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What is Kalonji or Black seed?
Kalonji Or Black seeds come from Nigella sativa, which is a small plant with pale purple, blue, or white tinged flowers in the Ranunculaceae family. Nigella Sativa grows in Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and the Middle East. The seeds of the Nigella sativa (N. Sativa) plant are solid black and have a shape resembling a sunflower seed. The Kalonji seed is known to have a large number of benefits.
Kalonji or Black seeds have been used in different civilizations around the world for diverse culinary & medicinal uses. The flavor & aroma of black cumin is very distinctive and is often used as a flavoring spice in Pakistan, India & the Middle East.
Kalonji has a lot of significance in traditional medicine and has been used for centuries in various cultures. Historically, the use of Kalonji dates back to over three thousand years to the kingdom of the ancient Assyrians & Egyptians.
In ancient texts & historical documents, black cumin seed is noted for its therapeutic attributes and ability to support the body in its natural healing processes.
Archeological studies report that black cumin seeds have been found in several sites from ancient Egypt, including in the tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh, Tutankhamun. It has also been revered as a beauty secret since ancient times as Queen Nefertiti, renowned for her complexion, was, reportedly a devoted black cumin seed user. Pliny the Elder (a famous Roman author and philosopher) crushed black seeds, mixed them with vinegar, honey, and applied the paste to snake bites and scorpion stings.
Benefits of Kalonji in Islam
Ibn e Sina or Avicenna, the Persian physician & philosopher, discussed black cumin seed in the text Canon of Medicine, which is considered a hallmark publication in the history of human medicine and used as the primary medical text throughout Europe until the 17th century.
The Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H) who is seen as one of the most influential figures in history, reportedly said as narrated by Abu Huraira (R.A):
I have heard from Rasool Allah (PBUH) that” There is a cure for every disease in black seeds except death and black seeds are Shooneez.”
Ibn Hajar, the famous Islamic scholar in his interpretation of the Hadith said:
“The logic behind the black seed being healing for all diseases is not necessarily that it is to be used on its own for every ailment; rather it may be used on its own or it may be used with other things; it may be used ground up or otherwise; it may be used in food or drink or nose drops or a compress and otherwise. And it was said that the words every disease mean that every disease is treatable with it.”
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 a cure for all diseases except death.”
The same narration is found in Sanad-e-Ahmed from Hazrat Aisha (t) and in Ibn-al-Jozi & Trimizi from Abu Huraira. Hazrat Buraida narrates that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated “Shooneez is a cure for all ailments except death.”
This emphasizes the significance of Black Seeds in Islamic history for healing, protection and makes one realize, the potent nature of this heavenly plant that can do wonders to the human body.
Benefits of Kalonji in Science:
The seeds of kalonji are known for their miraculous healing ability and are traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments. Kalonji has been reputed to have a wide range of health benefits. However, many of them have only been examined in test-tube or animal studies. Although more research is needed, adding kalonji to your diet or using it as a supplement could have a beneficial effect on several aspects of your health.
Thymoquinone (TQ) is the main active ingredient of black cumin seeds, which is an antioxidant & anti-inflammatory compound that may also have tumor-reducing properties. Therefore, kalonji is used to treat a number of tumors, inflammations and is also recommended for use in cancer patients.
Kalonji is used as a remedy for numerous health problems such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Dental issues
- Menstrual disorders
A large number of health care specialists recommend their patients to use Kalonji in specified proportions in their diet or as a supplement to enhance their immunity.
During the Corona Pandemic, medical experts from all over Pakistan stressed the importance of using Kalonji seeds as a natural immunity booster in order to enable the body to fight off the virus effectively, while avoiding any serious complications.
Black Seed Oil, extracted from Nigella sativa also has several applications & benefits for problematic skin conditions. It is used to treat Acne, Hydrating Hair, Psoriasis and is a natural cosmetic for Skin Softening, Wound Healing, Skin protection, etc.
More than 200 university studies conducted since 1959 attest to the effectiveness of traditional uses of black seed. The essential oil of N. Sativa seeds is antimicrobial and successful in the ratification of intestinal worms.
In vitro studies in Jordan and the United States have shown its volatile oil to be anti-leukemic. Other studies suggest this same active ingredient may serve as an immune-system booster and is proven effective in treating asthma and whooping cough.
Kalonji has anti-inflammatory, anti-tussive, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, antibacterial, anti-cancer properties and has been used for centuries in herbal medicine by well-recognized figures in the Islamic & Western Civilizations. Due to the history associated with the seeds and the benefits they offer, many doctors in the modern era back up the idea of using Kalonji in everyday diet.
Risks of Kalonji:
If used moderately, kalonji does not have any side effects. The appropriate dose of black seed depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions.
As of now, there is no standardized dose of Nigella sativa but different amounts have been studied in research. In human clinical trials, dosages of 1-3 grams of black cumin seed powder have been used (orally) for up to 12 months. A time period of two months is recommended before checking on changes to cholesterol or blood glucose management.
Black cumin seed oil is used orally at doses up to 5 mL or 40 mg per kg for up to 8 weeks for therapeutic effects. Topical use, for example for knee osteoarthritis, has included 1 mL applied locally three times per day. It is important to consult your pharmacist, physician, or another healthcare professional, before deciding on having Kalonji for everyday use.
More importantly, do not use Kalonji as a treatment for some chronic medical condition as it can be extremely problematic. Chronic conditions need to be treated as per the guidelines of a specialist and therefore, it is necessary to use the medications prescribed by your doctor.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should talk to their doctor to see if the use of black seed is right for them or not since a lot of complexities can arise during this period. Your doctor will give you the best advice in this regard and will help you to make the best choice.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan does not monitor herbs and supplements for quality and purity, so it is vital to be selective when purchasing these products. It is advised to search the market or ask your doctor to select the best quality Nigella Sativa seeds.
What Other Names are used for Kalonji around the World?
Following names are used for Kalonji around the world:
Ajenuz, Aranuel, Baraka, Black Cumin, Black Caraway, Charnuska, Cheveux de Vénus, Cominho Negro, Comino Negro, Cumin Noir, Fennel Flower, Fitch, Graine de Nigelle, Graine Noire, Kalajaji, Kalajira, La Grainer Noire, Love in a Mist, Mugrela, Nielle, Nigella sativa, Nigelle de Crête, Nigelle Cultivée, Nutmeg Flower, Poivrette, Roman-Coriander, Schwarzkummel, Small Fennel, Toute Épice, Upakuncika.
Kalonji or Black Cumin Seeds have a variety of therapeutic benefits and adding them to your diet or using them as a supplement can prove to be extremely beneficial for your overall physical & mental health.
When it comes to versatility & tremendous healing power, black cumin seed stands above other botanicals and is used around the globe to treat different conditions. In herbal medicine, Kalonji is considered to be one of the strongest natural medicinal cures and is also deemed to be a superior component, used in many modern medicines, treatments & therapies.
In conclusion, Kalonji or Black Cumin Seeds in specified proportions are a good addition to your diet as they can play a vital role in boosting your immunity as well as keeping you safe from a wide range of illnesses but it is important to consider other factors before opting to use Kalonji regularly, such as any underlying chronic condition, the possibility of a reaction to any medicines, etc.
Talk to your health care expert before making any final judgment and use Kalonji as per the specified dose prescribed by your doctor to get the best results possible while avoiding any health concerns.
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