Monday, December 12, 2016

Nigella sativa (black cumin, czarnuszka, etc.) also helps mice come off morphine addiction

I posted earlier about a study wherein it was observed that ellagic acid helped mice cope with coming off morphine. I came across another study from 2016 finding that thymoquinone, which is found in the spice nigella sativa (also called czarnuszka, kalonji, and black cumin), also helps mice come off morphine addiction:

Dependence and tolerance are major restricting factors in the clinical use of opioid analgesics. In the present study, the effects of thymoquinone, the major constituent of Nigella sativa seeds, on morphine dependence and tolerance were investigated in mice.MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Male adult NMRI mice were made tolerant and dependent by repeated injections of morphine (50, 50, and 75 mg/kg, i.p. on 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m., respectively) during a 3-day administration schedule. The hot-plate test was used to assess tolerance to the analgesic effects of morphine. Naloxone (2 mg/kg, i.p.) was injected to precipitate withdrawal syndrome in order to assess the morphine dependence. To evaluate the effects of thymoquinone on tolerance and dependence to morphine, different single or repeated doses of thymoquinone were administered in mice. Rotarod was used to assess the motor coordination.RESULTS:
Administration of single or repeated doses of thymoquinone (20 and 40 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly decreased the number of jumps in morphine dependent animals. Repeated administration of thymoquinone (20 and 40 mg/kg, for 3 days) and also single injection of thymoquinone (40 mg/kg, on the fourth day) attenuated tolerance to the analgesic effect of morphine. None of the thymoquinone doses (10, 20, and 40 mg/kg) produced any antinociceptive effects on their own. Motor coordination of animals was impaired by the high dose of thymoquinone (40 mg/kg).CONCLUSION:
Based on these results, it can be concluded that thymoquinone prevents the development of tolerance and dependence to morphine.

Both studies were done in Iran, although in different cities. Why would Iran be so interested in morphine addiction? Because Iran apparently has the highest prevalence of opium addiction in the world. ( Iran borders Afghanistan, the world's leading producer of opium. 

Nigella sativa is a peppery spice that is widely used in some of the same areas where opium is grown, so if it turns out to have a compound that can help end opium addiction, that would be convenient.

However, thymoquinone does appear to inhibit angiogenesis (, which appears connected to fetal limb deformities per a prior post of mine, so pregnant women should probably avoid it (sorry, Bengali curry fans -

Recent US news headlines on heroin say that overdoses now kill more people in the USA than do gun deaths. Many heroin addicts get started down the road to heroin use by becoming dependent on legitimately-needed prescription opiate medications after an injury or surgery. If ellagic acid and thymoquinone can help these people end their addiction to pain meds, perhaps they'll not go down the heroin road at all. One can hope.

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