Kalonji or Nigella Sativa L. or Black Seed or Black Cumin has been recognized and used for centuries in culinary and medicinal uses.
Apart from adding impulsive flavors to our dish, Kalonji exhibits notable health benefits in our body.
Nigella Plant and its Constituents
N Sativa is an annual herb of 8–12 inch height. The fruits of N Sativa plant contain triagonal seeds which are known to display aromatic flavor and various therapeutic benefits.
Studies shows presence of more than 100 chemical compounds in the seeds of N Sativa, in which the most important bioactive compounds are thymoquinone, nigellone, phytosterols, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
N Sativa also contain significant levels of minerals like iron, copper, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamins like thiamin, niacin, pyridoxine, and folic acid
Kalonji has been used traditionally alone or in synergistic combination with other herbs for a wide range of ailments like respiratory tract disorders, cough, chronic headache, diabetes, paralysis, viral and bacterial infections, inflammation, hypertension, and digestive tract related problems.
Kalonji oil has been used for the treatment of many skin disorders and has been added in various formulations to treat conditions like vitiligo, acne vulgaris, burn, wounds, and different kinds of skin inflammation.
The anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anti-microbial activities of kalonji has been well studied in many researches.
Further studies can help in effective use of Kalonji in chronic and lifestyle disease management, either alone or in combination with other herbs to find a safe and effective approach to treat chronic diseases.
Culinary ideas with Kalonji seeds
The aromatic flavor and taste of kalonji seeds can ramp up appeal of your dishes and also these seeds are so versatile to be used as such or as powder or in oil form.
The idea of sprinkling kalonji seeds over your breads and biscuits before baking can provide a dotty black look and long lasting flavor in each crunch.
In many traditional dishes Kalonji seeds are added with other spice mixtures. “Dukkah”, an Egyptian spice mix and “Panch Phoron”, a Bengali spice mix”.
Toasted kalonji seeds go well with majority of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean salads
Stir fry vegetables can also get complimented with kalonji seeds in it
Kalonji seeds with honey can provide a great combination of two well known natural medicinal agents for treating gastric issues.
Skin and Cosmetic Preperations
Besides showing its remarkable presence in medicinal skin formulations, the charisma of kalonji oil is seen in many cosmetic preparations also. Kalonji oil has been added in many soaps, creams, hair masks and hair oils and shampoos.
In a study, a sunscreen formulation containing Nigella Sativa extract showed 1.05 SPF value and 2.0 boot star rating.
Besides it, N Sativa seed powder along with some other natural ingredients has been found in managing hair loss problems.
Kalonji seeds are having plenty of benefits but its overuse should be prevented as till date there are not much data available to decide its safe dose per day. The safety dose should be particularly considered in case of using in pregnant ladies and small children’s.
Also there can be chances of other unwanted substances getting added along with kalonji seeds or oils in absence of effective extraction and cleaning procedures.
A chance of allergic reaction towards kalonji seeds shall be kept in mind before its use by some sensitive patients.
Kalonji seeds and its derivatives should not be considered as a substitute for chronic disease medications. The addition of kalonji seeds and its derivatives in ongoing medical treatment should be done in consultation with your medical practitioner.
Kalonji seeds are historically known natural blessing given to human beings for various medicinal, cosmetic and culinary uses.
It is quite economical and easily available in various parts of world. The therapeutic benefits of kalonji seeds have been founded centuries ago, but currently many researches on kalonji seeds and its derivatives have given a good scientific base for its effective use.
Though it is considered quite safe, but still the daily dose of these seeds and its derivatives should be considered in safe limits to make it more safe and useful.
- Raluca MP. et al. (2020).Iran J Basic Med Sci. Nigella sativa: Valuable perspective in the management of chronic diseases.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7351440/.
- Ebrahim MY et al. (2019). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. Nigella sativa L. (Black Cumin): A Promising Natural Remedy for Wide Range of Illnesses. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6535880/.
- AM Eid et al. (2017). J Trop Med. A Review on the Cosmeceutical and External Applications of Nigella sativa. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5735686/.
- Dabaghian FH et al. (2016). Iran Red Crescent Med J. 18(11). Combination of Nigella sativa and Honey in Eradication of Gastric Helicobacter pylori Infection. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5292131/.
- P Ghoge et al. (2010). International Journal of PharmTech Research. Vol.2, No.4. Formulation and in-vitro determination of Sun Protection Factor of Nigella sativa Linn. Seed Oil Sunscreen Cream. http://sphinxsai.com/Oct_dec_2010_vol2_no.4/PharmTech_vol2_no.4_1_pdf/PT=11%20(2194-2197).pdf.
- Sudhir et al. (2016). IJPSR;Vol. 7(8). 3185-3196. Nigella Sativa Seed, A Novel Beauty care Ingredient: A Review. https://ijpsr.com/bft-article/nigella-sativa-seed-a-novel-beauty-care-ingredient-a-review/.