"With it (water) He produces for you corn, olives, date palms, and grapes and every kind of fruit: Verily in this is a sign for those who give thought "(Quran, S: 16 A: 11).
Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah's Apostle saying "There is healing in Black Cumin for all diseases except death ."
Muslims have been using and promoting the use of the "Black Seed" or "Al-habbat ul Sawda" for hundreds of years, and hundreds of articles have been written about it. Black seed has also been in use worldwide for over 3000 years. However, many Muslims do not realize that black seed is not only a prophetic herb, but it also holds a unique place in the medicine of the Prophet. Black seed is mentioned along with many other natural cures in the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Mohammad [SAWS]) and in the Qur'an.
However, many herbs and natural cures in the Hadith and Qur'an are simply "mentioned" briefly, leaving the bulk of the descriptive narrative up to later Islamic scholars such as Ibn Sina or Ibn Rushd.
Black seed is one of the few that is said to "cure all diseases except death." It is unique in that it was not used profusely before the Prophet Mohammad [SAWS] made its use popular, and it is one of the few herbs that are described in great detail in the Hadith with recipes and instructions on usage actually being found in the Hadith themselves. Last, but not least, black seed has been studied by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Although there were more than 400 herbs in use before the Prophet Mohammad [SAWS] and recorded in the herbals of Galen and Hippocrates, black seed was not one of the most popular remedies of the time. Because of the way Islam has spread, the usage and popularity of black seed is widely known as a "remedy of the Prophet". In fact, a large part of this herbal preparation's popularity is based on the teachings of the Prophet. The Prophet not only mentioned the usefulness of black seed in his teachings, but also gave specific instructions on how to prepare the seed for medical use.
"The Prophet's Medicine" is a collection of Hadith that instruct Muslims on the subject of sickness or medical treatment. Because black seed is mentioned so prominently in these writings, all eminent and famous hakims of the past and present have written on the medicinal benefits and healing properties of "kulunji." In fact, since it was made popular in the Seventh Century, there has not been a period in Muslim history when the use of it was ever stopped. At all times the seed was utilized with the belief and faith that benefits will be derived from practicing the Holy Prophet's Sunnah (Hana, 2001).
The black seed (nigella sativa) is an example of a prophetic remedy that has been studied extensively. Nigella sativa has been used since antiquity by Asian herbalists and pharmacists, and was used by the Romans for culinary purposes. The name nigella comes from the Latin word nigellus, meaning black. Nigella sativa are small matte black grains with a rough surface and an oily white interior, similar to onion seeds. The seeds have little bouquet, though when rubbed, their aroma resembles oregano. They have a slightly bitter, peppery flavor and a crunchy texture. The seeds may be used whole or ground and are usually fried or roasted before use (they are easily crushed in a mortar).
However, although the seeds have been used for thousands of years in the kitchen, they have also been useful in the pharmacy. Ahmad Akhtar studied the effects of the black seed on nematoce worm infections in children (Akhtar, 1999). The black seeds contain over 100 valuable components. Black seed is also a significant source of fatty acids, proteins ,carbohydrates and other vitamins and minerals.
The seeds are rich in sterols, especially beta-sitosterol, which is known to have anti carcinogenic activity (Tierra). The seeds are also known to repel certain insects and can be used in the same way as mothballs.
Black seed is also used in India as a spice and condiment and occasionally in Europe as both a pepper substitute and a spice. It is widely used in Indian cuisine, particularly in mildly braised lamb dishes such as korma. It is also added to vegetables and dhal dishes as well as to chutneys. The seeds are sprinkled on naan (bread) before baking and to some Garam Masala and Panch Phoran mixtures.
The Indians also use black seed medicinally as a carminative and stimulant, and to treat indigestion and bowel complaints. It is also used to induce post uterine contractions and promote lactation.
However, despite the cure-all benefits of black seed it must still be used with wisdom and caution. "The seed yields a volatile oil containing melanthin, nigilline, damascene and tannin. Melanthin is toxic in large dosages and nigilline is paralytic, so the spice must be used in moderation (the epicentre).
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 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).
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.
Chemical Analysis of Black Seed brand Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) Oil
Black Seed Oil contains several ingredients (in significant amounts) with potential value. The following chart reflects the composition of Black Seed Oil in terms of its active, nutrient components, and any other significant ingredients.
Essential Oil Composition (1.4%) Black Seed Oil
Carvone   ;   ;   ;   ;   ;   ;21.1%
Fatty Acids Black Seed Oil.
Myristic Acid (C14:0)   ;   ;   ; 0.5%
Palmitic Acid (C16:0)   ;   ;   ; 13.7%
Palmitoleic Acid (C16:1)   ;   ;   ; 0.1%
Steartic Acid (C18:0)   ;   ;   ; 2.6%
Oleic Acid (C18:1)   ;   ;   ;   ; 23.7%
Linoleic Acid (C18:2)(Omega-6) &n bsp; 57 .9%
Linolenic Acid (18:30) (Omega-3) &nb sp; 0.2%
Arachidic Acid (C20:0) 1.3%
Saturated & Unsaturated Fatty Acids Black Seed Oil
Saturated Acid &n bsp; &n bsp; &n bsp; &n bsp; 18.1%
Monounsaturated Acids 23.8%
Polyunsaturated Acids 58.1%
Nutritional Value Black Seed Oil
Protein 208 ug/g
Riboflavin 1 ug/g
Niacin 57 ug/g
Folacin 610 IU/g
Calcium 1 .859 mg/g
Iron 1 05 ug/g
Copper 1 8 ug/g
Zinc &n bsp; &n bsp; &n bsp; &n bsp; &n bsp; &n bsp; &n bsp; 60 ug/g
Phosphorus 5.265 mg/g
Nutritional Composition Black Cumin Seed
protein   ;   ;   ;   ;   ;   ;   ; 21%
carbohydrates  ; 35%
fats &n bsp; 35-38%
Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) Seed is rich in nutritional values.
Monosaccharides (single molecule sugars) in the form of glucose, rhamnose, xylose, and arabinose are found in the black seed.
The Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) Seed contains a non-starch polysaccharide component which is a useful source of dietary fiber.
It is rich in fatty acids, particularly the unsaturated and essential fatty acids (Linoleic and Linolenic acid). The EFAs, consisting of alpha-Linolenic acid (omega-3) and Linoleic acid (omega-6), are substances that cannot be manufactured in the body, and thus must be taken in as supplements or through high-EFA foods.
Fifteen amino acids make up the protein content of the Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) Seed, including eight of the nine essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be synthesized within our body in sufficient quantities and are thus required from our diet.
Black seed contains Arginine which is essential for infant growth. Chemical analysis has further revealed that the Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) Seed contains carotene, which is converted by the liver into vitamin A.
The Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) Seed is also a source of calcium, iron, sodium, and potassium. Required only in small amounts by the body, these elements' main function is to act as essential cofactors in various enzyme function