Thymoquinone is the major component of the seeds of black cumin (Nigelia sativa), which grows in countries around the Mediterranean Sea, is part of the Ranunculaeae family. It has been shown to be antihistaminic, antihypertensive, analgesic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antihelminic and antitumour. The major effects are believed to be due to quinones, of which the major chemical of black cumin seeds is thymoquinone.
Thymoquinone was studied by the authors in seizures in mice at doses of 40 and 80 mg./kg. Petit mal seizures were induced by chemicals and grand mal seizures induced by strong electroshocks.
Thymoquinone was shown to delay the onset of seizures and reduced the duration of seizures in the drug-induced petit mal seizures. The 40 mg./kg. dosage protected from death from the grand mal seizures by 71.4%, but, did not prevent grand mal seizures. The 80 mg./kg. dose protected from death by 100%.
Thymoquinone did have some effect on motor coordination and locomotor activity as a side effect. The animals were tested for balance by their ability to remain on a rotating rod after dosing with thymoquinone.
CONCLUSION: Thymoquinone from Nigelia sativa (black cumin) seeds protects mice from petit mal seizures, possibly due to an increase in GABA tone. The severe electroshock induced seizures were not prevented by thymoquinone, but thymoquione did protect against death from such seizures.
NOTE: Grand mal seizures are more severe and consist of prolonged loss of consciousness, falling, incontinence, major muscle jerking and a period of confusion following the seizure. Petit mal seizures are milder than grand mal seizures and consist of brief lapses of consciousness and/or muscle jerks.
Nigelia sativa is often known as black cumin. Read more about the anticonvulsant effects.
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