Kalonji, Black Seed or Nigella Sativa Seed and Its Health Benefits
Kalonji, Nigella sativa seeds or Black seeds
About Kalonji Seeds
Latin Name : Nigella sativa
Indian Names : Kalonji, mangrail, kalojira, kalzira etc.
Common Names : Black seed, nigella seeds, nigella sativa seeds, fennel flower, nutmeg flower,Roman coriander etc.
Some names that have been incorrectly associated to kalonji or Nigella sativa seeds are : onion seeds, black sesame seeds, black caraway seeds, black cumin in fact are not seeds of Nigella sativa.
The earliest written reference to kalonji or Nigella sativa seeds is believed to be in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament.
This article is going to be a lengthy one but I would like to assure the readers that it is worth the long read, since this herb, Nigella sativa or kalonji, provides so many benefits (all with scientific references that you can find and read, in the references section), that a short write up could not have done justice to this 'miracle herb' as it is rightly called.
Nigella sativa is considered one of the greatest healing herbs of all times.
Nigella sativa plantsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Kalonji Names Around The world
- Carvi (France)
- Schwarzkummel (Germany)
- Kezat (Israel)
- Chernuskha (Russia)
- Corek-Otu (Turkey)
- Habbatul Barakah/Habbatus-Sanda (Arabia)
- Siyat Daneh (Persia)
About Nigella sativa Plant, Its History And Some Facts
Nigella sativa plants an annual flowering plant that grows to about 1.5 to 2 feet in height. It is native to Asia and the Middle East. The flowers are white or pale blue and delicate looking. The seeds are about 2-3 mm long having triangular in shape with one end pointed and the other a bit rounded. They are jet black in color.
The plant has a history of over 3000 years and kalonji or nigella sativa seeds have been a part of prophetic remedies used by both Muslims and non Muslims. Nigella seeds have been referenced in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament.
These seeds have also been called black seeds and have been recommended by Prophet Muhammad who stated that these seeds can cure every disease except death. Yes! you read that right. The seeds are so effective in treating a variety of ailments which have been corroborated by scientific studies that are rife all over the net if you search for the health benefits of Nigella sativa seeds or kalonji
There is mention in the Assyrian herbal book, of Nigella sativa seeds being used, for a variety of internal and external applications for disease.
The earliest archeological evidence of its cultivation has been reported from ancient Egypt with the findings of Nigella sativa seeds or kalonji in the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb, which dates as far back as almost 3300 years.
Hippocrates used it in the 5th century BC. Pliny, as well, used it in the 1st century and wrote about it in his book "Natural Historia". The Greek physician Dioscorides, too,used these seeds.
Kalonji seeds have been used in Ayurveda since centuries while in the Orient too, in herbal medicine, it has been used for treating a variety of health issues.
In Arabic culture, Nigella sativa is called 'Habbatul barakah", meaning, "the seeds of blessings".Nigella sativa has also been called a miracle herb and its health benefits have been vouched for by traditional medicine and ratified by modern medical literature and, since 1964, there have been 458 published studies referencing it.
The list of the studies will give you an idea that the health benefits of kalonji or nigella sativa seeds is a very exhaustive one covering almost all the disease conditions.
In the Hadiths (sayings ascribed to the prophet Muhammad), it is said that the black seeds ,nigella sativa seed or kalonji is a cure for everything except death.
Today Nigella sativa is grown in the U.S.,Russia, Egypt ,Arabia, Ethopia, India, the Middle East, Far East, Turkey, Bangladesh, France, Germany and the Mediterranean.
Nigella sativa is introducing into the U.S. in the late 1980s and is commonly called black seed or black cumin.
Nutrients In Kalonji, Nigella sativa Seeds or Black Seeds
- Contains over 100 important nutrients.
- Contains nigellone, thymoquinone and other fixed oils as active ingredients.
- Contains 15 amino acids; of the 9 essential amino acids it contains 8 of them. Also contains the amino acid arginine that is essential for infant growth.
- contains 50% essential fatty acids like linoleic and oleic acids, etc and 0.5-1,5% volatile oils like nigellone and thymoquinone, and alkaloids and saponins.
- Contains calcium, iron, sodium, potassium and iron, manganese, zinc and selenium minerals.
- Also contains Vitamin A, B1, B2, C and niacin.
- It contains a number of sterols especially Beta sitosterol which has anti cancer properties.
- Another active principle it contains is Thymohydrochionon which is an anti histamine and analgesic.
- Contains sugar in the form of single molecule ones, like the monosaccharides, glucose, xylose, rhamnose, and arabinose.
- The dietary fiber is a non starch polysaccharide.
- Nigella seed contains 35% oil, 21% protein and 38% carbohydrates.
Health Benefits Of Kalonji or Nigella sativa Seeds
Kalonji or black seeds have antihistaminic, antioxidant, antibiotic, antimycotic, bronchodilating effects.
They also have carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactagogue, stimulant,resolvent, stomachic, sudorific, tonic, vermifuge properties.
Further, they have anti cancer, anti tumor, immune boosting, anti bacterial, anti viral, anti microbial and anti inflammatory properties among other health benefiting properties.
Far too many are the health benefits of kalonji, to be all, listed here. I am listing just some of them.
- Nigella sativa seeds are useful in treating and curing opioid dependence. It also cures the weakness that comes with such dependence.
- Kalonji has anti H.pylori bacteria that causes a lot of stomach distress like bloating, flatulence, indigestion, gas, heaviness etc.
- Nigella sativa seeds reduce fasting blood glucose levels as well as insulin resistance. Moreover, it does not adversely affect the renal or hepatic functions in diabetic patients.
- Kalonji has anti asthmatic properties. It has positive bronchodilatory effects on the airways of asthmatic patients thereby relieving asthma symptoms.
- Consuming kalonji seeds everyday for a period of 2 months has shown to lower blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension in studies.
- Extracts of black seeds have shown anti epileptic activity in children. The frequency of seizures were reduced significantly during the period of treatment.
- Kalonji inhibits fungal growth or candidiasis and can be used to successfully treat fungal infections.
- Nigella sativa seeds decreased the elevated heart rate, blood glucose concentration, damage to the pancreatic beta cells and the elevated red and white cell counts in rats that were given Cadmium.
- It significantly lowers LDL cholesterol and raises the HDL cholesterol levels.'
- Kalonji increases the insulin sensitivity and therefore benefits by its anti diabetic effects.
- It protects the lungs against sulphur mustard gas, the agent used in chemical warfare.
- Kalonji also regenerates and increases the number of beta cells of the pancreas which decrease raised blood glucose levels by increasing insulin output.
- When Nigella sativa oil is orally ingested it inhibits the development of cancer by suppressing tumor cell proliferation in colon mucosa as studies in rats have indicated. All this without the side effects associated with chemotherapy treatment.
- Kalonji treats and prevents, treats and corrects tamoxifen induced liver damages by scavenging free radicals. Tamoxifen is currently widely used in breast cancer treatment.
- Nigella sativa seeds along with cloves prevent aflatoxin induced damage to the liver and even normalize the parameters altered due to aflatoxin. Aflatoxins are known to have immunity lowering action and have carcinogenic, mutagenic, tetragenic and hepatotoxic properties and kalonji due to its anti inflammatory effects and antioxidant properties offers significant protection against these damages.
- The thymoquinone in kalonji has strong antioxidant activity that protects the kidney from toxicity against injected gentamycin.
- Thymoquinone also suppresses arthritis.
These are but a few of the health benefits of kalonji, black seed or Nigella sativa seeds.
Nigella sativa Oil
Some Health Benefits Of Kalonji In A Nutshell
In simple language, these health benefits include,
- Boosting of immunity levels.
- Lowering of blood sugar levels.
- Benefiting the cardiovascular system.
- Offering anti cancer benefits in various types of cancers like those of the intestine, throat, blood etc.
- Providing anti allergy benefits thus protecting in asthma, eczema, allergic rhinitis etc.
- Offering anti inflammatory benefits which include relieving arthritis and joint pains and swellings.
- Relieving withdrawal symptoms in those trying to get off opiates.
- Offering anti microbial properties which include anti viral, anti bacterial, and anthelmintic effects.
- Relieving stomach related problems like indigestion, gas, pain, nausea, vomiting, etc.
- Providing relief in women's issues likes like leucorrhea, irregular menses, etc.
- Removes tiredness and fatigue.
- Stops renal pain, removes kidney stones and infections.
- Improves memory and strengthens the brain.
- Benefits in a number of skin diseases.
- Benefits in diseases like leprosy and epilepsy.
- Useful in treating ear problems like earache, pus formation, low hearing, etc.
- Useful in dental diseases like halitosis, loose teeth,swelling of gums, toothache, etc.
- Cures anemia, increases hemoglobin count.
- Cures jaundice, useful in liver disorders and diseases.
- Useful in problems associated with urine like less urine output, burning sensation on urinating, etc.
- Normalizes fevers and high temperature.
- Removes dandruff,stops hair fall and baldness.
- Increases milk in lactating mothers.
- Relieves and cures a variety of skin problems like psoriasis etc.
- Relieves headaches and migraine.
Some Practical Home Uses Of Kalonji or Black Seeds/Oil
Collected are home remedies with kalonji from various sources.
- Dry cough
Mix 1/2 tsp kalonji oil mixed in coffee before each meal 2 times a day.
Headache And Earache
Apply black seed oil on the forehead, sides and back of the ears. Bandage the forehead lightly and also tale 1/2 tsp of kalonji oil twice a day for 3 days.
- Weak Eyesight
Mix 1/2 tsp kalonji oil in a cup of carrot juice before each meal and drink two times daily for 3 to 6 months.
Mox 1/2 tsp of kalonji oil and fresh ginger juice and take twice a day.
- Tension And Stress
Mix 1/2 tsp of kalonji oil in a cup of tea before meals 2 times a day to calm the nerves and relieve tension.
- Improve Memory
Mix 1/2 tsp of kalonji oil mixed with 10 grams of boiled mint before meals 2 times daily for about a month.
- Acidity, Indigestion, Stomach Ache
Take 1 tsp of kalonji oil mixed in a cup of milk for 5 days, twice a day.
- Restful Night Sleep
Mix 1/2 tsp kalonji oil in any hot beverage at bedtime to get good sleep.
Mix 1/2 tsp kalonji oil in a cup of black tea before breakfast and after dinner daily.
- Burning Sensation
Mix 1/2 tsp kalonji juice in a cup of sweet lime juice (mosambi juice) and drink in the morning before breakfast and at night after dinner for about 7 to 10 days.
- Burning Sensation In Urine
Mix 1/2 tsp kalonji oil and 10 ml of honey in a glass (250 ml) of milk and take 2 times a day.
Mix 1/2 tsp of kalonji oil and 1 tsp of honey in warm water. Drink twice a day for 40 days and avoid cold things.
- Kalonji oil normalizes the secretions of the stomach and pancreas and therefore is useful in the treatment of diabetes.
- Kidney & Bladder Stones
- Consume 1/2 tsp of kalonji oil with a tsp of honey daily two times a day. It removes these stones. OR
- Grind 250 grams of kalonji seeds and mix with 250 grams of honey. Take 2 tsp of this mixture in 1/2 cup of water daily before breakfast. Also, take 1/2 tsp of kalonji oil daily.
- Inflammation And Pain of Gums and Teeth
Boil kalonji seeds in vinegar and apply on the gums and teeth.
- Backache and Muscle Pain
Warm some kalonji oil and massage on the affected area. Also consume 1/2 tsp of this oil once a day.
Add 1/2 tsp of black seed oil to any fruit and drink.
Mix 1/2 tsp black seed oil in a cup of yogurt and take twice a day for 3 days.
- Asthma & Cough
Massage the chest with black seed oil. Also drink 1/2 tsp black seed oil 2 times a day, morning and evening, in a cup water mixed with a tsp of honey. Inhale the vapors of the oil after mixing 1 tsp of the oil in boiling water.
- High Cholesterol
Mix 1/2 tsp Kalonji Oil in hot milk and drink daily in the morning only. It dissolves fats and dilates veins and arteries.
Mix 200 grams of ground kalonji seeds with 50 ml olive oil and 50 ml of black seed or kalonji oil. Add 200 grams of honey to this. Mix well.. Take 1 tsp of this mixture after each meal for a cure.
Put 1 drop of kalonji oil in the nostril on the opposite side of the headache. Also massage the head with this oil. Drink 10 drops of kalonji oil mixed in 1 tsp of honey also.
- Loss of Hair & Premature Grey Hair
Apply lemon, leave it for 15 minutes. Wash and shampoo the hair and dry them completely. Now apply Kalonji oil to the scalp.
Continue this routine for a week. This will stop the loss of hair completely. Use continuously for one month
Kalonji Oil stops falling of hair and prevents premature greying of hair. It gives the hair life and makes them manageable.
- To Increase Mother's Milk
Take 1 cup of milk and add 2 drops of kalonji oil. Mix and drink twice a day, before breakfast and at bedtime.
- Backache And Rheumatic Pains
Mix 1/2 tsp kalonji oil, 1 tsp of vinegar and a tablespoon of honey and take this mixture in the morning before breakfast and at night after dinner. Do this for 40 days.
Mix half tsp of kalonji oil with warm water and gargle. Apply oil on the affected tooth also. It will alleviate pain promptly.
To one cup of black tea add 1/2 tsp of kalonji oil. Drink twice a day, in the morning and at bedtime.
Avoid fried foods, oily foods, Continue your allopathic medicines.
After 20 days check blood sugar. If normal continue kalonji treatment and stop allopathic treatment. After 40 days, sweets can be taken to check your sugar level. If it is normal, stop the treatment.
Mix 1/2 tsp of kalonji oil in a cup of Black Tea and drink in the morning before breakfast and at
night after dinner. Continue the treatment till sugar level becomes normal
- General Weakness & Lethargy
Add 1/2 tsp of kalonji oil to a cup orange juice in the morning for take for ten days
- Liver & Abdomen Diseases
To 200 ml honey add 1/2 tsp kalonji oil. Mix well. Drink 1/2 of this in the morning and the other half in the evening. Continue for a month. Avoid tamarind or imli or items made with it.
- Leucorrhea, Amenorrhea and PMS
Take 1 gram dried mint leaves and boil in 2 glasses of water till one cup
of water is left. Add 1/2 tsp kalonji oil and take on an empty stomach in the morning and at night.
Continue the treatment for 40 days.
Mix 1/2 tsp of kalonji oil and 1 tbsp of honey in lukewarm water and drink in the morning
before breakfast and at night after dinner.
Mix 50 ml nigella sativa oil with 60 ml lemon juice and apply on the affected area..
- General Well Being
Take 1/2 tsp of black seed oil daily with pure honey two times a day.
Mix 1/2 tsp of black seed oil with tea in the morning and then at night.Take twice a day.
Thymoquinone and dithymoquinoline in kalonji have antitumor and anticancer properties. Black seed oil a serious contender as a cancer remedy and also prevents the side effects of chemotherapy and improves the immune system.
- To 1 glass of grapefruit juice add 1/2 tsp kalonji oil and drink 3 times daily. Once, before breakfast and then after lunch and lastly after dinner.
- Also, mix 1 kg barley flour in 2 kg wheat flour and make Indian roti or bread. Tale this for 40 days.
Avoid potatoes, colocasia and eggplant.
- Swelling On Any Part Of The Body
Warm a small quantity of black seed oil. apply and massage on the affected spot. Also, consume 1/2 tsp kalonji oil twice a day.
How To Use Kalonji, Black Seed, Nigella sativa Seeds
Kalonji is used to make pickles and also used in foods like dal, naan,breads, vegetables, meat dishes, etc.
- A tsp of these can be taken once or twice a day as a dietary supplement
- The oil can be taken @ 500 mg of the oil twice a day. It can be mixed in any cold liquid or yogurt. It can be applied topically in joint pains, arthritis or skin infections like eczema, psoriasis or infections of the scalp.
- The seeds can be mixed with any food and consumed or can be used as spice and vegetarian or meat dishes.
Side Effects Of Kalonji
Kalonji is a very safe herb when taken in the right dose. Use regularly for deriving the full benefits.
When taken in diabetes, the blood sugar levels should be closely monitored as kalonji lowers blood sugar levels.
Though it does not have any side effects in pregnancy it should not be taken by pregnant women whose wombs are sensitive.
Food For Thought
Kalonji or black seed can be taken by normal healthy persons too. One does not need to be sick to take it. Because of environmental pollution,suspect food and water quality, intake of processed foods and many other factors our body produces free radicals constantly.
Regular intake of black seeds will benefit by destroying these free radicals.
Kalonji oil and seeds are equally good but the oil is preferred over seeds as it is 35-40% more potent and is also more convenient to use.
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The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly