Black Seed Across Times and Cultures
© 2015 by Hakim M. Salim Khan M.D. (M.A.) M.H. D.O. 


The flower of the Nigella sativa plant produces an aromatic seed reminiscent of camphor and nutmeg. The taste is sharp, spicy and somewhat bitter. This ‘black seed’ is also known as ‘black cumin seed’, or ‘kalonji’.

Black Seed Mentioned in Religious Writings

In the Torah: “Is it not so? When he smooths its surface, he scatters the black cumin and casts the cumin, and he places the prominent wheat, and the barley for a sign, and the spelt on its border.” – (Yeshayahu – Isaiah – Chapter 28-25)

In the Bible: “Certainly black cumin is not threshed with a threshing board, and a cart wheel is not rolled over the cumin. But black cumin is beaten out with a stick, and cumin with a rod.” – (Isaiah 28:27)

In the Hadith (Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) : The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said (On the authority of Abu Huraira) “Use this black seed regularly, because it has a cure for every disease except death.” – (Reported by Bukhari [5687])

Black Seed in Human Cultures

The protective and healing properties of black seed is so remarkably comprehensive and varied that for thousands of years people have regarded it as a miracle cure. There are some plants and herbs which are so beneficial that they transcend time, space and culture.

Nigella sativa is one of those blessed plants. The oldest cultures that cultivated the herb were the Assyrians and Egyptians. Not only was black seed the ‘secret of the pharaohs’, but it was a favourite of Queen Nefriti and Cleopatra. Nigella sativa continues to be used in the orient and near east since antiquity.

Traditional Uses

The health benefits of black seed are so extensive that it has been given valued names such as ‘The Great Healing’ and ‘The Magical Herb’.

Energetically, Nigella sativa is hot and dry. The seeds support the metabolism and digestion and help to lower blood sugar. It activates the metabolism and thus has a toning and stimulating effect. Nigella sativa has the ability to uplift the mood, hence it has been described as “a glance of light”.

Modern uses show black seed as a nutritional supplement. It also has the ability to strengthen and stabilise the body’s immune system.

Furthermore, black seed oil (kalonji oil) contains an abundance of amino acids, phosphorus, iron, carotene, albumin and is a rich source of anti-oxidants.

It helps to assist the body in its own natural healing processes. Black seed is very effective in helping to strengthen the immune system, and works to promote optimum health and wellbeing. Since targets the vital workings of the immune system, it is very useful in a wide range of ailments as both a preventative and treatment mechanism.

How to Use Black Seed

Black Seeds
– Take 1-2 teaspoonfuls in the morning with warm water.
– Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoonfuls on breakfast porridge, cereal, yogurt or smoothie.
– Crush slightly and mix with honey. Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful alone or with warm water.

Black Seed (Kalonji) Oil
Take half a teaspoon of the oil in a glass of warm milk, or warm water. Take twice a day, or as directed by your health practitioner.

This can be useful in joint pains, arthritis, stomach problems, kidney pain and infection, headache, hair loss, piles, skin disease, psoriasis, dental diseases, anaemia, cough, constipation and lack of sleep.

Disclaimer: This information is provided for education and information purposes only. Please consult your healthcare professional for personal advice.