of fat (especially monounsaturated fat), protein, and dietary
fibre. Vitamins B and E and several dietary minerals,
especially iron, are also considerable in cumin seeds.
Cuminaldehyde (Figure 2), cymene, and terpenoids are the
major volatile components of cumin (Bettaieb et al. 2011) [3].
Fig 2: Major bioactive compounds of cumin and black seeds.
Cumin has a distinctive strong flavour. Its warm aroma is due
to its essential oil content. Its main constituent of aroma
compounds arecuminaldehyde and cuminic alcohol. Other
important aroma compounds of roasted cumin are the
substituted pyrazines, 2-ethoxy-3-isopropylpyrazine, 2-
methoxy-3-sec-butylpyrazine, and 2-methoxy-3-
ethylpyrazine. Other components include γ-terpinene,
safranal, p-cymene, and β-pinene (Li and Jiang, 2004) [13].
Cumin essential oil contents
The most important chemical component of cumin fruits is
essential oil content, ranging from 2.5% to 4.5% which is pale
to colorless depending on age and regional variations. The
ripe seeds of cumin are used for essential oil production, both
as whole seeds or coarsely ground seeds. If freely alcohol-
soluble oil is required, the whole seed must be used. Hydro
distillation is used for essential oil extraction, producing a
colorless or pale yellow oily liquid with a strong dour. The
yield for oil production varies from 2.5 to 4.5%, depending on
whether the entire seed or the coarsely ground seed is
distilled. In a study, the essential oil composition of cumin
seeds after subjecting them to heating by microwaves and
conventional roasting at different temperatures was studied.
The conditions were standardized in both methods. The
volatile oils distilled from these samples were analysed by GC
and GC-MS. The results indicated that the microwave-heated
samples showed better retention of characteristic flavor
compounds, such as aldehydes, than did the conventionally
roasted samples (Behera et al. 2004) [2]. Jalali-Heravi et al.
(2007) [7] used Gas chromatographymass spectrometry to
characterize the essential oil components of Iranian cumin. A
total of 19 components were identified by direct similarity
searches for cumin oil. This number was extended to 49
components, with the help of chemometrictechniques. Major
constituents in cumin are gamma-terpinene (15.82%), 2-
methyl-3-phenyl-propanal (32.27%) and myrtenal (11.64%).
In addition to volatile oil cumin also contains nonvolatile
chemical components including tannins, oleoresin, mucilage,
gum, protein compounds and malates. The oleoresins are
obtained by subjecting the ground cumin to different organic
solvents such as nhexane, ethanol, methanol etc. The extract
obtained is then subjected to rotary evaporation to remove the
solvent (Peter, 2001) [17]. Kanakdande et al. (2007) [10] studied
the microencapsulations of cumin oleoresin by spray drying
using gum arabic, maltodextrin, and modified starch and their
ternary blends as wall materials for its encapsulation
efficiency and stability under storage. The microcapsules
were evaluated for the content and stability of volatiles, and
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Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies
total cuminaldehyde, γ-terpinene and p-cymene content for
six weeks. Gum Arabic offered greater protection than
maltodextrin and modified starch, in general, although the
order of protection offered was volatiles > Cuminaldehyde >
p-cymene > γ-terpinene. A 4/6:1/6:1/6 blend of gum
arabic/maltodextrin/modifiedstarch offered a protection,
better than gum arabic as seen from the t1/2, i.e. time required
for a constituent to reduce to 50% of its initial value. However
protective effect of ternary blend was not similar for the all
the constituents, and followed an order of volatiles > p-
cymene > Cuminaldehyde > γ-terpinene.
Antioxidative properties of cumin
Cumin has also been tested for its antioxidative properties.
The total phenolic content of methanolic extracts of different
cumin varieties (cumin, black cumin and bitter cumin) ranged
from 4.1 to 53.6 mg/g dry weight. Cumin (Cuminumcyminum)
methanol extract was found to contain a total phenolic content
of 9 mg/g dry weight. It has been also shown that the
methanolic extracts of cumin show higher antioxidant activity
compared with that of the aqueous extract (Thippeswamy and
Naidu, 2005) [25]. In another study the antioxidant activity and
the phenolic compounds of 26 spice extracts including cumin
was assessed. Antioxidant activity was expressed as TEAC
(mmol of trolox/100 g of dry weight). Cumin showed a value
of 6.61 mmol of trolox/ 100 g of dry weight while the total
phenolic content of cumin was 0.23g of gallic acid equivalent/
100 g of dry weight (Shan et al. 2005) [19]. The antioxidant
capacity of cumin (Cuminumcyminum) has been tested on
Fe2+ ascorbate induced rat liver microsomal lipid
peroxidation, soybean lipoxygenase dependent lipid
peroxidation and 1, 1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH)
radical scavenging methods. The total phenolic content of
methanolic extract of cumin was 9 mg/ g dry weight. IC50
values of the methanolic extract of cumin seeds were
1.72±0.02, 0.52±0.01 and 0.16±0.30 on the lipoxygenase
dependent lipid peroxidation system, the DPPH radical
scavenging system and the rat liver microsomal lipid
peroxidation system, respectively. The data also showed that
cumin is a potent antioxidant capable of scavenging hydroxy,
peroxy and DPPH free radicals and thus inhibits
radicalmediated lipid peroxidation (Thippeswamy and Naidu,
2005) [25]. In another study the antioxidant activity and the
phenolic compounds of 26 spice extracts including cumin was
assessed. Antioxidant activity was expressed as TEAC (mmol
of trolox/100 g of dry weight). Cumin showed a value of 6.61
mmol of trolox/ 100 g of dry weight while the total phenolic
content of cumin was 0.23g of gallic acid equivalent/ 100 g of
dry weight (Shan et al. 2005) [19].
Digestive Stimulant Action
In the context of cumin seeds being claimed in home remedies
and traditional medicine, to aid digestion, an animal study has
examined whether they have any stimulatory effect on the
digestive enzymes. The influence of cumin seeds on the
digestive enzymes of the rat pancreas and intestinal mucosa
has particularly been investigated as a result of both
continuous dietary intake and single oral administration
(Platel and Srinivasan, 1996; 2000a). Dietary (1.25%) cumin
lowered the activity of pancreatic lipase, whereas the
activitiesof pancreatic trypsin, chymotrypsin, and amylase
were significantly enhanced by the same (Platel and
Srinivasan, 2000a). When given as asingle oral dose, cumin
exerted a lowering effect on pancreatic lipase, amylase,
trypsin, and chymotrypsin. Among the terminal
digestiveenzymes, a small intestinal maltase activity was
significantly higher in animals fed with cumin, whereas
lactase and sucrose were unaffected (Platel and Srinivasan,
1996). Dietary cumin had a significant stimulatory effect on
bile flow rate, the extent of increase in bile volume being 25
per cent, whereas its single oral dose did not have any effect
on bile secretion rate (Platel and Srinivasan, 2000b). Dietary
intake of cumin had a profound influence on bile acid output
(quantity secreted per unit time), bile acid secretion being as
high as 70 per cent over the control. Similar significant
increases in bile acid secretion were seen in the case of cumin
when administered as a single oral dose. Since bile juice
makes a significant contribution to the overall process of
digestion and absorption, essentially by supplying bile acids
required for micelle formation, it is expected that cumin,
which has a digestive stimulant action, could do so by
stimulating biliary secretion of bile acids. Another study has
examined whether this digestive stimulant spice cumin also
affects the duration of residence of food in the gastrointestinal
tract of experimental rats (Platel and Srinivasan, 2001).
Cumin produced a significant shortening of the food transit
time by 25 per cent. The reduction in food transit time
produced by dietary cumin roughly correlates with their
beneficial influence either on digestive enzymes or bile
secretion.
Antidiabetic Effects
The antidiabetic effect of cumin seeds has been reported in
humandiabetics (Karnick, 1991) [12]. In this study, 80 patients’
withnon-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus were orally
administered for24 weeks with an Ayurvedic formulation
containing C. cyminum. Fasting and post-prandial blood sugar
at 6-week intervals wassignificantly reduced in all the
patients. Dietary cumin seeds wereobserved to alleviate
diabetes-related metabolic abnormalities in STZ-diabetic rats
(Willatgamuwa et al. 1998) [27].
Anti-inflammatory effects
Cumin essential oil was investigated for the anti-
inflammatory effects in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated
RAW 264.7 cells and the underlying mechanisms (Wei et al.
2015) [26]. Volatile constituents were identified in essential oil
using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), the
most abundant constituent being cuminaldehyde (48.8%).
Cumin oil exerted anti-inflammatory effects in LPS-
stimulated RAW cells through inhibiting NF-κB and
mitogenactivated protein kinases suggesting its potential as an
anti-inflammatory agent (Srinivasan et al. 2018) [22]
Cardio-protective influence through hypolipidemic and
hypotensive effects
Cuminumcyminumis traditionally used for the treatment of
indigestion and hypertension. The anti-hypertensive potential
of aqueous extract of cumin seed and its role in arterial-
endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression, inflammation,
and oxidative stress have been evaluated in renal hypertensive
rats (Kalaivani et al. 2013) [9]. Cumin administered orally
(200 mg/kg body) for 9 weeks improved plasma nitric oxide
and reduced the systolic blood pressure in hypertensive rats.
This was accompanied by the up-regulation of the expression
of induciblenitric oxide synthase (iNOS), Bcl-2, TRX1, and
TRXR1 and downregulation of the expression of Bax, TNF-α,
and IL-6. These data suggest that cumin seeds augment
endothelial functions and ameliorate inflammatory and
oxidative stress in hypertensive rats (Kalaivani et al. 2013) [9]
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Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies
Gastroprotective Effect
The anti-ulcer potential of N. sativa aqueous suspension on
gastric ulcers experimentally induced with various noxious
chemicals (indomethacin, 80% ethanol, and 0.2 M NaOH) in
Wistar rats was examined (Al Mofleh et al. 2008) [1]. Nigella
sativa significantly prevented gastric ulcer formation induced
by necrotizing agents by significantly replenishing the
depleted gastric wall mucus content and gastric mucosal non-
protein sulfhydryl concentration. The antiulcer effect of N.
sativa was exerted through its antioxidant and anti-secretory
activities (Al Mofleh et al. 2008) [1]. Both N. sativa (2.5 and
5.0 ml/kg, p. o.) and TQ (5, 20, 50, and 100 mg/kg, p. o.)
were found to possess gastro-protective activity against
gastric mucosal injury induced by ischemia or reperfusion in
Wistar rats (El-Abhar et al. 2003) [4]. Lipid peroxidation and
lactate dehydrogenase, elevated by the ischemia or
reperfusion insult and decreased glutathione and activity of
SOD accompanied by an increased formation of gastric
lesions, were countered by N. sativa or TQ treatment,
indicating their gastroprotective effect, probably by
conservation of the gastric mucosal redox state (Srinivasan et
al. 2018) [22].
Pulmonary-protective activity and anti-asthmatic effects
Nigella sativa has been investigated for the possible beneficial
effects on experimental lung injury in rats after pulmonary
aspiration (Kanter, 2009) [11] and found that N. sativa
treatment inhibits the inflammatory pulmonary responses.
Nigella sativa therapy resulted in a significant reduction in the
activity of iNOS and an increase in surfactant protein D in the
lung tissue of different pulmonary aspiration models. It is
concluded that N. sativa treatment might be beneficial in lung
injury that merits potential clinical use. The ameliorative
effect of N. sativa oil in rats with hyperoxiainduced lung
injury has also been reported (Tayman et al. 2012) [23].
Chemopreventive Effects
Cancer chemopreventive potentials of dietary 2.5 and 5.0 per
cent cumin were evaluated against benzo (α) pyrene-induced
tumorigenesis in forestomach and 3-methylcholanthrene
(MCA)-induced tumorigenesis in uterine cervix in mice
(Gagandeep et al. 2003) [5]. Cumin produced a significant
inhibition of stomach tumour. The effect on carcinogen/
xenobiotic metabolizing phase I and phase II enzymes,
antioxidant enzymes, and lipid peroxidation in the liver was
also examined. Cytochrome P450 and cytochrome b5 were
significantly augmented bydietary cumin. The phase II
enzyme glutathione-S-transferase (GST) was increased by
cumin, whereas the specific activities of superoxide dismutase
(SOD) and catalase were significantly elevated. Lipid
peroxidation was inhibited by cumin, suggesting that the
cancer chemopreventive potential of cumin could be
attributed to its ability to modulate carcinogen metabolism.
The anti-cancer effect of N. sativa has extensively been
studied in different in vitro and in vivo models. Nigella sativa
is ableto exert antioxidant, anti-mutagenic, cytotoxic, pro-
apoptotic, antiproliferative, and anti-metastatic effects in
various primary cancercells and cancer cell lines
(Majdalawieh and Fayyad, 2016). The available studies
strongly suggest that N. sativa could serve as an
effectiveagent to control tumour initiation, growth, and
metastasis independently or in combination with conventional
chemotherapeutic drugs. Nigella sativa extract ameliorated
the benz -) pyreneinduced carcinogenesis in the
forestomach in mice (ArunaandSivaramakrishnan, 1990).
This is partly attributed to the ability to influence phase II
enzymes. Orally administered N. sativa oil (14 weeks)
interfered with the induction of aberrant crypt foci (ACF) by
1, 2-dimethylhydrazine, putative preneoplastic lesions for
colon cancer in rats (Salim and Fukushima, 2003). This
inhibition may be associated, in part, with the suppression of
cell proliferation in the colonic mucosa. Nigella sativa
aqueous suspension significantly prevented gastric ulcer
formation experimentally induced by necrotizing agents and
also significantly ameliorated the severity of ulcer and gastric
acid secretion in pylorus-ligated Shay rats (Al Mofleh et al.
2008) [1].
Immunomodulatory Action
The immunomodulatory properties of N. sativa and its major
active ingredient, TQ in terms of their experimentally
documented abilityto modulate cellular and humoral adaptive
immune responses have comprehensively been reviewed
(Majdalawieh and Fayyad, 2015) [14]. The molecular and
cellular mechanisms underlying such immunomodulatory
effects of N. sativa and TQ are highlighted, and the signal
transduction pathways implicated in the immunoregulatory
functions are suggested. Experimental evidence suggests that
N. sativa extracts and TQ can therapeutically be employed in
the regulation of immune reactions in infectious and non-
infectious conditions such as allergy, autoimmunity, and
cancer. The potential immunomodulatory effects of aqueous
extract of N. sativa investigated in BALB/c mice and
C57/BL6 primary cellswith respect to splenocyte
proliferation, macrophage function, and anti-tumor activity
demonstrated that N. sativa significantly enhancessplenocyte
proliferation in a dose-responsive manner (Ghonime et al.
2011) [6].
Conclusion
The overall evaluation of this review concludes that cumin
has a good antioxidant potential. The essential oils present in
this spice have high antioxidant activity and its nonvolatile
extracts also have good inhibition properties against the free
radicals. Multiple studies made in the last decades validate its
health beneficial effects particularly in diabetes, dyslipidemia,
hypertension, respiratory disorders, inflammatory diseases,
and cancer. These seeds also possess immune stimulatory,
gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, and
neuroprotective activities. Therefore, this study concludes that
cumin in addition to its use as a flavoring agent, has good
antioxidant potential and has many with health benefits as
well.
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Cumin seeds ( Cuminum cyminum L.) have been commonly used in food flavoring and perfumery. In this study, cumin essential oil (CuEO) extracted from seeds was employed to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects in lipopolysaccharide- (LPS-) stimulated RAW 264.7 cells and the underlying mechanisms. A total of 26 volatile constituents were identified in CuEO by GC-MS, and the most abundant constituent was cuminaldehyde (48.773%). Mitochondrial-respiration-dependent 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium (MTT) reduction assay demonstrated that CuEO did not exhibit any cytotoxic effect at the employed concentrations (0.0005–0.01%). Real-time PCR tests showed that CuEO significantly inhibited the mRNA expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase (COX-2), interleukin- (IL-) 1, and IL-6. Moreover, western blotting analysis revealed that CuEO blocked LPS-induced transcriptional activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF- κ B) and inhibited the phosphorylation of extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). These results suggested that CuEO exerted anti-inflammatory effects in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells via inhibition of NF- κ B and mitogen-activated protein kinases ERK and JNK signaling; the chemical could be used as a source of anti-inflammatory agents as well as dietary complement for health promotion.
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Many herbal products are now used as remedies to treat various infectious and non-infectious conditions. Even though the use of herbs and natural products is much more evident in the Eastern world, their use in Western cultures is continuously increasing. Although the immunomodulatory effects of some herbs have been extensively studied, research related to possible immunomodulatory effects of many herbs and various spices is relatively scarce. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of Nigella sativa, also known as black seed or black cumin, and its major active ingredient, thymoquinone (TQ). This review article focuses on analyzing in vitro and in vivo experimental findings that were reported with regard to the ability of N. sativa and TQ to modulate inflammation, cellular and humoral adaptive immune responses, and Th1/Th2 paradigm. The reported capability of N. sativa to augment the cytotoxic activity of natural killer (NK) cells against cancer cells is also emphasized. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying such immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects of N. sativa and TQ are highlighted. Moreover, the signal transduction pathways implicated in the immunoregulatory functions of N. sativa and TQ are underscored. Experimental evidence suggests that N. sativa extracts and TQ can potentially be employed in the development of effective therapeutic agents towards the regulation of immune reactions implicated in various infectious and non-infectious conditions including different types of allergy, autoimmunity, and cancer. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Nigella sativa (black seed or black cumin) originated from the Mediterranean region and has been used in cultures in that area since time immemorial. The well-named herb has jetblack seeds notable for their content of terpenoids, particularly thymoquinone, and fatty acids. Clinical trials have validated this herb's traditional use for treating atopic disorders. There is also clinical trial support, although preliminary, for the use of black seed in people withdrawing from, and trying to abstain from, opioids, and people who want to improve lipid profiles and/or decrease seizure frequency. Other actions black seed shows are antidiabetic, antineoplastic, antimicrobial, inflammation-modulating, redox-modulating, immunomodulating, analgesic, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, and gastroprotective effects. Animal studies suggest that this herb may be a useful adjunct to cancer chemotherapy and acetaminophen. Black seed is extremely safe if used in proper doses and is a widely utilized food item in the Middle East and India. Further research is needed but this resource should be more widely utilized in the West.
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Cumin seed (Cuminum cyminum), a commonly consumed spice was examined for a possible anti-diabetic influence in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. An eight week dietary regimen containing cumin powder (1.25%) was found to be remarkably beneficial, as indicated by reduction in hyperglycaemia and glucosuria. This was also accompanied by improvement in body weights of diabetic animals on the cumin diet. Dietary cumin also countered other metabolic alterations as revealed by lowered blood urea level and reduced excretions of urea and creatinine by diabetic animals.
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