Arthritis is a widespread disease which effects the joints weakens them. Common symptoms include joint pain, swelling and inflammation.
The most prevalent forms are the two chronic forms- osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Other forms of this disease are septic arthritis, gout and reactive arthritis. Several connective tissue disorders are also classified as arthritic problems.
Rheumatoid arthritis is characterised by a painful and progressive onset.
It is an inflammatory form of the disease which causes nodule and lump formation as it spreads.
These formations can be harmful to the lungs and eyes.
The aim of rheumatoid arthritis treatment is healing through reducing pain, inflammation and bringing about improved the functionality of the joint.
What is Thymoquinone?
Thymoquinone is a phytochemical compound that can be obtained from the plant extract of Nigella Sativa.e black cumin.
Nigella sativa has been used for its therapeutic properties for centuries.
Through traditional means thymoquinone has been extracted and used extensively for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective qualities.
Considering these benefits, scientists in recent years have been investigating its use in treatment of many common diseases.
The biological effects of this compound on the human body are largely positive. They have showed promise in treatment of diseases like asthma, hypertension, diabetes, inflammation, cough, bronchitis, headache, eczema, fever, dizziness and influenza.
Their general mechanism is a combination of antimutagenic, antoxidant and anti-inflammatory activities on effected cells. Researchers believe that they may be applicable in rheumatoid arthritis treatment as well.
7 Benefits of Thymoquinone in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Considering the several benefits of thymoquinone, researchers attempted to use it as a therapeutic agent for rheumatoid arthritis treatment.
Rheumatoid arthritis is often characterized by inflammation and pain.
Thymoquinone is known to relieve such symptoms and could thus be a potential remedy for this problem.
Here, we explore some of the factors associated to Nigella Sativa and its healing properties in rheumatoid arthritis along with suitable scientific evidence:
1.Thymoquinone in Nigella sativa has anti-inflammatory effect in rheumatoid arthritis
Inflammation is a key factor contributing to joint pain and swelling and one of the main markers of rheumatoid arthritis.
In order to understand the anti-inflammatory activity of the alcoholic extract of nigella sativa, a study was conducted using an animal model.
It was found that there was a significant decrease in inflammation status in the thymoquinone treated cells with respect to the concentration thymoquinone supplied.
What does this mean? From this study, it can be understood that supplementation of thymoquinone to rheumatoid arthritis patients bears potential to reduce cytotoxic activity and relive inflammation.
2.It has anti-arthritic activity
There are several biomarkers that act systematically with one another in order to express arthritic conditions.
Some of these are the cytokines, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8 and most importantly, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α.
An experiment to determine the effects of thymoquinone on regulation of TNF-α was carried out using cells of patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis who had undergone total joint replacement surgery or synovectomy. They were treated with thymoquinone on cell culture plates.
At the end of 24 hours, the levels of the biomarkers- cytokines, interleukin (IL)-8, IL-6, and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α were estimated through Western immunoblotting, ELISA and statistical analysis.
It was seen that the cell signalling pathway of the above mentioned biomarkers had been disturbed thus preventing their expression.
What does this mean? Thymoquinone supplementation to rheumatoid arthritis patients would be highly beneficial as it regulates biomarker levels and repairs the damage caused at the tissue.
3.Thymoquinone boosts immune defenses
Thymoquinone has been believed to possess immune modulatory abilities.
In order to use property to its full potential, its validity was tested by researchers using a suitable animal model.
Animal study demonstrates that thymoquinone decreasing swelling in the joints by regulating the activity of immune cells and reducing inflammation.
What does this mean? By monitoring levels of immune cells, thymoquinone decreases swelling and controls the effects of arthritis and inflammation on joints.
4.It slows disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis
Catabolic factors refer to those enzymes or compounds which accelerate the rate of disease expression and proliferation.
Nigella extracts are capable of monitoring the activity of such compounds thereby slowing down or reversing the progression of this disease.
A study was conducted to see how treatment with thymoquinone affected human rheumatoid fibroblasts as well as rheumatoid arthritis in animal model.
Over time it was seen that thymoquinone showed arthritic preventive effects in the given models when orally administered.
The serum levels of the catabolic factors such as extracellular regulated kinase, alkaline phosphatase and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase were significantly lowered.
What does this mean? From the above mentioned study it can be implied that thymoquinone can moderate the concentrations of catabolic factors and may be a clinically effective mode of preventing arthritis.
5.Thymoquinone from Nigella sativa has antioxidant action
Free radicles are harmful chemicals found in our body in an unbound state. Antioxidant compounds are responsible for keeping this in check.
However, if the rate of build-up of free radicles exceeds the rate of their elimination, it leads to a toxic condition known as oxidative stress.
The ability of thymoquinone to relieve oxidative stress has been studied using various animal models.
One study demonstrated that thymoquinone supplementation ameliorated oxidative stress in arthritis.
This was due to the ability of thymoquinone to effectively decrease catalase and articular elastase activity.
The extracts of nigella sativa manage to bring about biochemical changes within the body and improve the oxidative stress by removing free radicles.
What does this mean? It can be implied from this study that thymoquinone could be potentially used in rheumatoid arthritis treatment to eradicate harmful free radicles. It reduces oxidative stress and improves cell viability.
6.Thymoqunione protects stomach health
Studies have indicated that buildup of harmful microbes in the intestine and gut play a role in the flare ups related to rheumatoid arthritis.
Some of these organisms include Prevotellacopri and Bartonella.
Thymoquinone is known for its ability to treat digestive and repair intestinal damage.
This was studied by treating intestinal cells which were damaged by methotrexate with thymoquinone.
Thymoquinone was taken orally for a period of 10 days after which its effects were analysed by measuring oxidative/nitrosative stress, inflammatory and apoptotic markers.
The administration of the compound shown beneficial outcomes in all the required parameters.
Therefore, by introducing thymoquinone into our diets we would eliminate the damage and stress caused by harmful gut and intestine microbes.
What does this mean? The intestinal cleansing abilities of thymoquinone are helpful in arthritis treatment as they kill the microbes which cause flare ups in case of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
7.It has a chemopreventive action in rheumatoid arthritis
Cell adhesion is the process by which cell surfaces interact with one another and transport substances through their membranes.
This is one of the key steps in progression of rheumatoid arthritis.
Cell adhesion is chiefly mediated by the tumour necrosis factor in case of rheumatoid arthritis.
Through tests conducted on rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts it was seen that thymoquinone treatment is a useful mode of resolving this problem.
Thymoquinone down regulates TNF activity and prevents cell adhesion signals by interfering with them.
What does this mean? Thymoquinone inhibits TNF activity and blocks cell adhesion signals thereby preventing inflammation and proliferation of the disease.
Dosage of Thymoquinone For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Nutritionists and dieticians suggest that the best mode of introduction of probiotics into our system is by means of modifying our diet.
This can be carried out by adding crushed powder of nigella sativa seeds to our foods.
An added bonus is the spicy flavour it gives to our daily food items.
The recommended dosage of the powder is approximately 2-3g.
Scientists are still researching the full scope and outcomes of uses of thymoquinone in our diet.
Most reports indicate that its consumption is safe however a few cases of dermatitis have also occurred.
The pathways through which it modifies cell signals and immune responses are still poorly understood.
It is therefore best to consult with a healthcare professional first before initiating regular thymoquinone consumption.
Nigella sativa has been used for years due to its beneficial impacts on human health.
Since it is closely connected to immune cell activity and cell signal regulation, it could be a promising therapeutic agent in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Thymoquinone has shown potent abilities to relieve pain and swelling and are therefore highly recommended by nutritionists in treatment of many degenerative disorders.