Click to enlargeThe Seed of Blessing

What is black seed?

An annual herbaceous plant, black cumin seed (botanical name is nigella sativa l.), or black seed for short, is believed to be indigenous to the Mediterranean region but has been cultivated into other parts of the world including the Arabian peninsula, northern Africa and parts of Asia.

The plant has no relation to the common kitchen herb, cumin. Tiny and hairy, being no more than 3mm in length, black seed originates from the common fennel flower plant (nigella sativa) of the buttercup (Ranunculaceae) family. Nigella sativa is sometimes mistakenly confused with the fennel herb plant (Foeniculum vulgare). The plant has finely divided foliage and pale bluish purple or white flowers. The flowers grow terminally on its branches while the leaves grow opposite each other in pairs, on either side of the stem. Its lower leaves are small and petioled, and the upper leaves are long (6-10cm). the stalk of the plant reaches a height of twelve to eighteen inches as its fruit, the black seed, matures. Nigella sativa is bisexual and forms a fruit capsule which consists of many white triagonal seeds. Once the fruit capsule has matured, it opens up and the seeds contained within are exposed to the air, becoming black in color (black seeds). Nigella sativa and its black seed are known by other names, varying between places. some call it black caraway, habbat al barakah , and habbat sawda , others call it black cumin (kalounji), onion seeds or even coriander seeds. in English, the nigella sativa plant is commonly referred to as black cumin . Nevertheless, this is nigella sativa, which has been known and used from ancient times and is also known in Persian as Shonaiz.

History of Black Seed.

Black cumin (nigella sativa) was discovered in Tutankhamen's tomb, implying that it played an important role in ancient Egyptian practices. Although its exact role in Egyptian culture is not known, we do know that items entombed with a king were carefully selected to assist him in the afterlife. The earliest written reference to black seed is found in the book of Isaiah in the old testament. Isaiah contrasts the reaping of black cumin with wheat: for the black cumin is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over the cumin, but the black cumin is beaten out with a stick, and the cumin with a rod. (Isaiah 28:25,27 nkjv). 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 dioscoredes, a Greek physician of the 1st century, recorded that black seeds were taken to treat headaches, nasal congestion, toothache, and intestinal worms. they were also used, he reported, as a diuretic to promote menstruation and increase milk production. the Muslim scholar al-biruni (973-1048), who composed a treatise on the early origins of Indian and Chinese drugs, mentions that the black seed is a kind of grain called alwanak in the sigzi dialect. later, this was confirmed by suhar bakht who explained it to be habb-i-sajzi (viz. sigzi grains). this reference to black seed as grains points to the seed's possible nutritional use during the tenth and eleventh centuries. in the Greco Arab/Unani Tibb system of medicine, which originated from Hippocrates, his contemporary galen and Ibn Sina, black seed has been regarded as a valuable remedy in hepatic and digestive disorders and has been described as a stimulant in a variety of conditions, ascribed to an imbalance of cold humors. Ibn Sina (980-1037), most famous for his volumes called the canon of medicine, regarded by many as the most famous book in the history of medicine, east or west, refers to black seed as the seed that stimulates the body's energy and helps recovery from fatigue or dispiritedness. black seed is also included in the list of natural drugs of al-Tibb al-n abawi, and, according to tradition, "hold onto the use of the black seed for in it is healing for all illnesses except death" (Sahih Bukhari vol 7 bk 71 #592). This prophetic reference in describing black seed as having a healing for all illnesses is not exaggerated as it at first appears. Recent research has provided evidence that most illnesses arise because of an imbalanced or dysfunctional immune system which cannot perform its primary function of defending the body optimally. research also indicates that black seed contains an ability to significantly boost the human immune system - if taken over time. The prophetic phrase, "hold onto the use of the seed", also emphasizes consistent usage of the seed. Black seed has been traditionally used in the middle and far east countries for centuries to treat ailments including bronchial asthma and bronchitis, rheumatism and related inflammatory diseases, to increase milk production in nursing mothers, to treat digestive disturbances, to support the body's immune system, to promote digestion and elimination, and to fight parasitic infestation. its oil has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and boils and is used topically to treat cold symptoms. the many uses of black seed has earned for this ancient herb the Arabic approbation habbatul barakah, meaning the seed of blessing.

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Chemical Analysis of Black Seed Oil

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