Nigella sativa, also called black cumin seeds (kalonji), are small, dark-colored seeds that originate from the Nigella sativa plant, native to Asia.
Nigella sativa, also called black cumin seeds (kalonji), are small, dark-colored seeds that originate from the Nigella sativa plant, native to Asia. With a slightly nutty and bitter taste, they are frequently added to Middle Eastern, Indian, and North African dishes for their flavor.
Moreover, they have been used for their medicinal properties for centuries in traditional medicine systems, including Ayurvedic medicine.
People have been growing and using N. sativa, also known as black seed, for at least 3,000 years. They found N. sativa seeds in ancient Egyptian sites, like the tomb of Tutankhamun, and in Turkey in a flask from 2,000 years ago.
They may have used it as a spice to add flavor to food. A famous Muslim Persian physician named Avicenna even used N. sativa as a treatment for difficulty breathing. And in the Middle East, people have used it as a traditional medicine.
Nigella sativa’s nutrients
There has been limited research conducted on the exact nutrient composition of Nigella sativa, and its nutrient content seems to vary based on several factors such as its location of growth, harvest time, and harvesting methods.
However, studies suggest that the seeds of N. sativa from Bangladesh consist of about 45% fat, 20% carbs, and 20% protein, along with some amounts of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium.
Although small amounts of vitamins A, C, and E and certain B vitamins have also been reported, the precise quantities are unclear. On the other hand, N. sativa is rich in antioxidants, particularly from the polyphenol, tocopherol, terpenoid, and terpene families, with thymoquinone being the most abundant.
This active compound is believed to be responsible for most of N. sativa’s potential health benefits. In addition, the plant also contains alkaloids and phytosterols, which are beneficial plant compounds that can help lower cholesterol levels naturally
Black cumin seeds have been used for various purposes throughout history.
Black cumin seeds, also known as Nigella sativa, have a range of culinary uses in different parts of the world, especially in Middle Eastern, Indian, and North African cuisine.
These small seeds with a slightly bitter and pungent taste are commonly used as a spice to enhance the flavor of curries, soups, stews, and rice dishes. They are also added to bread and pastries, either as a topping or mixed into the dough.
Medicinal uses of Black cumin seeds
Black cumin seeds have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries due to their high content of thymoquinone, which possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
They offer a range of medicinal benefits, such as reducing inflammation in the body, protecting against free radical damage, treating respiratory conditions, regulating blood sugar levels, and improving cholesterol levels.
Black cumin seeds may be particularly useful in managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. However, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before using black cumin seeds for medicinal purposes, and they are available in various forms such as oils, supplements, and capsules.
As Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) said,
“Indeed, the black seed is a cure for every disease except death.”
In short, black cumin seeds have been used throughout the history of humanity and they have a lot of benefits.