Insights into the Protective Effects of Thymoquinone against Toxicities Induced by Chemotherapeutic Agents

The drugs used to treat cancer not only kill fast-growing cancer cells, but also kill or slow the growth of healthy cells, causing systemic toxicities that lead to altered functioning of normal cells. Most chemotherapeutic agents have serious toxicities associated with their use, necessitating extreme caution and attention. There is a growing interest in herbal remedies because of their pharmacological activities, minimal side effects, and low cost. Thymoquinone, a major component of the volatile oil of Nigella sativa Linn, also known as black cumin or black seeds, is commonly used in Middle Eastern countries as a condiment. It is also utilized for medicinal purposes and possesses antidiabetic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-microbial, immunomodulatory, and antioxidant properties. This review attempts to compile the published literature demonstrating thymoquinone’s protective effect against chemotherapeutic drug-induced toxicities.

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