The protective effect of Nigella sativa against liver injury: a review

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Pharmaceutical Research Center, Department of Pharmacodynamics and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Nigella sativa (Family Ranunculaceae) is a widely used medicinal plant throughout the world. N. sativa is referred in the Middle East as a part of an overall holistic approach to health. Pharmacological properties of N. sativa including immune stimulant, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antioxidant, hypoglycemic, spasmolytic and bronchodilator have been shown. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress are known as the major causes of many diseases such as liver injury and many substances and drugs can induce oxidative damage by generation of ROS in the body. Many pharmacological properties of N. sativa are known to be attributed to the presence of thymoquinone and its antioxidant effects. Thymoquinone protects liver from injury via different mechanisms including inhibition of iron-dependent lipid peroxidation, elevation in total thiol content and glutathione level, radical scavengering, increasing the activity of quinone reductase, catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione transferase, inhibition of NF-κB activity and inhibition of both cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. Therefore, this review aimed to highlight the roles of ROS in liver diseases and the mechanisms of N. sativa in prevention of liver injury.


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