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BLACK SEED OR CUMIN
Black Seed is a traditional herb that has been in use for thousands of years by people living in the Middle East and some parts of Asia and Africa to promote health and general well-being. It is also known the “Blessed Seed”. An aromatic spice, small and similar in size to sesame seed, it has been traditionally used for a variety of conditions and treatments related to respiratory health, stomach and intestinal health, kidney and liver function, circulatory and immune system support, and for general overall well-being.
Black Seed is grown in various countries and therefore known by many names such as Black Cumin(Egypt), Black Caraway(Turkey), Kalonji(India and surrounding countries), Habbatul Baraka or the Blessed Seed(Middle East), among others. Its botanical name is Nigella Sativa. Ever since its introduction to the United States in the late 1980's, it has been commonly referred to as 'Black Seed' or 'Black Cumin' and often used as a spice in traditional Indian and Middle Eastern and Persian cuisines.
Narrated Khalid bin Sa`d:We went out and Ghalib bin Abjar was accompanying us. He fell ill on the way and when we arrived at Medina he was still sick. Ibn Abi 'Atiq came to visit him and said to us, "Treat him with black cumin. Take five or seven seeds and crush them (mix the powder with oil) and drop the resulting mixture into both nostrils, for `Aisha has narrated to me that she heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, 'This black cumin is healing for all diseases except As-Sam.' Aisha said, 'What is As-Sam?' He said, 'Death." Sahih al-Bukhari 5687 (Vol. 7, Book 71, Hadith 591)
Since 1959, there have been over 200 studies at international universities and articles published in various journals showing remarkable results supporting some of its traditional uses. In 1960, Egyptian researchers isolated that Nigellone, which is only found in Black Seed and responsible for its broncho-dialating effect. Recently scientists in Europe studied the anti-bacterial and anti-mycotic effects of black seed oil. Scientists at the Cancer and Immuno-Biological Laboratory reported in a study that Black Seed may stimulate bone marrow and immune cells and may raise the interferon production, protect normal cells against cell destroying effects of viruses, and raise the number of anti-bodies producing B cells.
Through the formation of Protaglandin E1, the complete immune system is harmonized and the body’s over-reactive allergic reactions are stabilized. By also inhibiting infection, the immune system is able to prevent and control chronic illnesses. Healthy cells are protected from the damaging effects of viruses, inhibiting tumors. As a result Interferon cell protein is formed, inhibiting growth of damaging micro-organisms. Recently independent clinical studies in the Archives of Aids described the possible effects of Black Seed on the defense system by improving the ratio between helper T-cells and suppressor T-cells by a significant amount while also enhancing the natural killer cell activity.
Black Seed herb contains over 100 components, many of which still remain to be discovered. It is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids and contains about 35% oil, 21% protein, and 38% carbohydrates. More than 50% of the oil are essential fatty acids. It’s linoleic acid and gamma linolenic acid content help form Prostaglandin E1, which helps the body to inhibit infections, balances the immune system, and regulates allergic reactions. Gamma-linolenic acid also helps stabilize the cell membrane. Black Seed also contains about .5-1.5% volatile oils including Nigellone and Thymoquinone which have been researched for anti-histamine, anti-oxidant, anti-infective, and broncho-dialating effects.
Traditionally, Black Seed has been used for a variety of conditions and treatments related to respiratory health, stomach and intestinal complaints, kidney & liver support, circulatory and immune system support, and to improve general health. Black Seed oil has been used topically for different skin conditions, dryness, joint and scalp massage.
Black Seed may support metabolism and improve digestion. There have been studies published that show Black Seed may have a lowering effect on blood sugar levels and may useful in the treatment of diabetes melitus.
Black Seed is a multi-faceted herb with many benefits, especially when it comes to maintaining a strong and healthy immune system. It is also very useful for respiratory complaints and seasonal allergies, weakened or over-stimulated Immune system, kidney or liver problems, digestive and stomach complaints, and joint and circulation related issues. Black Seed is a safe herb that can be used by anyone. It has no known side effects and has a long history of use for several thousand years.
Both are equally effective, but Black Seed oil is more concentrated and contains greater amounts of essential fatty acids. Caution should be taken when using low quality imported black seed oil because many oil products are imported and be adulterated or mixed with carrier oils. Some oils coming from the Middle East are extracted with heat and hexane, a petroleum by-product. Always use a product that is labeled as 100%, cold-pressed, solvent free, and packed and sealed by machine.