Black Cumin is also known as black seed, kalonji, black caraway and many other name. Its botanical name is Nigella Sativa. Black Seed has a history of 2500 years. It has been used extensively in traditional Ayurvedic formulation and in many other traditional medications around the globe. This makes black seed one of the safest plant extracts for human consumption.
Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant, native to Southwest Asia. It grows to 20-30 cm tall, with finely divided, linear (but not thread-like) leaves. The flowers are delicate, and usually coloured pale blue and white, with 5-10 petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of 3-7 united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. The seed is used as a spice as well as a Medicine to cure various diseases.
Nigella Sativa or Black seed is an adaptogen which means an agent causing adaptive reactions. Black seed has the ability to increase the resistance of the human body, protecting it against various diseases. Clinical trials have shown that Black Seed Oil controls Blood Sugar & Cholesterol apart from many other diseases and is considered to be one of the greatest healing herbs of all times.
As a plant that has healing properties, it been used for centuries, both as a herb and pressed into oil by people in Asia, Middle East, and Africa for medicinal purposes. In Islam, it is regarded as one of the greatest forms of healing medicine available.
As a seed that is known to mankind for more than 2500 years, it has been used for many different purposes. Some of the uses are explained below.
In some countries, Black Seed is used in perfumery, especially in soaps, and as a spice in cakes, breads, pastries, confectionery, sauces, cheese, etc. It is also used as a flavouring material and as a stabilizing agent for edible fats. The fatty oil obtained by cold pressing the seeds is used for edible purposes. The oil is semi drying and is of reddish brown in colour. Locally, the oil can be used as an anaesthetic.
Preliminary clinical trials indicate its possible therapeutic use in some conditions of cough and bronchial asthma. (Dutta, J. Inst Chem. India, 1959, 31 295 ; Gildemeister & Hoffmann, IV, 611 ; Nadkarni, I, 855 : Mahfouz & ElDakhakhny, J. pharm. Sci. U.A.R., 1960, 1, 9). Clinical trials also indicate its use in controlling of Blood Sugar & Cholesterol.
The seeds of N. sativa are considered carminative, stimulant, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactagogue, and are used in the treatment of mild cases of puerperal fever. They are externally applied for eruptions of skin. Alcoholic extracts of the seeds show antibacterial activity against Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus and Escherichia coli.
BLACK CUMIN / BLACK SEED IN ISLAMIC REFERENCES
Black cumin / black seed holds a special preferences in traditional islamic medication as it has been mentioned by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).