Nigella sativa (black caraway, also known as black cumin, nigella, kalojeera, kalonji or kalanji) is an annual flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae, native to a large region of the eastern Mediterreanean, northerm Africa, and Indian Subcontinent, and West Asea.
Kingdom – Plantae
Clade – Tracheophytes
Clade – Eudicots
Order – Ranunculales
Family – Ranunculaceae
Genus – Nigella
Species – N. sativa
Binomial name – Nigella sativa
Synonyms – Nigella cretica Mill
Nigella sativa grows to 20-30 cm (7.9z11.8 in) tall, with finely divided, linear (but not thread-like) leaves. The flowers are delicate, and usually colored pale blue and white, with five to ten petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of three to seven united follicles, each containing numerous seeds which are used as spice, sometimes as a replacement for black cumin. (Bunium bulbocastanum).
Kalonji, also known as Nigella Seeds is a common spice used in different Indian cuisines. These seeds give a distinct taste and aroma to the food. Originally discovered by Egyptians, the tiny black seeds have been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for a long time. They are loaded with vitamins, amino acids, crude fiber, proteins, and fatty acids. Adding a small amount of Nigella Seeds in your diet can prove beneficial in treating numerous health problems.
Kalonji has been proven to display cholesterol-lowering properties, by reducing both bad cholesterol and blood triglycerides. Although kalonji oil is more effective in reducing bad cholesterol than the seeds, the seeds also increase the level of good cholesterol, a property not observed in the oil.
Nigella seeds help in regulating blood sugar, thus preventing a spike in blood sugar levels. The concern for diabetics is high blood sugar, and by controlling it, nigella seeds help in keeping diabetes in check, thus preventing adverse symptoms like nerve damage and slow would healing.
It can be rather painful when stomach acids eat their way to the stomach lining, which not only prevents the formation of ulcers, but also provides protection against alcohol.
PROTECTS THE LIVER
Kalonji has displayed properties that have shown to protect the liver from injury and damage. It does so because of its antioxidant properties that prevent oxidative damage and its ability to reduce inflammation.
REDUCES THE RISK OF CANCER
With a high antioxidant content, nigella seeds can neutralize free radicals, compounds that cause oxidative damage to cells. Free radicals contribute to the formation of cancer cells, and by neutralizing them, these seed reduce the risk of developing cancer.
FIGHTS OFF BACTERIA
Nigella seeds have potent antibacterial properties which fight off many harmful bacteria and prevent you from succumbing to a host of serious infections like skin infections, lung infections, and ear infection.
The results of the present study showed that eight weeks of Nigella Sativa supplementation significantly increased anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10) and reduced non-significantly pro-inflammatory cytokine, TNF-a.
Loaded with nutrients, kalonji is great for your hair. It gives your hair the required nutrients and increases your hair growth. By improving the health of your hair follicle, this oil reduces the overall health of your hair growth but also prevent hair loss.
Today, Black seed is used for treating digestive tract conditions including gas, colic, diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, and hemorrhoids. It is also used for respiratory conditions including asthma, allergies, cough, bronchitis, emphysema, flu, swine flu, and congestion.
It’s usually lightly toasted and then ground or used whole to add flavor to bread or curry dishes. Some people also eat the seeds raw or mix them with honey or water. They can also be added to oatmeal, smoothies or yogurt.