In recent years there’s been much awareness and hype about super foods, and the value of various seeds – sunflower, pumpkin and, more recently chia seeds.
However, there’s another seed that’s getting a whole lot of attention in the Western world – black cumin.
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These little black seeds have been used as a spice or medicine to heal numerous health conditions – from weight loss to headaches, allergies, asthma, digestive problems and more. Simply put, it is a powerful antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent, and highly beneficial to the body’s overall health.
Back to Ancient Egypt
Dubbed “a remedy for all diseases except death”, they are a well-known tradition of the Prophet Muhammad. Also known as “the seed of blessing” or “Love in the Mist”, black cumin boasts a history dating back to ancient Egypt. It was found in the tomb of King Tut, and also rumoured to be used by Cleopatra as a beauty regime.
The Romans knew it as Greek Coriander, and used it as a dietary supplement. In the first century, the Greek physician Dioscoredes noted black seeds as a treatment for headache, nasal congestion, toothache and intestinal worms.
Black cumin seeds are also mentioned as the “fitches” in the Bible in Isaiah 28:25-27, and, in the great medical treatise, “The Canon of Medicine”, it is referred to as the seed that “stimulates the body’s energy and helps recovery from fatigue”.
Many studies in the East and West, have been conducted to investigate their benefit on diseases. Some support the anecdotal evidence of patients who have cured their conditions by using this medicinal oil.
Black cumin or or Nigella Sativa originates from Western Asia and is a herb that grows some 16 to 24 inches tall, with white flowers when in bloom. The plant is now cultivated from the Near East to India. The deep black, sharp-cornered rectangular seeds (up to 3 mm) are the medicinal part of the plant.
Having used it myself (when afflicted with a nagging back injury – and then chikungunya!), I know, first-hand, the powers of this oil. Many other users on the island have also extolled its virtues. John, in his late 20s, swears by it for bad flues and viruses. A woman in her early 30s said she applied it to a swollen foot, and within half hour her foot returned to normal.
Jessie in her mid 40s, who was plagued with eczema for over two decades, sang its praises after seeing a significant reduction of the condition within a few weeks of using the capsules. Similarly, a middle aged man was extremely elated when he realized the oil cleared up and softened his face after only a single use!
Since 1959 over 200 studies in the East and West have been conducted to determine the benefit of this herb vis a vis various diseases. And, research at international universities, and articles published in various journals have shown remarkable results supporting patients’ anecdotal evidence.
Boasting a hundred nutritional components, black seeds contain “numerous esters of structurally unusual unsaturated fatty acids” and have a very rich and diverse chemical composition. Apart from the active ingredient crystalline nigellone, they contain 15 amino acids (including eight of the nine essential ones), carbohydrates, fatty acids (including linolenic and oleic), volatile oils, alkaloids and dietary fibre.
They are abundant in vitamins, including A, B1, B2, B6, C, Niacin, Folacin, and also boasts minerals, including calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, selenium, copper, phosphorus and zinc. Some powerful little seeds!
Recent research on black cumin has shown it to be an antibiotic, anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic, anti-bacterial, anti-bronchial and an immune boosting agent.
Numerous studies have found it to be effective against pancreatic cancer, asthma, allergies, respiratory conditions and autoimmune diseases. It has also been proven to be useful in protecting the liver, and treating hypertension, diabetes and drug addiction.
Unlike other essential oils, black seed oil has a rich scent making it extremely useful in aromatherapy.
When selecting black seed oil, for optimal benefit make sure it is organic and cold-pressed for optimal benefit.
AT A GLANCE
Highly effective for muscular aches, pains, rheumatism and sprains when used in massage.
Promotes weight loss, and contributes to a sense of well-being. Improves digestion and metabolism, allowing proper food processing.
Greatly beneficial to the skin, with its light and silky texture, it is easily absorbed, and so makes an excellent anti aging skin care and moisturizer.
Helps the skin repair itself and protect it from water loss of the epidermis, which leads to dryness and wrinkles. If you want to combat or prevent age spots and freckles, make this oil your friend.
Rich in many essential fatty acids, it is an efficacious treatment for numerous skin conditions, such as dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. It is abundant in vitamins, including A, B1, B2, B6, C, Niacin, Folacin.
Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties make it an ideal acne remedy. It strengthens the immune system, reducing production of sebum, responsible for clogging pores.
Widely used in India and the Middle East as a scalp massage to combat hair loss and premature greying.