Nigella sativa and its black seed are known by other names, varying between places. Some call it black caraway, others call it black cumin (Kalonji), or even coriander seeds. In English, the Nigella sativa plant is commonly referred to as "Love in a Mist". Nevertheless, this is Nigella sativa, which has been known and used from ancient times and is also known in Persian as Shonaiz.
An annual herbaceous plant, black seed (Nigella sativa) is believed to be indigenous to the Mediterranean region but has been cultivated into other parts of the world including Saudi Arabia, northern Africa and parts of Asia.
The most pertinent point to be made about black seed is that it should be regarded as part of an overall holistic approach to health and ideally should be incorporated into one's everyday lifestyle. In this way, the many nutritional and healing properties contained in the seed can help build the body's immune system over time, supplying it with the optimum resources it needs to help prevent and fight illness.
Tiny and hairy, being no more than 3mm in length, black seed originates from the common fennel flower plant (Nigella sativa) of the buttercup (Ranunculaceae) family. Nigella sativa is sometimes mistakenly confused with the fennel herb plant (Foeniculum vulgare).
The plant has finely divided foliage and pale bluish purple or white flowers. The flowers grow terminally on its branches while the leaves grow opposite each other in pairs, on either side of the stem. Its lower leaves are small and petiole, and the upper leaves are long (6-10cm). The stalk of the plant reaches a height of twelve to eighteen inches as its fruit, the black seed, matures.
Nigella sativa reproduces with itself and forms a fruit capsule which consists of many white trigonal seeds. Once the fruit capsule has matured, it opens up and the seeds contained within are exposed to the air, becoming black in color (black seeds).
Although the recommendation to use black seed was made over 1400 years ago by Prophet Muhammad (salalahu alayhi wa salaam) and mentioned in the Bible [written refferance to Black Seed is found in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament. Isaiah contrasts the reaping of black cumin with wheat: For the black cumin is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over the cumin, but the black cumin is beaten out with a stick, and the cumin with a rod. (Isaiah 28:25,27 NKJV).Easton's Bible Dictionary clarifies that the Hebrew word for black cumin, "ketsah," refers to "without doubt the Nigella sativa, a small annual of the order Ranunculaceae which grows wild in the Mediterranean countries] they were not carefully researched until about forty years ago. Since that time, more than 200 studies have been conducted in universities all over the world. One such study conducted at the Munich Institute for Research on Newer Therapeutic Methods [Münchner Institut zur Erforschung neuer Therapieverfahren] has confirmed by means of the most modern analytic methods that black seed oil contains over 100 active health-promoting substances and displays superior clinical effectiveness as a nutritional supplement.
Amongst the many amazing discoveries researchers have found that the Black seeds are superior to almost every other natural remedy when used for autoimmune disorders, conditions in which patients suffer greatly because their own systems attack their bodies. Black seed, especially when combined with garlic, is regarded as a harmonizer of the imbalance which allows immune cells to destroy healthy cells. The technical language to describe this property is "immunomodulatory action." The difference between black seed and interferon is that there are no known side effects with black seed when administered in normal dosages. The saying goes that the beauty of black seed is its capacity to restore harmony.
Another profound discovery is that the ingredients (polyunsaturated fatty acids) of the oil lead to increased production of the messenger substance prostaglandin E1, a hormone-like substance, that functions as a general regulator on several body functions such as brain function, nerve function, lowering blood pressure and activation of the immune system.
Black seed contains 0.5-1% ethereal oil which has, in addition to antioxidant properties has antibacterial and antimycotic effects. In addition, black seed oil can be helpful in the treatment of skin and intestinal fungus, acne, bronchitis, frequent colds, headaches caused by hormone conditions (in women), and for flatulence. Black Seed oil also has anti inflammatory properties that are probably due to the anti-oxidative action of its components thymoquinone and nigellone in ameliorating inflammatory diseases ( upper respiratory conditions, coughs, colds, bronchitis, fevers, flu). It is used by many to lower blood sugar level and to strengthen the immune system. Black Seed also contains carotene which is converted by the liver into vitamin A. Its most important function is in treating allergic illness such as hay fever, neurodermatitis and asthma.*
Black Seed Oil has a high concentration of essential fatty acids which cannot be synthesized by our bodies and are necessary for optimal health.
Preparations containing linoleic and linolenic acids have been used extensively for the treatment of lowering blood cholesterol,eczema and skin diseases, multiple Sclerosis, pre-menstrual tension, variety of tumors, arterio-thrombotic diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. *
Cymene Pinene Carbony Carvone Limonene Nigellone Semohiprepinon Thymochinon