Nigerian scientists have identified and validated the efficacy of more local plants in the treatment of cancers. They found that thymoquinone, kaurenoid acid and betulinic acid extracted from local plants showed anti-cancer activity against malignant brain tumours and breast cancer.

The researchers led by a Professor of Cancer Pharmacology at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Isa Marte Hussaini, in a recent study presented at the Nigerian Academy of Pharmacy’s (NAP) investiture of new Fellows in Lagos, said a total of 72 plants species were identified as useful in the treatment of cancers and inflammations; and the most commonly used plants belong to the following families: Caesalpiniaceae; Euphorbiaceae; Fabaceae; and Rubiaceae.

Top on the list of local herbs for the treatment of cancers is Nigella sativa (Black caraway or black seed), which contains thymoquinone that induces cell death in brain tumour cells.

Other members of the cancer research team at the University of Maiduguri include: Prof. Bala Audu – Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist; Prof. Ibrahim Iliya– pharmaceutical chemist; Prof. Babagana Kolo- chemist; Dr. Bababayo Usman- consultant surgeon; Prof. Ahmed Mayun- consultant pathologist; Yabalu Abacha- Pharmacognocist; and Ali Musa Audu– consultant herbalist.

Hussaini, a new Fellow of NAP, in his keynote address at the event noted: “We screened 60 plant extracts. 22 were found to kill brain tumour cells (IC50 values = 125- 12.5 mg/ml). 15 killed breast cancer cells (IC50 values= 125 and 12.5 mg/ml). Out of the 37 that were biologically active, 10 extracts were extremely effective (IC50 = 12.5 mg/ml or less) against brain tumors and breast cancer cells.”

The Professor of Pharmacology concluded: “Isolation of thymoquinone from Black caraway. Ethnomedical survey indentified 60 plants. 10 plant extracts showed robust anticancer activity with IC50 values of less than 12.5 mg/ml

“We had isolated seven compounds so far. The structures of two compounds were determined to be Kaurenoic acid and Luteolin glycoside using spectroscopic methods (NMR and MS). A third compound, Betulinic acid was also isolated and characterized from Ziziphus spina-christi.

“Both Kaurenoid acid and Betulinic acid showed anti-cancer activity against malignant brain tumours and breast cancer.”

Other local plants identified that could be found nationwide include: Euphorbia hirta; Terminalia avecenniodes; Parkia biblobosa; Piliostigma reticulatum; Vitellaria parodoxa; Amaranthus spinosus; Annona senegalensis; Tamarandis indica; and Cassia siberiana.

Euphorbia hirta belongs to the plant family Euphorbiaceae. It is called In Nigeria, asin uloko in Edo, Nonon kurciya in Hausa, Chamma chamma in Kanuri, endamyel in Fula-Fulfulde, ba ala in Igbo (Owerri), akun esan in Yoruba.

Euphorbia hirta is also locally known as ogwu ngwo (eczema drug) in some eastern parts of Nigeria is used locally to arrest bleeding in the event of an injury. Leaves of Euphorbia hirta are used in traditional medicine for the treatments of boils, wounds and control of diarrhoea and dysentery.

Terminalia avicennioides belongs to the plant family Combretaceae. It is called kpaca in Nupe, kpayi in Gwari, baushe in Hausa, igiodan in Yoruba and edo in Igbo.

Terminalia avicennioides is a yellowish brown, hard and durable wood. The roots, which are used as chewing sticks have been claimed to cure dental caries and skin infections. Previous studies showed that the bark extract of Terminalia avicennioides exhibited both vibrocidal and typhoidal activities.

Parkia biglobosa (dawadawa in Hausa, African locust beans in English) is of the plant family Fabaceae.

Commonly called Shea butter in Nigeria, okwuma in Igbo, kadanya in Hausa, and ori in Yoruba, Vitellaria paradoxa, is a tree of Sapotaceae family.

Amaranthus spinosus is commonly known as the spiny amaranth, spiny pigweed, prickly amaranth or thorny amaranth. Amaranthus viridis (amaranth, tete in Yoruba, akwukwo nri in Ibo).

Annona senegalensis, commonly known as African custard-apple, wild custard apple, and wild soursop, is a species of flowering plant in the custard apple family, Annonaceae.

Commonly called Black Tamarind, Tamarindus indica is a leguminous tree in the family Fabaceae. It is called icheku in Ibo.

Cassia sieberiana, which is of plant family Leguminosae and known to the Hausas as Araho, Gama fada, Gamdafadaa, Gwazkiya or Margaa, and Aridan toro in Yoruba.

Some other plants used for the treatment of cancers in northern Nigeria include: leaves of Cissus ibuensis of plant family Ampelidaceae (Daddori in Hausa) for skin cancer; stem bark/leaves of Annona senegalensis of plant family.

Annonaceae (Gwandar daji in Hausa) for skin cancer/leukaemia; rhizomes of Aristolochia albida Dulchartre of plant family Aristolochiaceae (Duman dutse in Hausa for the treatment of many forms of cancers; aerial parts of Leptadenia hastata of plant family Asclepiadaceae (Yaadiya in Hausa) for cancers in general; stem bark of Boswellia dalzielii of plant family Burseraceae (Arrarabi in Hausa) for treating many forms of cancers; leaves Maytenus senegalensis of plant family Celastraceae (Mangaladi in Hausa) for cancers in general; and fruits of Ximenia Americana of plant family Olacaceae (Tsaada in Hausa) for many forms of cancers.

According to Natural News, Nigella sativa has been proven over and over again to successfully treat cancer without the use of conventional treatments. Nigella sativa has been shown to be effective against numerous cancers, such as pancreatic, colon, prostate, breast and even brain cancers. Indeed, Nigella sativa is cancer’s worst nightmare and a ray of hope for people who may have died otherwise.

Statistics show that the success rates of people using chemotherapy over a five year period is only 2.1 percent. Nigella sativa on the other hand was proven to annihilate pancreatic tumor cells at the rate of 80 percent. Chemotherapy has many side effects and one of the side effects is the possibility of secondary cancers. Secondary cancers are very aggressive and may occur from tumor reseeding.

Nigella sativa not only rebuilds the immune system and destroys cancer cells; it reinforces the good cells to fight the cancer. Needless to say, it is imperative to treat the cancer patient immediately or in the early stages if possible. Along with taking the oil, a cancer diet must be followed. Sugar, processed foods and white flours only feed the cancer and make the cancer fight much more difficult.

Presently, there are 462 published studies on the efficacy of Nigella sativa. There have been multiple studies on the effect of Nigella sativa and its anti-tumor capabilities. In 1997, at the Cancer Research Facility at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, United States (U.S.), Nigella sativa was proven to have enormous capabilities in tumour cell death.

1). Pancreatic cancer: A study was done at Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and the researchers found that by adding Nigella sativa, 80 percent of pancreatic cancer cells were destroyed. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in America with a four percent survival rate after five years using conventional treatments.

2). Colon cancer: In 2010, a research project was conducted in Tanta, Egypt on the use of Nigella sativa against colon cancer in rats. Nigella sativa greatly reduced the size of the tumours and also reduced the tumors in the lungs and alimentary canals.

3). Breast cancer: In 2003, researchers from Jackson State University in the U.S. tested Nigella sativa on breast cancer cells. Ending results showed promising advances in the treatment of breast cancer.

There are many success stories using Nigella sativa against cancer and how each protocol worked for that individual, such as the boy who took nine capsules a day of the black cumin oil (Nigella sativa) for brain cancer.
Nigella sativa cancer protocol

According to Natural News, the Nigella sativa cancer protocol is quite simple and very effective. Take three teaspoons of the oil a day mixed with half a teaspoon of raw honey or freshly squeezed juice. Take the first dosage half an hour before breakfast, the second one in the afternoon and the third dosage before going to bed.

An alternative dosage protocol is to use ground, heated seeds once a day and the oil twice a day. Simply mix the ground seeds with raw honey and eat as you would any sweet treat.

Until now, about 25 per cent of the prescription drugs used in the western world have active ingredients that originally derived from plants were 89 plant derived drugs that are currently used in western medicine as prescription medicines were discovered by studying folk knowledge of the plant’s properties.

Nigella sativa (N. sativa), belonging to the Ranunculaceae family, is an annual herbaceous plant native to Asian and Mediterranean countries. The plant is known as “black cumin” or “black seed”. There are numerous reports on the phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of black cumin.

Recent studies have shown that N. sativa seeds possess various pharmacological effects including analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive, antioxidant, anti-tumour and cytotoxic, anti-diabetic and anti- ulcer properties. Many of these properties have been attributed to its quinone constituents, and especially the thymoquinone of black cumin seeds. Many reports have also been cited the actions of N. sativa seed extracts or its oil on different bacterial isolates. The oil or its extracts have been found to have a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity. It has also been demonstrated that both crude alkaloid extracts and water extracts of N. sativa seeds were effective against a variety of organisms, isolated from human patients suffering from septic arthritis, and even many organisms that were resistant to antibiotics.

According to a study published in Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine titled “A review on therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb”, the plant has been widely used as antihypertensive, liver tonics, diuretics, digestive, anti-diarrheal, appetite stimulant, analgesics, anti-bacterial and in skin disorders.

The study noted: “Extensive studies on Nigella sativa have been carried out by various researchers and a wide spectrum of its pharmacological actions have been explored which may include anti-diabetic, anticancer, immune-modulator, analgesic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, bronchodilator, hepato-protective, renal protective, gastro-protective, antioxidant properties. Due to its miraculous power of healing, N. sativa has got the place among the top ranked evidence based herbal medicines. This is also revealed that most of the therapeutic properties of this plant are due to the presence of thymoquinone, which is major bioactive component of the essential oil.”

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