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Black Seed - an Amazing Herb

For centuries, the Black Seed herb and oil have been used by millions of people in Asia, Middle East, parts of Europe and Africa to support their health. An aromatic spice, small and similar in size to sesame seed, it has been traditionally used for a variety of conditions and treatments related to respiratory health, stomach and intestinal health, kidney and liver function, circulatory and immune system support, and for general overall well-being.

Black Seed is grown in various countries and therefore known by many names such as Black Cumin (Egypt), Black Caraway (Turkey), Kalonji (India/Pakistan), Habbatul Baraka or the Blessed Seed (Middle East), among others. Its botanical name is Nigella Sativa. Ever since its introduction to the United States in the late 1980's, it has been commonly referred to as 'Black Seed' or 'Black Cumin' and often used as a spice in traditional Indian, Pakistani, Middle Eastern and Persian cuisines.

Black Seed's medicinal use has a very rich traditional history that goes beyond ancient Eygptian and Biblical times. Some sources suggest that a bottle containing Black Seed was found in Tutankhamen's tomb and a biblical reference to it is noted in the Old Testament (Isaiah 28: 25, 27). Another important ancient reference to Black Seed's use is from Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) who had declared it "a remedy for diseases except death." (Sahih Bukhari 71:592). Deeper research suggest that it was used as early as the 5th century B.C. by Hippocrates and by Pliny the Elder and Dioscorides.

The first known study on Black Seed was published in 1959 and since then, hundreds of studies at international universities and articles published in various journals have shown remarkable results supporting the benefits and uses of Black Seed alone or combined with other complementary herbs.

Amazingly Black Seed's chemical composition is very rich and diverse. Aside from its primary ingredient, crystalline nigellone, Black Seed contains 15 amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, both fixed oils (84% fatty acids, including linolenic, and oleic), and volatile oils, alkaloids, saponin, and crude fiber, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium and potassium. There are still many components in Black Seed that haven't been identified. But research is going on around the world. *

Links regarding Black Seed

WebMD | Yahoo Voices | Islam.ru

Natural Remedies of Arabia:
Black Seed

Arabic: Habba Souda, Habbat al-Barakah;
Other Name: Fennel Flower, Black Cumin Nigella sativa; Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Native to the Mediterranean and grown throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia, Nigella sativa is cultivated for its seeds, which are known as the “seeds of blessing.” For the Arabs, black seed is not only a food but also a valued traditional medicine that has long been used to treat such ailments as asthma, flatulence, polio, kidney stones, abdominal pain and so on. It has served as an important health and beauty aid for thousands of years.

According to tradition, the Prophet Muhammad described black seed as a cure for every disease except death. The great physician Ibn Sina (980–1037), better known as Avicenna, stated that black seed works as an expectorant, stimulates the body’s energy and helps overcome fatigue and dispiritedness.

How to use:

  1. Eat black seeds plain;
  2. Eat a teaspoon of black seed mixed with honey;
  3. Boil black seed with water. Strain and drink;
  4. Heat black seed and warm milk until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat. Cool, then drink;
  5. Grind black seed and swallow it with water or milk;
  6. Sprinkle on bread and pastries;
  7. Burn black seed with bukhoor (incense) for a pleasant scent.

In the kitchen: Black seed is aromatic with a slight peppery flavor. It is one of the distinct flavors of Arab pastries. It is often sprinkled on breads and cheese. It is heated with milk for flavor. It is eaten ground with honey or with cakes and pastries.

Remedies across Arabia: In Arabia, black seed remains a traditional remedy for asthma, coughs, stomach aches, abdominal pain, colic, general fatigue, rheumatism, mouth and larynx diseases, skin diseases and cancer. It is also believed to strengthen a mother after childbirth; stimulate menstruation, urination and liver functions; aid digestion; dissolve kidney stones; and increase intelligence. Black seed is used to beautify skin, nourish hair and stimulate hair growth.

Did you know?

Black seed was found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. This suggests that black seed had an important role in ancient Egypt, since it was customary to place in tombs items needed for the afterlife.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah contrasts Nigella (black cumin) with wheat. (See Isaiah 28:25-27)

FAQ's About Black Seed

What is Black Seed?

Black Seed is a traditional herb that has been in use for thousands of years by people living in the Middle East and some parts of Asia and Africa to promote health and general well-being. It is also known the “Blessed Seed”.

What are the essential properties of Black Seed?

Black Seed herb contains over 100 components, many of which still remain to be discovered. It is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids and contains about 35% oil, 21% protein, and 38% carbohydrates. More than 50% of the oil are essential fatty acids. It’s linoleic acid and gamma linolenic acid content help form Prostaglandin E1, which helps the body to inhibit infections, balances the immune system, and regulates allergic reactions. Gamma-linolenic acid also helps stabilize the cell membrane. Black Seed also contains about .5-1.5% volatile oils including Nigellone and Thymoquinone which have been researched for anti-histamine, anti-oxidant, anti-infective, and broncho-dialating effects.

What are some of the traditional uses of Black Seed?

Traditionally, Black Seed has been used for a variety of conditions and treatments related to respiratory health, stomach and intestinal complaints, kidney & liver support, circulatory and immune system support, and to improve general health. Black Seed oil has been used topically for different skin conditions, dryness, joint and scalp massage.

What scientific research has there been on Black Seed?

Since 1959, there have been over 200 studies at international universities and articles published in various journals showing remarkable results supporting some of its traditional uses. In 1960, Egyptian researchers isolated that Nigellone, which is only found in Black Seed and responsible for its broncho-dialating effect. Recently scientists in Europe studied the anti-bacterial and anti-mycotic effects of black seed oil. Scientists at the Cancer and Immuno-Biological Laboratory reported in a study that Black Seed may stimulate bone marrow and immune cells and may raise the interferon production, protect normal cells against cell destroying effects of viruses, and raise the number of anti-bodies producing B cells.

What about the effects of Black Seed and Prostaglandin E1 on the Immune System?

Through the formation of Protaglandin E1, the complete immune system is harmonized and the body’s over-reactive allergic reactions are stabilized. By also inhibiting infection, the immune system is able to prevent and control chronic illnesses. Healthy cells are protected from the damaging effects of viruses, inhibiting tumors. As a result Interferon cell protein is formed, inhibiting growth of damaging micro-organisms. Recently independent clinical studies in the Archives of Aids described the possible effects of Black Seed on the defense system by improving the ratio between helper T-cells and suppressor T-cells by a significant amount while also enhancing the natural killer cell activity.

What are some of the other Effects of Black Seed?

Black Seed may support metabolism and improve digestion. There have been studies published that show Black Seed may have a lowering effect on blood sugar levels and may useful in the treatment of diabetes melitus.

What are the overall benefits of Black Seed?

Black Seed is a multi-faceted herb with many benefits, especially when it comes to maintaining a strong and healthy immune system. It is also very useful for respiratory complaints and seasonal allergies, weakened or over-stimulated Immune system, kidney or liver problems, digestive and stomach complaints, and joint and circulation related issues. Black Seed is a safe herb that can be used by anyone. It has no known side effects and has a long history of use for several thousand years.

What is more effective, Black Seed herb or oil?

Both are equally effective, but Black Seed oil is more concentrated and contains greater amounts of essential fatty acids. Caution should be taken when using low quality imported black seed oil because many oil products are imported and be adulterated or mixed with carrier oils. Some oils coming from the Middle East are extracted with heat and hexane, a petroleum by-product. Always use a product that is labeled as 100%, cold-pressed, solvent free, and packed and sealed by machine.

Black Seed Around The World

There is lot of confusion about the names of Black Seed (Nigella Sativa) which is primarily due to different countries and regions where it is used and grown. In English it is commonly referred to as Black Cumin or Black Caraway, although it has no relation to the common Cumin or Caraway that is used as a spice in cooking. That is why the popular name "Black Seed" best describes this herb and this name has been associated with Nigella Sativa for the last 30 years in the United States, Middle East and Europe.

Gernot Katzer culinary spice expert and former researcher at the University of Graz, Austria, has compiled an extensive list of the different names of this remarkable herb and spice in 63 languages. Its interesting as he notes that nearly all names of Black Seed contain an element meaning black in reference to the unusually dark colour of the seeds and have a second part that means cumin, caraway or simply grain.

Albanian Fara e zezë
Amharic ጥቁር አዝሙድ
Tikur Azmud
Arabic حبة السوداء, حبة البركة, كمون اسود, شونيز
حَبَّة الْسَوْدَاء, حَبَّة الْبَرَكَة, كَمُّون أَسْوَد, شُونِيز
Habbet as-suda, Habbeh as-sudah, Habbet al-suda, Habbeh al-suda, Habbah sauda, Habbah al-baraka, Kamun aswad, Sanouz, Shuniz, Shunez, Sinouj
Assamese কালজিৰা
Azeri Çörək otu
Чөрәк оту
Bengali কাল জিরা, কালোজিরা
Kalo jira
Bulgarian Челебитка посевна, Черен кимион
Chelebitka posevna, Cheren kimion
Catalan Sanuj, Barba d’ermità
黑種草 [hàk júng chóu]
Hak jung chou
黑種草 [hēi zhǒng cǎo]
Hei zhong cao
Croatian Crni kumin, Crnog kima
Czech Černý kmín, Černucha
Danish Sortkommen
Dhivehi ކަޅު ދިރި
Kalu dhiri
Dutch Nigelle, Narduszaad
English Black Cumin, Black Caraway, Black Seed
Esperanto Nigelo
Estonian Mustköömen, Põld-mustköömen
Farsi سیاه دانه
Siah daneh
Finnish Ryytineito, Sipulinsiemen, Rohtoneidonkukka, Mustakumina, Mustasiemen; Neidonkukka (applies to the whole genus)
French Cheveux de Vénus, Nigelle, Poivrette
Gaelic Lus an fhograidh
German Zwiebelsame, Nigella, Schwarzkümmel
Greek Μελάνθιον, Μελάνθιο, Νιγκέλα
Melanthion, Melanthio, Ninkela
Hebrew קצח
Ketzah, Qetsach
Hindi कलौंजी, कलोंजी
Kalaunji, Kalonji
Hungarian Feketekömény, Parasztbors, Kerti katicavirág, Borzaskata mag
Indonesian Jinten hitam
Italian Nigella, Grano nero
Japanese ニゲラ, ニジェーラ
Nigera, Nijera
Kannada ಕರಿ ಜೀರಿಗೆ
Kari jirige
Kazakh Содана
Korean 블랙쿠민, 대회향, 니겔라, 흑종초
Pullaek-kumin, Tae-hoehyang, Nigella; Hukchongcho (Nigella damascena)
Latin Git
Latvian Melnsēklīte
Lithuanian Juodgrūdė
Maithili मङरैला
Malay Jintan hitam
Malayalam കരിഞ്ചീരകം, കറുത്തജീരകം
Karinjeeragam, Karuta jirakam
Nepali मुग्रेलो, मुन्ग्रेलो
Mugrelo, Mungrelo
मुग्रेला, हाजी, हजि
Mugrela, Haji
Norwegian Svartkarve
Oriya କଳାଜୀରା
Polish Czarnuszka siewna
Portuguese Nigela, Cominho-preto
Punjabi ਕਲੌਂਜੀ
Romanian Chimion negru, Negrilică, CernușcăCernuşcă
Russian Чернушка, Нигелла
Chernushka, Nigella
Serbian Ћурукота, Чурукот, Чурекот, Црно семе, Црњика храпава
Ćurukota, Ćurukot, Čurekot, Crno seme, Crnjika hrapava
Sinhala කලුදුරු
Slovak Černuška siata, Černuška, Černuška damascénska, Egyptská čierna rasca
Slovenian Vzhodna črnika
Spanish Niguilla, Pasionara
Swedish Svartkummin
Tamil கருஞசீரகம்
Telugu నల్లజీలకర్ర
Thai เทียนดำ
Thian dam
Tibetan ཟི་ར་ནག་པོ་
Zira nagpo
Tulu ಕಾಳಜೀರಿಗೆ
Turkish Çörek otu, Çöreotu, Çörekotu tohumu, Ekilen, Hakiki çöreotu, Kara çörek otu, Siyah kimyon, Siyah susam
Ukrainian Чорнушка посівна
Chornushka posivna
Urdu کلونجی
Yiddish ניגעלע, טשערניטשקע
Nigele, Tshernitshke

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