Black Cumin Seeds

Black Cumin Seeds Nigella sativa

Black Cumin seeds are very especial item in the list of Herbs.

Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) once stated that Black cumin seeds (Kalwanji/Kaloonji/kalijeera/kreejeeri) can heal each and every disease- expect death.

Used parts  Fruits, both the dark brown color and the slender crescent shape are characteristic. In Kashmir, the root is eaten as a vegetable.

Plant family:  Apiaceae (parsley family). 

Sensory quality: The fruits’ aroma is earthy and heavy, not pleasant at all. On frying or cooking, the taste changes to nutty.

Main constituents: Ripe black cumin fruits are reported to contain an essential oil (up to 7%) rich in monoterpene aldehydes; the main components are cuminaldehyde, p-mentha-1,3-dien-7-al and p-mentha-1,4-dien-7-al (up to one third each); terpene hydrocarbons are the main components of fruits collected in the wild or harvested unripe (γ-terpinene, p-cymene, β-pinene, limonene). The latter compounds are thought to reduce the quality of the spice. (J. Essent. Oil Res., 9, 597, 1997), (J. Essent. Oil Res., 14, 161, 2002,) (Food Chem., 41, 129, 1991) 

Origin:  Central and South Asia, Africa.

Nigella has been used since antiquity by Asian herbalists and pharmacists and was used for culinary purposes by the Romans. The seeds are known to repel certain insects and can be used like moth balls. The name nigella derives from the Latin nigellus, or niger, meaning black.

Spice Description:

Nigella seeds are small, matte-black grains with a rough surface and an oily white interior. They are roughly triangulate, 1 1/2 – 3 mm (1/16 to 1/8 in) long. They are similar to onion seeds.
Bouquet: The seeds have little bouquet, though when they are rubbed they give off an aroma reminiscent of oregano.
Flavor: Slightly bitter and peppery with a crunchy texture.
Hotness Scale: 3
Preparation and Storage:

The seeds may be used whole or ground and are usually fried or roasted before use. They are easily crushed in a mortar and pestle.

Culinary Uses:

Nigella is used in South Asia and the Middle East as a spice and condiment and occasionally in Europe as both a pepper substitute and a spice. It is widely used in Indian cuisines, particularly in mildly braised lamb dishes such as korma. It is also added to vegetable and dhal dishes as well as in chutneys. The seeds are sprinkled on to naan bread before baking. Nigella is an ingredient of some garam masalas and is one of the five spices in panch phoran. In the Middle East nigella is added to bread dough.

Attributed Medicinal Properties:

Nigella is used in Indian medicine as a carminative and stimulant and is used against indigestion and bowel complaints. In India it is used to induce post-natal uterine contraction and promote lactation. The seed yields a volatile oil containing melanthin, nigilline, damascene and tannin. Melanthin is toxic in large dosages and Niugelline is paralytic, so this spice must be used in moderation.

Nigella Sativa for Beauty:

Most people seeking the benefits of black cumin take the oil in capsule form. Over a period of time, usually a few months, the hair and fingernails are strengthened and have more lusters. However, some people use the oil externally, for beauty as well as for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. One can buy a ready-made cream, add some oil to a favorite cream, or make one’s own cream from scratch by warming equal parts (by volume) of black cumin seeds and a nice carrier oil, like shea butter or jojoba. It’s best to use a double boiler or be lazy (like me) and use a yogurt maker because the temperature is very even so you can safely ignore the process for hours. The oil will darken. When you feel this has been warmed long enough, melt a little beeswax into the warm oil. Stir it with a glass rod or new chopstick. If you like, you can add an essential oil or combination of oils just before the beeswax stiffens. Choose this for aesthetic or health reasons. Some people use such mixtures on burns or skin infections; some just use these creams to feel good, moisturize the skin, relieve joint or pain, or make wrinkles vanish.

Many combine vinegar and oil. In this case, mix one cup of black cumin seeds in organic apple cider vinegar. Let this sit for a few days or two weeks. Then, strain the mixture, first through a conventional strainer, then through a finer filter, like cheesecloth or a chemical-free coffee filter or tea bag. Mix the remainder with equal parts black cumin vinegar and black cumin oil. Heat this for a few minutes and then put into a mason jar and refrigerate. Apply this to problem skin such as areas with acne or take one tablespoon before meals for flatulence and digestive problems. More importantly, enjoy another gift from Nature.

Other Names:

Black Caraway, Black Cumin, Black Seed, Damascena, Devil in-the-bush, Fennel flower, Melanthion, Nutmeg Flower, Roman Coriander, Wild Onion Seed
French: cheveux de Venus, nigell, poivrette
German: Scharzkummel (black caraway)
Italian: nigella
Spanish: neguilla
Indian: kala zeera (lit, ‘black cumin’), kalonji, krishnajiraka

Sindhiya Enterprise (Bangladeshis the leading stockiest and Exporters of Black Cumin seeds/Kalwanji (Kaloonji) of Bay of Bengal.

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