The black seed, a plant from the Ranunculaceae family, has been traditionally used as a natural remedy for over two thousand years. Dioscoredes, the Greek Physician, mentioned black seed in one of his writings that when taken, can treat headache, toothache and nasal congestion. Ancient Egyptian used it and described it as a cure for all kinds of diseases. Even a bottle of black seed oil was found in Tutankhamen tomb.
Black seed or Nigella Sativa may have originated in Western Asia. It is grown in various countries like India, Pakistan, Russia, France, Germany, Turkey, the Mediterranean and the Balkan states. People in Asia, the Middle East and Africa has been using the seed and its oil for centuries to treat a wide array of ailments like conjunctivitis, abscesses, intestinal worms and parasites.
This herb grows to about 16-24 inches high and produces white flowers. The seed, commonly referred to as black cumin, is deep black in color and has a sharp rectangular corner. It is spicy and very aromatic. In Arabic, it is known as Habbat-UL-Baraka, which means blessed seed.
The nutrients inside this super seed is so abundant and diverse. It stores carbohydrates, protein, 15 amino acids, fiber, fixed and volatile oils, alkaloids which acts as pain reliever or as an anesthetic, saponin to help in reducing cholesterol and risk of cancer, and antioxidants, including essential minerals like potassium, sodium, calcium and iron. Black seed has phytochemicals like thymoquinone, a very potent compound in nigella sativa that helps prevent heart attacks, kidney damage associated with diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases due to neurotoxicity and synaptic toxicity, and breast cancer by inhibiting growth of tumor.
Black seed oil is also found to be an effective antibacterial and anti-inflammatory remedy against infections. The seed is also used to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, boosting the immune system and for cancer treatment. It is sometimes blended with vitamin E, saffron and cysteine to ease the side effect of a drug called cisplatin, used during chemotherapy treatment. This seed is also used by women to set off menstruation and increase milk flow.
These are just some of the remarkable health benefits that black seed can provide and we have barely scratched the surface of this incredible seed.
When used in small quantities, black seeds are safe for most people, but for medicinal or for use in larger volume, there’s not enough information about safety. It can cause allergic rashes when applied to skin. As for pregnant and nursing women, taking black seed in medicinal quantity is not safe.
Having difficulty in sleeping at night?... Try taking a hot drink mixed with a tablespoon of black seed oil and honey. Sit back, enjoy and you’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time.
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