Herb Combats Pancreatic Cancer

By AltMed1-Peggy  


Cancer News

April 21, 2009 

There’s new hope for pancreatic cancer thanks to new studies on an herb whose seed and oil have been used in Middle Eastern and Asian traditional medicine for thousands of years. 

Research reported at the American Association for Cancer Research’s (AACR) 100th Annual Meeting 2009 in Denver, Colorado, showed an extract of the herb, Nigella sativa, appears to inhibit the development of pancreatic cancer cells. Previous research found the same extract kills pancreatic cancer cells.  Thymoquinone, the major component in oil extracted from Nigella sativa, is the key.


If further studies prove the initial findings, this herb could offer preventive and therapeutic benefits for people who have chronic pancreatitis, people at high risk for pancreatic cancer, and pancreatic cancer patients who have had surgery for the condition,           according to researcher Hwyda Arafat, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery at the Jefferson Medical College and Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Dr. Hwyda Arafat photo courtesy of Thomas Jefferson University)

“These are very exciting and novel results,” Dr. Arafat said.   “More importantly, the herb and oil are safe when used moderately, and have been used for thousands of years without reported toxic effects.”

The study abstract (#494) is posted on the AACR site (linked above) and the research will be published in the Oxford journal HPB: The Official Journal of the International Hepato Pancreato Biliary Association 



Deaths:  Annual number of pancreatic cancer deaths (USA):  32,000

Survival:  Average 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer:  5.5%


For more information:

* Middle eastern herb shows potential against pancreatic cancer, by Stephen Daniels, 21 April 2009, NUTRAingredients.com

* An herbal extract inhibits the development of pancreatic cancer, News Release from Thomas Jefferson University, 19 April 2009, EurekAlert.org

* Nigella sativa, Cancer Information / Integrative Medicine, Sloan-Kettering Memorial Medical Center. Includes sketch of the herb and information about its uses. Last updated July 28, 2008.

* A Snapshot of Pancreatic Cancer, National Cancer Institute, last updated September 2008  (NOTE: This is a PDF document that requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader – choose the version that fits your computer here)


© 2009, all rights reserved





(c) 2009, all rights reserved.


  1. Posted January 19, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink | Reply

    Wow, I had not heard this before. Considering pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly, this is hopeful news.

  2. moussa
    Posted March 16, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink | Reply

    i am a doctor i work in a hospital of children in senegal and i make some search in nigellea sativa can you sent me some information about this

    • AltMed1
      Posted March 17, 2010 at 10:39 am | Permalink | Reply

      In addition to resources listed under the “for more information” section of the article, you will find basic information about the herb on standard search engines. If those two options do not provide the information you seek, perhaps you might contact the researcher named in the article. I hope this is helpful.

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