Species: N. sativa
Nigela Sativa can be compared to Echinacea, the well known immune booster but works in a very different way, which makes it even suitable for diseases of the immune system itself, eg. allergies; MS; TB; cancer; aids etc, where Echinacea could have detrimental effects.
The oil of nigella sativa is so beneficial due to it's content of over a hundred components such as aromatic oils, trace elements, vitamins and enzymes. It contains 58% of essential fatty acids including omega 6 and omega 3. These are necessary for the forming of Prostaglandin E1 which balances and strengthens the immune system giving it the power to prevent infections and allergies and control cronic illnesses. Healthy cells are protected from viruses thus inhibiting tumours. Blackseed oil also contains about 0.5 - 1.5% volatile oils including nigellone and thymochinone which are responsible for its anti-histamine, anti-oxidant, anti-infective and broncho-dilating effect.
As an oil it is digested through the lymphatics consequently purifying and unblocking the lymphatic system.
Nigella Sativa oil was found in Tutankhamen's tomb. It is known to have been used by Cleopatra for it's health and beauty giving qualities.
The Greek physician Dioskorides used Blackseed to treat headaches, nasal congestion, toothache and intestinal parasites. Hypocrates, the grandfather of todays scientific medicine regarded Nigella Sativa as a valuable remedy in hepatic and digestive disorders.
Ibn Sina, the author of the Canon of Medicine, one of the most famous books in the history of medicine recommends Blackseed stimulates the metabolism and to recover from dispiritedness and lethargy.
Ayurvedic medicine appreciates its many qualities and bitter, warming, stimulant nature. Here it is used or a wide variety of diseases like haemorrhoids, hepatitis, fever, diarrhoea, cough, tapeworm, to mention only a few of them.
The earliest written reference to Blackseed is found in the book of Isiah in the Old Testament 28:25-27. It is most famous for the saying of the holy prophet Muhammad (sws), 'Hold on to use of the Blackseed, for it has a remedy for every illness except death.' The wording 'hold onto' indicates a long term use.
Since 1959 there have been over 200 different studies at universities and laboratories. At the Cancer Research Laboratory of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA, one of the largest experimental studies so far proved that Nigella Sativa oil had enormous success in tumour therapy without the negative side effects of common chemo-therapy. They found that it increased the growth rate of bone marrow cells by a staggering 250% and it inhibited tumour growth by 50%. It stimulated immune cells and raised the interferon production which protect cells from the cell destroying effect of viruses. They confirmed the strongly anti-bacterial and anti-micotic effects and that it has an effect in lowering the blood sugar level which is essential for the treatment of diabetes.
Recently independent clinical studies published in the archives of Aids also established some astonishing effects of blackseed on the defence system by improving the ration between helper t-cells and suppresser t-cells by a significant amount while also enhancing the natural killer cell activity.
Experiences of doctors in Munich displayed that 70% of patients with allergic conditions, among them being pollen and dust allergies, asthma and neuro-dermitis were cured by Nigella Sativa.
Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant, native to southwest Asia. It grows to 20–30 cm (7.9–12 in) 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.
Nigella sativa seed
In English, Nigella sativa seed is variously called fennel flower, nutmeg flower, Roman coriander, blackseed, black caraway, or black onion seed. Other names used, sometimes misleadingly, are onion seed and black sesame, both of which are similar-looking but unrelated. The seeds are frequently referred to as black cumin (as in Bengali: kalo jira, kalo jeera, kali jeera), but this is also used for a different spice, Bunium persicum. The scientific name is a derivative of Latin niger "black". An older English name gith is now used for the corncockle. In English-speaking countries with large immigrant populations, it is also variously known as kalonji (Hindi कलौंजी kalauṃjī or कलोंजी kaloṃjī), ketzakh Hebrew קצח), chernushka (Russian), çörek otu (Turkish), habbat albarakah (Arabic حبه البركة ḥabbatu l-barakah "seed of blessing") or siyah daneh (Persian سیاهدانه siyâh dâne)or كلونجى in urdu. "KARIM JEERAKAM" in Malayalam.
A commercial pack of kalonji
It is used as part of the spice mixture Panch Puran and by itself in a great many recipes in Bengali cookery and most recognisably in Naan Bread as sold in the 90% of Indian restaurants in the UK which are in fact Bengali owned.
Nigella sativa has a pungent bitter taste and smell. It is used primarily in confectionery and liquors. The variety of naan bread called Peshawari(Pakistan)i naan is as a rule topped with kalonji seeds.
According to Zohary and Hopf, archeological evidence about the earliest cultivation of N. sativa "is still scanty", but they report that N. sativa seeds have been found in several sites from ancient Egypt, including Tutankhamun's tomb. Although its exact role in Egyptian culture is unknown, it is known that items entombed with a pharaoh were carefully selected to assist him in the after life.
The earliest written reference to N. sativa is thought to be in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament where the reaping of nigella and wheat is contrasted (Isaiah 28: 25, 27). Easton's Bible dictionary states that the Hebrew word ketsah refers to without doubt to N. sativa (although not all translations are in agreement). According to Zohary and Hopf, N. sativa "was another traditional condiment of the Old World during classical times; and its black seeds were extensively used to flavor food."
History of Medicine
Nigella sativa has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, both as a herb and pressed into oil, in Asia, Middle East, and Africa. 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, as analgesic, antiinflammatory, antiallergic, antioxidants, anticancer, antiviral and for general well-being.
In Islam, it is regarded as one of the greatest forms of healing medicine available. Muhammad (S.A.W.) once stated that the black seed can heal every disease—except death—as recounted in the following hadith:
[Sahih Muslim : Book 26 Kitab As-Salam, Number 5489]
Abu Huraira (Radi Allah Anhu) reported that he heard Allah's Messenger as saying: Nigella seed is a remedy for every disease except death.
Narrated Khalid bin Sa'd R.A:We went out and Ghalib bin Abjar R.A 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
(R.A.) has narrated to me that she heard the Prophet saying, 'This black cumin is healing for all diseases except As-Sam.' 'Aisha (R.A.) said, 'What is As-Sam?' He said, 'Death.' " (Bukhari)
[Sahih Muslim : Book 26 Kitab As-Salam, Number 5490]
Abu Huraira (Radi Allah Anhu) reported Allah's Messenger as saying: There is no disease for which Nigella seed does not provide remedy.
Avicenna, most famous for his volumes called The Canon of Medicine, refers to nigella as the seed that stimulates the body's energy and helps recovery from fatigue and dispiritedness. It is also included in the list of natural drugs of 'Tibb-e-Nabavi', or "Medicine of the Prophet (Muhammad)(S.A.W.)", according to the tradition "hold onto the use of the black seeds for in it is healing for all diseases except death" (Sahih Bukhari vol. 7 book 71 # 592).
In the Unani Tibb system of medicine, N. sativa is regarded as a valuable remedy for a number of diseases.
The seeds have been traditionally used in the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries to treat ailments including asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism and related inflammatory diseases, to increase milk production in nursing mothers, to promote digestion and to fight parasitic infections. Its oil has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and boils and to treat cold symptoms. Its many uses have earned nigella the Arabic approbation 'Habbatul barakah', meaning the seed of blessing.
Black cumin oil contains nigellone, which protects guinea pigs from histamine-induced bronchial spasms (perhaps explaining its use to relieve the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, and coughing).
The presence of an anti-tumor sterol, beta-sitosterol, lends credence to its traditional use to treat abscesses and tumors of the abdomen, eyes, and liver.
Nigella sativa oil has been reported to be effective in treating opioid dependence.
Nigella sativa also has been reported to reduce calculi formation in rats' kidney. 
Thymoquinone and pancreatic cancer treatment
Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have found that thymoquinone, an extract of nigella sativa seed oil, blocked pancreatic cancer cell growth and killed the cells by enhancing the process of programmed cell death, (apoptosis). While the studies are in the early stages, the findings suggest that thymoquinone could eventually have some use as a preventative strategy in patients who have gone through surgery and chemotherapy or in individuals who are at a high risk of developing cancer.
Latin Name :
English Names :
Small Fennel, Black Cumin
Sanskrit / Indian Names :
Kalonji, Kalajira, Kalajaji, Mugrela, Upakuncika
A small herb. The seeds give on steam-distillation a yellowish brown volatile oil with an unpleasant odor. The oil contains carvone, d -limonene, and a carbonyl compound, nigellone.
Preliminary clinical trials indicate its possible therapeutic use in some conditions of cough and bronchial asthma. The alcoholic extract of the seeds is reported to prevent dental caries. It contains nourishing amino acids such as cysteine, lysine, valine and leucine. The seed oil showed antibacterial, insecticidal, bronchiodilatory, hypotensive, and immunostimulant activities. The seed contains saponins which have good cleansing properties. The oil also exhibited CNS depressant and potent analgesic effects on experimental animals. Intraperitoneal administration of the oil of black cumin seeds (50mg/kg) to fasting normal and alloxan diabetic rabbits produced significant hypoglycemic effects.
Latin Names English Names Sanskrit Name Hindi Names
Nerium indicum Mill. /
Soland. (Apocyanaceae) Sweet-Scented
Indian Oleander Karavira Kaner, Karber, Kuruvira
Morphology Description (Habit)
It is found in the Himalayas from Nepal westwards to Kashmir up to 1,950 m. and in the upper Gangetic plain and Madhya Pradesh; it grows wild in many other states of India.
Morphology Description (Habit)
A large evergreen shrub with milky juice. The leaves are mostly in whorls of 3, sometimes 2, linear-lanceolate, acuminate and coriaceous; the flowers are fragrant, white, rose or red and occur in terminal cymes; the fruit is a connate follicle; numerous, small seeds tipped with a coma of light brown hairs are seen.
The roots, bark and seeds contain cardio-active glycosides, formerly designated as neriodorin, neriodorein and karabin; the bark also contains scopoletin and scopolin1. The alcoholic extract of the root bark showed the presence of a -amyrin, b -sitosterol; the ether fraction showed kaempferol and the chloroform fraction showed odoroside2.
In subacute toxicity tests in rats and rabbits and toxicity tests in rats, N. indicum did not produce any macroscopic or micoscopic changes in various organs.
The glycosides present in the plant have a paralyzing action on the heart, like digitalin, and a stimulating action on the spinal cord, like strychnine.
Inflamin Vet, Rumalaya Vet.
Pharmacological and toxicological properties of Nigella sativa.
Department of Veterinary Medicine, King Saud University, Buraydah, Al Gaseem 81999, Saudi Arabia.
The seeds of Nigella sativa Linn. (Ranunculaceae), commonly known as black seed or black cumin, are used in folk (herbal) medicine all over the world for the treatment and prevention of a number of diseases and conditions that include asthma, diarrhoea and dyslipidaemia. This article reviews the main reports of the pharmacological and toxicological properties of N. sativa and its constituents. The seeds contain both fixed and essential oils, proteins, alkaloids and saponin. Much of the biological activity of the seeds has been shown to be due to thymoquinone, the major component of the essential oil, but which is also present in the fi ed oil. The pharmacological actions of the crude extracts of the seeds (and some of its active constituents, e.g. volatile oil and thymoquinone) that have been reported include protection against nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity induced by either disease or chemicals. The seeds/oil have antiinflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, antimicrobial and antineoplastic activity. The oil decreases blood pressure and increases respiration. Treatment of rats with the seed extract for up to 12 weeks has been reported to induce changes in the haemogram that include an increase in both the packed cell volume (PCV) and haemoglobin (Hb), and a decrease in plasma concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose. The seeds are characterized by a very low degree of toxicity. Two cases of contact dermatitis in two individuals have been reported following topical use. Administration of either the seed extract or its oil has been shown not to induce significant adverse effects on liver or kidney functions. It would appear that the beneficial effects of the use of the seeds and thymoquinone might be related to their cytoprotective and antioxidant actions, and to their effect on some mediators of inflammation. Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Nigella sativa - L.
N. Africa to Ethiopia and W. Asia.
Waste places, arable land and waysides.
It is hardy to zone 0 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in July, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.
Annual growing to 0.35m by 0.2m.
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Condiment.
Seed - raw or cooked. Normally used as a flavouring on bread, cakes, curries, pickles etc[4, 9, 74, 100, 183]. There is a belief that eating the seed will make a woman's breasts plumper. The seed is a very popular spice from the Mediterranean to India. It has a pungent flavour according to one report whilst another says that it has a spicy fruity taste and a third that the scent is somewhat like nutmeg. The immature seed is bitter, but when fully ripe it is aromatic. It is also used as a pepper substitute.
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anthelmintic; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Digestive; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Galactogogue; Parasiticide; Stimulant.
Like many aromatic culinary herbs, the seeds of black cumin are beneficial for the digestive system, soothing stomach pains and spasms and easing wind, bloating and colic. The ripe seed is anthelmintic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, laxative and stimulant[4, 9, 46, 238, 240]. An infusion is used in the treatment of digestive and menstrual disorders, insufficient lactation and bronchial complaints[9, 238]. The seeds are much used in India to increase the flow of milk in nursing mothers and they can also be used to treat intestinal worms, especially in children. Externally, the seed is ground into a powder, mixed with sesame oil and used to treat abscesses, haemorrhoids and orchitis[238, 240]. The powdered seed has been used to remove lice from the hair.
The aromatic seed contains about 1.5% essential oil. It is placed amongst clothes etc to repel moths. The seeds can also be put in muslin bags and hung near a fire when they will fill the room with their delicious scent. They need to be changed about every three weeks. The seed contains 35% of a fatty oil[74, 240].
Seed: Fresh Dried
The seed is deliciously aromatic with a nutmeg scent.
Easily grown in any good garden soil, preferring a sunny position[1, 108]. Prefers a light soil in a warm position. This species is often cultivated, especially in western Asia and India, for its edible seed. The seed is aromatic with a nutmeg scent. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.
Seed - sow spring or early autumn in situ. The autumn sowing might not be successful in harsh winters. Plants can be transplanted if necessary.
The plants of Kalonji are found throughout India in the form of bushes. The height of the plant is approximately half a meter. It possesses blue flowers. It is originated from Turkey and Italy. Later on, it was brought to Asia by physicians and cultivated in India. Now a days, it is cultivated throughout India, whereas it is wildly grown too. Seeds are triangular in shape, black in colour and possess a severe pungent smell, contain a considerable amount of oil. It is incorrect that Arabs learnt its use from Greeks, because before the advent of Islam in middle east no description is found on record about it’s use. It’s therapeutic use was initiated after the advent of Islam, since, Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) mentioned its therapeutic efficacy and potential of cure.
Hazrat Abu Hurairah States - “I have heard from Rasool Allah (Pbuh) that there is cure for every disease in black seeds except death and black seeds are shooneez.”
Salim Bin Abdullah narrates with reference to his father Hazrat Abdullah Bin Omar that Rasool Allah (Pbuh) said, “Let fall these black seeds upon you, these contain cure for all diseases except death.”
The same narration is found in Sanad-e-Ahmed from Hazrat Aisha (t) and in Ibn-al-Jozi and Trimizi from Abu Huraira. Hazrat Buraida narrates that Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) stated - “Shooneez is cure for all ailments except death.”
It is stated in the books of seerat that Nabi-e-Akram (Pbuh) himself used to take these seeds for therapeutic purpose but with the syrup of Honey.
Khalid Bin Saad states that he was travelling with Ghalib Bin Jabr, when fell ill during the journey. Ibn Abi Ateeq (nephew of Hazrat Aisha) Came to meet us. On seeing the patient, he took 5 or 7 seeds of Kalonji and ground it, mixed it in olive oil and dropped in both nostrils, Hazrat Aisha told us that Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) stated that there was cure in black seeds for all ailments except sam. I asked him, what was sam? he told “Death”. Ghalib Bin Jabr became healthy with that treatment. Observations of the scholars of Hadith reveal that shooneez is equally effective for the diseases due to heat and cold. Zahbi states that kalonji removes the obstruction of any part of the body, expels the gases and strengthens the stomach. It is Emmenagogue, Lactogogue and Diuretic. It is an Anti-Helminthic, if taken with vinegar. It is useful in chronic cold. Inhalation of its smell is useful in common cold. The oil of Kalonji is effective in Alopecia. Half tea-spoonful, if boiled in water and taken, is helpful in Asthma and diffuses the toxic effects of Bee and Wasps. Continuous use of kalonji is effective in mad dog biting. Fumigation of kalonji is useful in respiratory diseases. It is useful in paralysis, Facial Palsy, Migraine, Amnesia and Palpitation. It is also an expectorant and antipyretic. It mormalises the secretions of stomach and pancreas. This phenomenon is very much effective and significant in the treatment of Diabetes Mellitus. It expels the kidney and urinary bladder stones, if taken with the syrup of honey. It is effective in jaundice also if taken with milk. It’s powder if taken with water is effective in Haemorrhoids. If Kalonji seeds are boiled in vinegar and this solution is applied on Gums and Teeth, it removes the inflammation of the gums and relieves the pain also. It is also reported that its fine powder is effective if applied in early stages of cataract. Kalonji is also used in skin disorders. The oil of the seeds is also effective in earache.
Chemical Composition - seeds contain 1.5% volatile oil, while 37.5% Non volatile oil. In addition to this Albumen, Sugar, Organic acids, Glucoside Melanthin Metarbin and bitter substances are also found. The Glucoside is toxic in nature, hence the use of Kalonji in large doses and prolonged use might be harmful.
If it is taken with Qust Sheering after breakfast and Dinner, it is effective in chronic dysentery and Asthma. Qust Sheering is a good medicine for sexual debility, but if it is taken with Kalonji seeds and Habburrashad, it becomes more fortified. Modern upto date trials have proved that Kalonji seeds alone or in combination with other drugs are highly effective in Diabetes Mellitus, vitiligo and other skin ailments.
(* Director, Shah Faisal Institute of Hadith & Medical Sciences, Kasganj-207123 ,UP)
Fara e zezë
حبة السوداء, حبة البركة, كمون اسود, شونيز
حَبَّة الْسَوْدَاء, حَبَّة الْبَرَكَة, كَمُّون أَسْوَد, شُونِيز
Habbet as-suda, Habbeh as-sudah, Habbet al-suda, Habbeh al-suda, Habbah sauda, Habbah al-baraka, Kamun aswad, Sanouz, Shuniz, Shunez, Sinouj
কাল জিরা, কালোজিরা
Челебитка посевна, Черен кимион
Chelebitka posevna, Cheren kimion
Sanuj, Barba d’ermità
黑種草 [hàk júng chóu]
Hak jung chou
黑種草 [hēi zhǒng cǎo]
Hei zhong cao
Crni kumin, Crnog kima
Černý kmín, Černucha
Fennel flower, Onion seed, Gith; falsely Black Cumin, Black Caraway
Ryytineito, Sipulinsiemen, Rohtoneidonkukka, Mustakumina, Mustasiemen; Neidonkukka (applies to the whole genus)
Cheveux de Vénus, Nigelle, Poivrette
Lus an fhograidh
Zwiebelsame, Nigella, Schwarzkümmel
Μελάνθιον, Μελάνθιο, Νιγκέλα
Melanthion, Melanthio, Ninkela
Feketekömény, Parasztbors, Kerti katicavirág, Borzaskata mag
Nigella, Grano nero
블랙쿠민, 대회향, 니겔라, 흑종초
Pullaek-kumin, Tae-hoehyang, Nigella; Hukchongcho (Nigella damascena)
Karinjeeragam, Karuta jirakam
मुग्रेला, हाजी, हजि
Chimion negru, Negrilică, Cernușcă (Cernuşcă)
Ћурукота, Чурекот, Црно семе, Црњика храпава
Ćurukota, Čurekot, Crno seme, Crnjika hrapava
Černuška siata, Černuška, Černuška damascénska, Egyptská čierna rasca
Çörek otu, Çöreotu, Çörekotu tohumu, Ekilen, Hakiki çöreotu, Kara çörek otu, Siyah kimyon, Siyah susam
Herbs are vital source of drugs from the ancient time holding the scenario of the Indian system of medicine. Nigella sativa commonly known as karayal is an annual flowering plant, native to southwest Asia. Seeds and their oil have a long history of folklore usage in various systems of medicines and are used in food as well as medicine. The present paper enumerates the medicinal, pharmacological, traditional value and folk remedies of this herb, which may help the researchers to set their minds for approaching the utility, efficacy and potency of Nigella sativa.
N. sativa, known as kalonji, black cumin is used as a spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. The dry roasted seeds flavor curries, vegetables and pulses. The black seeds taste like oregano and have bitterness to them like mustard-seeds. It can be used as a "pepper" in recipes with pod fruit, vegetables, salads and poultry.
Nigella is a genus of about 14 species of annual plants in the family Ranunculaceae, native to southern Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia. Common names applied to members of this genus are Devil-in-a-bush or Love in a mist. The plant grows to 20-90 cm tall, with finely divided leaves, the leaf segments narrowly linear to threadlike. The flowers are white, yellow, pink, pale blue or pale purple, with 5-10 petals. The fruit is a capsule composed of several united follicles, each containing numerous seeds .
Nigella sativa commonly known as karayal (English: Small Fennel, Black Cumin; Sanskrit: Kalonji, Kalajira, Kalajaji, Mugrela, Upakuncika) is an annual flowering plant, native to southwest Asia. The plant is indigenous to the Mediterranean region but now found widely in India (Jammu, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Punjab). The herb is also cultivated in Bengal and north-east India. .
Several species are grown as ornamental plants in gardens, popular for their seed capsules, which are used in dried flower arrangements. Karayal are used exclusively for dried arrangements. The flowers are the best to add texture to any dried flower arrangement. The delicate purple striped pods are used in several arrangements for an airy effect.
It is small prostrate annual herb about 45 cm high 2-3 slender leaves pinnatisect, 2-4 cm long cut into linear segment, segments oblong. Flowers pale, blue on solitary long peduncles, seeds trigonous and black in colour. The plant has a rather stiff, erect, branching stem, bears deeply-cut greyish-green leaves and terminal greyishblue flowers, followed by odd, toothed seed vessels, filled with small somewhat compressed seeds, usually three-cornered, with two sides flat and one convex, black or brown externally white and oleaginous, strong agreeable aromatic odour, like that of nutmegs, and a spicy, pungent taste. The flowers are delicate, and usually coloured pale blue and white, with 5–10 petals (Fig. 1). The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of 3–7 united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. It has a pungent bitter taste and a faint smell of strawberries [4, 5].
According to Zohary and Hopf, archeological evidence about the earliest cultivation of N. sativa "is still scanty", but they report that N. sativa seeds have been found in several sites from ancient Egypt, including Tutankhamun's tomb. Although its exact role in Egyptian culture is unknown, it is known that items entombed with a pharaoh were carefully selected to assist him in the after life .
Nigella sativa has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, both as a herb and pressed into oil, in Asia, Middle East, and Africa. 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 well-being. In Islam, it is regarded as one of the greatest forms of healing medicine available. The Islamic prophet Muhammad once stated that the black seed can heal every disease except death. Avicenna, most famous for his volumes called The Canon of Medicine, refers to Nigella as the seed that stimulates the body's energy and helps recovery from fatigue and dispiritedness. It is also included in the list of natural drugs of 'Tibb-e-Nabavi', or "Medicine of the Prophet (Muhammad)", according to the tradition "hold onto the use of the black seeds for healing all diseases. In the Unani Tibb system of medicine, N. sativa is regarded as a valuable remedy for a number of diseases. The seeds have been traditionally used in the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries to treat ailments including asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism and related inflammatory diseases, to increase milk production in nursing mothers, to promote digestion and to fight parasitic infections. Its oil has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and boils and to treat cold symptoms. Its many uses have earned Nigella the Arabic approbation 'Habbatul barakah', meaning the seed of blessing. [7, 8]. Karayal seeds and their oil have a long history of folklore usage in Arabian and Indian civilisation and are used in food as well as medicine. The seeds are used as flavouring, to improve digestion and produce warmth, especially in cold climates. They are sometimes scattered in the folds of woollen fabrics to preserve them from insect damage[9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14].
In India the seeds are used as a carminative and stimulant to ease bowel and indigestion problems and are given to treat intestinal worms and nerve defects to reduce flatulence, and induce sweating. Dried pods are sniffed to restore a lost sense of smell. It is also used to repel some insects, much like mothballs.
Karayal seeds are used as a carminative, aromatic, stimulant, diuretic, anthelmintic, galactagogue and diaphoretic. They are used as a condiment in curries. A tincture prepared from the seeds is useful in indigestion, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, dropsy, amenorrhoea and dysmenorrhoea and in the treatment of worms and skin eruptions. Externally the oil is used as an antiseptic. To arrest vomiting, seeds are roasted and given internally.
Chemical Composition [15, 16, 17, 18]
Seeds contain numerous esters of structurally unusual unsaturated fatty acids with terpene alcohols (7%); furthermore, traces of alkaloids are found which belong to two different types: isochinoline alkaloids are represented by nigellimin and nigellimin-N-oxide, and pyrazol alkaloids include nigellidin and nigellicin.
In the essential oil (avr. 0.5%, max. 1.5%), thymoquinone was identified as the main component (up to 50%) besides p-cymene (40%), pinene (up to 15%), dithymoquinone and thymohydroquinone. Other terpene derivatives were found only in trace amounts: Carvacrol, carvone, limonene, 4-terpineol, citronellol.
Furthermore, the essential oil contains significant (10%) amounts of fatty acid ethyl esters. On storage, thymoquinone yields dithymoquinonene and higher oligocondensation products. The seeds also contain a fatty oil rich in unsaturated fatty acids, mainly linoleic acid (50 60%), oleic acid (20%), eicodadienoic acid (3%) and dihomolinoleic acid (10%).
Saturated fatty acids (palmitic, stearic acid) amount to about 30% or less. Also contain parts of the essential oil, mostly thymoquinone, by which it acquires an aromatic flavour.
The seeds give on steam-distillation a yellowish brown volatile oil with an unpleasant odor. The oil contains carvone, d -limonene, and a carbonyl compound, nigellone.
Pharmacology [19, 20,]
1. Antimicrobial activity: Nigella sativa exhibited strong antimicrobial activity against Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and others. The essential oil has been shown to have activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. However, sensitivity against Gram-positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Vibrio cholerae was found to be stronger. Bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, S. pyogenes and S. viridans are more susceptible to Nigella sativa. In an in-vitro study, volatile oil showed activity comparable to ampicillin. The activity of the volatile oil also extended to drug-resistant strains of Shigella spp, Vibrio cholerae and Escherichia coli and was found to have a synergistic action with streptomycin and gentamycin.
2. Hepatoprotective activity: Thymoquinone, one of the active constituents of Nigella sativa, is reported to have hepatoprotective activity." An in-vitro study showed the protective effect against tert-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP)-induced oxidative damage to hepatocytes. The activity was demonstrated by a decreased leakage of alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartic transaminase (AST) and decreased trypan blue uptake.
3. Antidiabetic activity: Significant hypoglycaemic activity has been reported and is thought to be due to the essential oil present. Clinical studies have confirmed these results and suggest that the antidiabetic action of the plant extract.
4. Antiinflammatory activity: Asthma and arthritis are chronic inflammatory disorders involving a variety of inflammatory mediators and different pathways. The fixed oil and thymoquinone from the seeds were found to inhibit eicosanoid generation in leucocytes and membrane lipid peroxidation and a significant reduction in rat paw oedema and a reduction in granuloma pouch weight were also observed. Nigellone in low concentration is effective in inhibiting the histamine release from the mast cells, which supports an antiasthmatic role for the plant.
5. Antifertility activity: The antifertility activity of Nigella sativa in male rats has been established, shown by an inhibition of spermatogenesis and a significant reduction in sialic acid content of the testis, epididymis, seminal vesicles and prostate.
6. Antioxytocic adivity: Preliminary reports suggest antioxytocic properties, in that a reversible inhibition of spontaneous smooth muscle contraction and inhibition of uterine smooth muscle contraction induced by oxytocin stimulation have been observed.
7. Cytotoxic adivity: Cytotoxic and immunopotentiating effects of Nigella sativa have been established. The long chain fatty acids are thought to contribute to the antitumour activity. The extract shows a modulatory effect in cisplatin-induced toxicity in mice and a protective effect against cisplatin-induced falls in haemoglobin levels and leucocyte counts.
8. Anthelmintic adivity: Nigella sativa was found to have an anthelmintic activity against tapeworm comparable to that of piperazine.
9.Analgesic adivity: The essential oil produced significant analgesic activity using chemical and thermal noxious stimuli methods such as acetic acid-induced writhing, hot plate and tail flick tests.
10.Other activites: Other reports include hypocholesterolaemic, antihypertensive and galactagogue effects.
Indications and Usage 
Nigella sativa has been used for thousands of years in the Middle East for allergies, asthma, and for treating immune disorders. Recent research has shown that Nigella sativa increases the number of mammary cells in laboratory animals.
Great research has been done on Nigella sativa in regards to it's anti-cancer properties, especially breast cancer with promising results.
Precautions and Adverse Reactions 
No health hazards or side effects are known with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.
Safety profile 
Seeds of Nigella sativa have a long history of use for food and medicinal purposes. No adverse or side effects have been reported when used within the recommended dosage, although dermatitis has been reported.
Herbs are the natural drugs used to regain the alterations made in normal physiological system by foreign organisms or by any malfunctioning of the body. The WHO has already recognized the contribution of traditional health care in tribal communities. It is very essential to have a proper documentation of medicinal plants and to know their potential for the improvement of health and hygiene through an eco friendly system. Thus importance should be given to the potentiality of studies as these can provide a very effective strategy for the discovery of useful medicinally active identity. A detailed and systematic study is required for identification, cataloguing and documentation of plants, which may provide a meaningful way for the promotion of the traditional knowledge of the herbal medicinal plants. The present review reveals that Nigella sativa is used in treating various ailments. It elicits on all the aspects of the herb and throws the attention to set the mind of the researchers to carry out the work for developing its various formulations, which can ultimately be beneficial for the human beings as well as animals.
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
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.
Flavour: 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 The are easily crushed in a mortar and pestle.
Nigella is used in India 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.
Plant Description and Cultivation
An herbaceous annual of the buttercup family, about 60 cm (2 ft) high. The gray--green leaves are wispy and threadlike. Flowers are have five petals bout 2.5 cm wide (1 in), white with blue veins and appearing between June and September. They yield a seed capsule with five compartments each topped by a spike. The compartments open when dried to disperse the seeds. Nigella is native to western Asia where it grows both wild and cultivated. India, Egypt and the Middle East also cultivate it.
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)
Indian: kala zeera (lit, ‘black cumin’), kalonji, krishnajiraka
Recipes using nigella
Nigella is used in Naan Bread and in Lobhia.
Nigella is an ingredient of panch phoron, found in our Indian Spice Collection.
Botanical – ranunculaceae
Ayurvedic –vatsnabh kul
• English name- small fennel
• Hindi name – kalunji
• Sanskrit name – kalajaji
• Gujarati name – kalaunji r
It is a native of southern Europe. It is found all over India and is specially seen in the eastern region. It is commercially cultivated in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Assam
It has a small shrub and attains a height of 1 ½ feet. Leaves are 1 to 2 inch long and are spear shaped. Flowers are light yellow in color and are of one inch in diameter, single and has long stamen. Flowers are round, triangular, black colored, and aromatic, wrinkled and has many seeds in them. Seeds pulp is white. Flowers appear in early winters and fruits in winters
The seeds contain a brown colored volatile oil 0.5 % to 1.6 % and red colored stable oil which is 31 %. Besides this it contains albumin, sugar, carbonic acid, seponin, melanthin, Arabic acid, a bitter compound namd nigellin, resins, tennins and ash 7 %. It contains a volatile oil carvone 45 to 60 %, D-lymonine and cymine. It also contains nigellone, which is helpful in supporting the respiratory tract.
It is vata and kapha suppressant and pitta aggravator. Due to its rough and sharp properties it helps in scrapping the body fats and due to its hot potency it is helpful in suppressing a pain and inflammation. It helps in normalizing the digestive tract as it is light in nature. Due to its pungent taste it is helpful in suppressing any kind of infection in the body. Due to its hot potency it is helpful in expelling out the excess of mucus that gets accumulated in respiratory tract. It also acts as diuretic in nature and also promotes sweating (diphoratic) due to its hot potency.
According to ayurveda it contains
• Gunna (properties) – laghu (light), tikshan (sharp) and ruksh (dry)
• Rasa (taste) –katu (pungent) and tickta (bitter)
• Virya (potency) – ushan (hot)
Toxicology It has no toxic effect when consumed in normal dosage.
Plant part used Seeds
1. Skin related problems
2. Hair fall
3. Head ache
9. Abdominal distension
12. Pains in flanks
13. Painful parturition
14. Decrease milk secretion in lactating mothers.
2. Paste –it is used top apply on the sin related problems, hair fall, head aches, rhinitis and respiratory tract allergies. it is also applied on the pile mass to reduce swellings and pain
1. Powder –it helps in strengthening the nervous system. It is helpful in maintaining digestive tract to normalcy. It also is helpful in maintaining the respiratory tract. It also helps in proper uterine contraction and relaxation so as to ease the delivery of the baby. It is also helpful in maintaining the proper urinary tract.