By Eddie Levin
THE BLACK SEED
History of the Black Seed
For over two thousand years the black seed, a plant from the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family, has been traditionally used by various cultures throughout the world as a natural remedy for several diseases and ailments and to improve health in general.
The ancient Egyptians knew and used the black seed and described it as a panacea (cure for problems and diseases). Tutankamun even had a bottle of the oil in his tomb!
The Romans also knew this seed and called it Greek Coriander and used it as a dietary supplement.
In the first century, the Greek physician Dioscoredes recorded that the black seed were taken to treat headaches, nasal congestion, toothache and intestinal worms.
The black seed is also mentioned in the Bible in Isiah 28:25-27 as the ‘fitches’. Ibn Senna, known in the West as Avicenna, who wrote the great medical treatise ‘The Canon of Medicine’, referred to the black seed as the seed ‘that stimulates the body’s energy and helps recovery from fatigue’.
25 When he has leveled the surface,
does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin?
Does he not plant wheat in its place,
barley in its plot,
and spelt in its field?
26 His God instructs him
and teaches him the right way.
27 Caraway is not threshed with a sledge,
nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,
and cumin with a stick.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary clarifies that the Hebrew word for black cumin, “ketsah,” refers to “without doubt the Nigella sativa, a small annual of the order Ranunculaceae which grows wild in the Mediterranean countries] they were not carefully researched until about forty years ago.
What is Nigella Sativa (the black seed)?
Nigella Sativa originates from Western Asia and is a herb that grows about 16-24 inches in height and has white flowers when in bloom. The plant is now cultivated from the Near East to India. The deep black, sharp-cornered rectangular seeds (no longer than 3 mm) are the part of the plant that is used for the preparation of products.
The black seed is cultivated in Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Arabia, Oman, Ethiopia, Middle East, Far East, India, Bangladesh, France, Germany and the Mediterranean Basin. It also grows wild in Egypt, Syria, Asiatic Turkey and the Balkan States.
Nigella Sativa is known commonly in Arabic as Habbat-ul-Baraka (blessed seed) and in English as Love in the Mist.
Nigella Sativa flower
Since 1959, over 200 studies have been carried out at international universities and articles published in various journals have shown remarkable results supporting its traditional uses.
The Nigella Sativa seed itself contains numerous esters of structurally unusual unsaturated fatty acids and the chemical composition is very rich and diverse. Apart from its active ingredient, crystalline nigellone, it contains 15 amino acids (including eight of the nine essential ones), carbohydrates, fatty acids including linolenic and oleic, volatile oils, alkaloids and dietary fibre, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium and potassium.
Recent research on the black seed as an anti-biotic, anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic, anti-bacterial, anti-bronchial and immune boosting agent has shown great promise.
Among the many amazing discoveries researchers have found that the Black seeds are superior to almost every other natural remedy when used for autoimmune disorders, conditions in which patients suffer greatly because their own systems attack their bodies. Black seed, especially when combined with garlic, is regarded as a harmonizer of the imbalance which allows immune cells to destroy healthy cells. The technical language to describe this property is “immunomodulatory action.” The difference between black seed and interferon is that there are no known side effects with black seed when administered in normal dosages. The saying goes that the beauty of black seed is its capacity to restore harmony.
Another profound discovery is that the ingredients (polyunsaturated fatty acids) of the oil lead to increased production of the messenger substance prostaglandin E1, a hormone-like substance, that functions as a general regulator on several body functions such as brain function, nerve function, lowering blood pressure and activation of the immune system.
Black seed contains 0.5-1% ethereal oil which has, in addition to antioxidant properties has antibacterial and antimycotic effects.
In addition, black seed oil can be helpful in the treatment of skin and intestinal fungus, acne, bronchitis, frequent colds, headaches caused by hormone conditions (in women), and for flatulence. Black Seed oil also has anti inflammatory properties that are probably due to the anti-oxidative action of its components thymoquinone and nigellone in ameliorating inflammatory diseases ( upper respiratory conditions, coughs, colds, bronchitis, fevers, flu). It is used by many to lower blood sugar level and to strengthen the immune system. Black Seed also contains carotene which is converted by the liver into vitamin A. Its most important function is in treating allergic illness such as hay fever, neurodermatitis and asthma.
Black Seed Oil has a high concentration of essential fatty acids which cannot be synthesized by our bodies and are necessary for optimal health.
Preparations containing linoleic and linolenic acids have been used extensively for the treatment of lowering blood cholesterol,eczema and skin diseases, multiple Sclerosis, pre-menstrual tension, variety of tumors, arterio-thrombotic diseases and rheumatoid arthritis.
OLEIC ACID – 64%
LINOLEIC ACID – 12%
LINOLENIC ACID – 70%
EICOSADIENOIC – 53%
Volatile Oil Analysis Results
Inhibits infection, relieves pain,stimulates the gall bladder and works as an anti oxidant.
Traditional uses of the Black Seed from around the world
For centuries, the black seed and its oil has been used by people in Asia, Africa, the Middle and Far East to promote health and fight disease. It has been traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions related to respiratory health, stomach and intestinal complaints, kidney and liver function, circulatory and immune system support and to improve health in general.
Please find below some traditional Black Seed remedies that are used around the world:
Asthma & Bronchial Problems (Far East, Middle East & Malay Peninsula)
Mix a teaspoon of Black Seed Oil in coffee. Taken twice daily. Also rub chest with Black Seed Oil every night and inhale the vapour of Black Seed Oil in hot water.
Backache & other kinds of rheumatism (Middle East & Malay Peninsula)
Mildly heat a small amount of Black Seed Oil and then stroke the rheumatic area intensely. A teaspoon of the oil should also be drunk three times daily.
Mix a cup of whole Black Seeds, a cup of watercress or mustard seeds, half a cup of pomegranate peel, and half a cup of fumitory. Grind the mixture to powder. Take half a teaspoon of the mixture together with a teaspoon of Black Seed Oil daily before breakfast for one month.
Diarrhoea (India & Middle East)
Mix a teaspoon of Black Seed Oil with a cup of yoghurt. Drinking the mixture twice a day until symptoms disappear.
Dry Cough (Middle East & North Africa)
A teaspoon of Black Seed Oil should be mixed in coffee and taken twice a day. Rub the chest and back with Black Seed Oil.
Flu & Nasal Congestion (General)
Placing three to four drops of Black Seed Oil in each nostril can relieve nasal congestion and head cold distress.
Hair Greying (General)
Massaging the hair with Black Seed Oil regularly may prevent premature hair greying.
Hair Loss (India & Middle East)
Stroke the scalp thoroughly with lemon and leave for about 15 minutes, shampoo, wash and dry hair thoroughly. Then massage Black Seed Oil into the scalp. Drink a teaspoon of Black Seed Oil mixed in tea/coffee.
Hay Fever (Middle East)
One tablespoon of Black Seed Oil mixed with a glass of lemon should be taken twice daily until symptoms disappear.
Rub the forehead and the sides of the face near the ears with Black Seed Oil and bandage the head. Also a teaspoon of Black Seed Oil should be taken before breakfast.
Healthy Being (General)
To maintain good health take a teaspoon of Black Seed Oil mixed with one teaspoon of pure honey, twice daily.
Healthy Complexion (General)
Mix a tablespoon of Black Seed Oil with a tablespoon of olive oil. Rub the face with this mixture and leave it for at least one hour. Wash with soap and water.
Mix any drink with a teaspoon of Black Seed Oil and also take two lobes of garlic every morning with breakfast. Rub all the body with Black Seed Oil and expose your body to sun rays for half an hour once every three days. Repeat for one month.
Laziness and Fatigue (Turkey)
One tablespoon of Black Seed Oil with a glass of pure orange juice every morning for at least 10 days.
Memory Improvement (Middle East)
A teaspoon of Black Seed Oil mixed in 100mg of boiled mint for at least 15 days.
Muscular pains (General)
Massage the area with Black Seed Oil.
Nervous Tension Stress (India)
A teaspoon of Black Seed Oil with a cup of tea/coffee to be taken three times daily.
Sexual Impotency (Europe & Middle East)
Mix 200g of ground Black Seeds with Olive Oil & l00g of ground olibanum & 50g of Black Seed Oil & 50g of olive oil & 200g of pure honey. Mix thoroughly and take a tablespoon after every meal.
Sleeping Disorder (General)
A tablespoon of Black Seed Oil mixed with honey in any hot drink in the evening.
Toothache & Gums (General)
First cook Black Seeds with vinegar. Add Black Seed Oil. Rinse the mouth with this formulation to help the gums and relieve toothache.
Ulcers (Indonesia & India)
Roast powdered Black Seeds over the fire. Mix them with oil of orrisroot, or the oil of henna plant, or the oil of camphire plant making an ointment that is then spread over the festering rural ulcers. After lavation treat with vinegar.