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Amber's Organics LLC Medical Herb Seed A-Z > Black Seed (Nigella sativa) Egypt
Black Seed (Nigella sativa)  Egypt

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If you sow nigella black seed in almost any sunny location, with almost any type of soil, you will soon see the fruits of your labor. However, for the best results your planting bed should be prepared as per the instructions in this article to ensure that you have the best possible crop of this beautiful flowering plant and can harvest the greatest amount of nigella black seed, which is used extensively in food preparation, especially in preparing Indian dishes. Plant seeds in the spring and expect to harvest your new seeds in the fall.

Nigella sativa is one the most revered medicinal seeds in history. The best seeds come from Egypt where they grow under almost perfect conditions in oases where they are watered until the seed pods form. Black cumin seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. Though black cumin seeds are mentioned in the Bible as well as in the words of the Prophet Mohammed, they were not carefully researched until about forty years ago. Since this time, more than 200 studies have been conducted in universities.

The famous Greek physician Dioscorides used black cumin seeds to treat headaches and toothaches. Mohammed said that black cumin cures every disease but death itself. The reason might be found in the complex chemical structure of the seeds. These little seeds have over one hundred different chemical constituents, including abundant sources of all the essential fatty acids. Though it is the oil that is most often used medicinally, the seeds are a bit spicy and are often used whole in cooking—curries, pastries, and Mediterranean cheeses.

Nigella sativa seeds have very little aroma but are carminative, meaning they tend to aid digestion and relieve gases in the stomach and intestines. They aid peristalsis and elimination. The essential oil of black cumin is antimicrobial and helps to rid the intestines of worms.

Black cumin is regarded by many as a panacea and may therefore not be taken seriously by some, but for those inclined to dismiss folklore, it should be noted that these humble seeds have been found 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 cumin, 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 cumin and interferon is that there are no known side effects with black cumin when administered in normal dosages. The saying goes that the beauty of black cumin is their capacity to restore harmony.

The most dramatic results are achieved with asthma and allergies. These respond relatively quickly unless there is infection, in which case, the infection needs to be eliminated before the symptoms of immune weakness subside. Continued use for six months or longer tends to give outstanding results. For extreme fatigue, consider mixing some crushed seeds with some royal jelly.


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, Hypocrates, the grandfather of today’s scientific medicine regarded Nigella Sativa as a valuable remedy in hepatic and digestive disorders.

Ibn Sina, the author of the Canon of Medicine, one of the most famous books in the history of medicine recommended Blackseed as it stimulates the metabolism and to recover from dispiritedness and lethargy.  

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. the many uses of black seed has earned for this ancient herb the Arabic approbation habbatul barakah, meaning the seed of blessing.

Black Cumin is a small plant, of the order Ranunculaceae which grows in the wild, originating in the Middle East like so many other spice plants and culinary herbs. Nigella Sativa is cultivated in France and Germany and it is found abundantly growing wild in Egypt, Asiatic Turkey and the Balkan States.

The taste of the seeds are of hot, peppery or spicy flavor.

The parts used are the seeds. Nigella sativa belongs to the order Ranunculaceae and is an annual herb, 8 to 12 inches high, with leaves cut into numerous, narrow, pinnate segments. The flowers are solitary, terminal, without an involucre; the petals blue and white, with greenish glands. The capsule is formed of 3 to 6 carpels, opening by the ventral suture. The plant grows on the Mediterranean coasts, in Egypt, but has been cultivated into other parts of the world including Saudi Arabia, northern Africa and parts of Asia, whence it has spread to India The seeds are tiny and hairy ( 1-2 mm long), black, 3 sided and look a bit like pieces of flint under a microscope 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 petiole, 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 reproduces with itself and forms a fruit capsule which consists of many white trigonal 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).

The constituents of the black seed give it the importance of being an immune system booster. The seeds contain the components Nigellone and Thymoquinone.  Black seed contains numerous esters of unsaturated fatty acids with terpene alcohols. Furthermore, traces of alkaloids (nigelline-N-oxide, nigellone, nigellimine) are reported. In the essential oil thymoquinone was identified as the main component besides p-cymene, α-pinene, dithymoquinone and thymohydroquinone



Culinary uses.

The seeds are used both as a condiment in bread and cakes and various confections and like pepper or combined with pepper such as cayenne in sauces. In Algeria, the roasted seeds are combined with butter for cough and honey and taken for colic.

Still another use is to sprinkle them with woolen garments as a moth repellant.