The kalonji, also known as black seed or nigella seed, is an interesting spice – it adds a beautiful aroma to soups, roasted vegetables, and curries, and a hint of unique flavour that you won’t find from any other spice or seasoning. It’s most popular in India, though it’s becoming more widely available in other countries.Flavour and aroma aside, black seed comes with a whole lot of health benefits. It’s packed full of trace elements, vitamins, crystalline nigellone, amino acids, saponin, crude fibre, proteins and fatty acids, volatile oils, alkaloids, iron, sodium, potassium, and calcium.
It keeps your heart healthy, addresses breathing problems, lubricates your joints, and is known to have anti-carcinogenic properties. That’s quite a lot for a seed of such a small size! In fact, if you keep a bottle of kalonji oil at home, you can use it for plenty of things to boost your health and take care of niggling problems.
Let’s look in more detail at some of the best benefits of kalonji.
1. Fights Acne
Sweet lime juice and kalonji oil together can fix many skin problems. For every cup of sweet lime juice, you’ll need about half a teaspoon of kalonji oil.
The oil is anti-bacterial in nature and when applied on the skin may prevent acne by fighting off skin infections. Apply it twice a day on your face and watch your blemishes and acne disappear.
Just make sure you dilute it with a carrier oil if you choose not to use lime juice, as it may be too potent when used as it is.
2. Softens and Smooths Cracked Skin
Cracked heels can be an intimidating and embarrassing problem, especially for those who have excessively dry skin. But if you keep a stock of black seed or seed oil handy, you can use it to treat cracked heels and naturally get rid of the issue for good.
Just kalonji seed powder or oil onto the affected area to clear the cracks. You can also mix Kalonji oil with lemon juice and massage it onto the sole. This mixture not only clears bacteria but also softens the skin.
3. Keeps a Check on Diabetes
This is probably one of the most known benefits of kalonji. If you already have diabetes, kalonji oil can help to manage it.
Research shows that taking black seed can improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Black seed might also improve levels of cholesterol and prevent high blood pressure for diabetic people.
Add half a teaspoon of black seed oil to a cup of black tea every morning, and you should notice a positive change to your health in a matter of a few weeks.
4. Promotes Hair Growth
Black seed oil is thought to naturally restore hair growth in thinning areas thanks to its high concentration of thymoquinone, a powerful antihistamine. Antihistamines are often prescribed to alopecia patients to help regrow hair, but you can get the same benefits from black seed oil – a completely natural product.
As black seed oil is 100 percent pure and unrefined, you’ll need to dilute it in another carrier oil, like coconut or olive oil, because it’s too potent on its own. When diluted, it can be used directly on the scalp to reduce inflammation, stimulate hair growth, and reduce flakiness and sensitivity.
Just massage 1 part black seed oil with 2 parts olive oil vigorously onto your areas of thinning hair to encourage hair growth. Rinse out afterward with a cleansing conditioner.
5. Increases Memory
Ground kalonji seeds with a little bit of honey are known to boost memory. In fact, research has found that consistent use of black seed significantly improves brain function associated with cognitive function, depression, epilepsy, and memory.
Black seed also prevents inflammation because it’s especially loaded with polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are essential for protecting the nervous system against any neuronal injury or disorders.
6. Alleviates Asthma
The same black seed/honey mix can be added to warm water, and when you drink this formula, it also helps in alleviating breathing trouble, including asthma, in children and adults alike. But you need to do this is for at least 45 days, and avoid cold beverages and food during the period, so it’s a big commitment to sorting out your respiratory problems.
If you don’t want to spend too much time on potentially improving your health, simply cooking with black seed oil might be good enough for you to see a small difference. The anti-inflammatory effects of black seed oil may improve asthma symptoms by reducing inflammation in the airways. Experts think it may also help with bronchitis symptoms.
7. Gets Rid of Headaches
One of the most common problems in today’s time is headaches. Instead of popping a pill, rub kalonji oil on your forehead, relax, and wait for your headache to disappear. One of black seed’s first ever uses after being discovered hundreds of years ago was to cure headaches.
It’s thought that it can inhibit the inflammation of sinuses and respiratory airways, microbial infections and help reduce symptoms of sinusitis such as nasal congestion, headache, neck pain, earache, and toothache. If you’re looking for a natural headache remedy that actually works, you can’t go wrong with black seed oil.
8. Aids Weight Loss
Warm water, honey, and lemon combination is often recommended for people who are on a diet or looking to lose some weight. Now add a pinch of powdered kalonji seeds to this mix and see how it works. Many health enthusiasts have claimed that kalonji seeds are a miracle ingredient that helps in shedding those extra kilos.
Black seed's weight loss benefits come from its blood-sugar-lowering effects. The theory behind keeping your blood sugar balanced is that it can help you lose weight and improve your health.
Substances that help keep your blood sugar levels steady also help you control your appetite because they reduce your carbohydrate cravings. Controlling your cravings can translate to weight loss of two to four pounds per month without you having to even make a conscious effort to change or improve your diet.
9. Eases Joint Pain
Debilitating joint conditions can cause pain, swelling, and reduced mobility to the sufferer. Using black seed oil as a topical rub on sore joints has been shown to significantly soothe pain and improve quality of life, according to emerging research. This is thanks to black seed oil’s antioxidant properties, which help to relieve inflammation inside the body and on the skin.
It’s an old-school treatment: take a handful of kalonji seeds, and heat them with mustard oil. Once the oil is smoking, take it off the flame and cool it down for a bit. The oil is ready when you can dip the tip of a finger into the oil without feeling uncomfortable. Now use this oil to massage the inflamed joint.
10. Controls Blood Pressure
If you suffer from high blood pressure, try drinking half a teaspoon of kalonji oil with warm water to keep hypertension under control. Studies have found that black seed extract for two months can reduce high blood pressure in people whose blood pressure is mildly elevated.
Take the seed twice daily for a minimum of 8 weeks to see a noticeable improvement in your blood pressure. You should, of course, follow a healthy, hypertension-preventing diet alongside it, and make sure to get your daily exercise.
11. Protects the Kidneys
Kidney stones are another common problem nowadays. It’s said that half a teaspoon of kalonji oil had with two teaspoons of honey and warm water can aid in getting rid of kidney pain, stones, and infections.
Black seed was recently examined in a study with 60 patients, which showed that it can help treat or at least reduce the size of painful kidney stones. It may also improve the function of the kidneys and prevent complications that lead to kidney disease. Just make sure to see a doctor if you think you’re dealing with kidney stones or kidney disease.
12. Makes Teeth Stronger
Another traditional use of black seed was for taking care of dental trouble such as swelling or bleeding of gums, and weak teeth. Black seed is a natural bactericide, antioxidant and all-around healer, three properties that make it incredibly effective at maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Of course, if your dental hygiene is in a bad way, you should first and foremost see a dentist, but you can also massage your teeth with kalonji oil twice a day to strengthen your gums. Some people also choose to practice oil pulling with black seed oil, which helps with oral care of the whole mouth.
13. Strengthens Immunity
Kalonji oil, honey, and warm water have multiple benefits when combined. It can also help to strengthen your immunity if you make a habit of consuming it daily. Black seed was actually used hundreds of years ago in medical environments for stimulating the body's energy and speeding up recovery from fatigue after an illness.
Many health officials claim that black seed oil boosts the immune system by increasing immune reactions and the production of antibodies. Studies show that black seed can also reduce allergy symptoms and be used as an effective treatment for allergic reactions.
Buying and Storing Black Seed: What To Know
When you’re buying nigella seeds, remember to check the pack carefully. The seeds should be jet black and shouldn’t look stale. The newer and fresher the seeds look, the more beneficial they’ll be to your health.
Always store black seed in a dry place and make sure it doesn’t come in contact with moisture. If you have black seed oil, it’s best preserved in the fridge or a cool, dark place. If at any moment the oil starts to smell “old”, it has probably become rancid, and it’s best to throw it away immediately rather than risk using it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s not worth buying large quantities of kalonji. 100 grams can take you a long way, so buy in smaller portions. This will prevent the seed from losing its aroma and benefits by sitting in your cupboards for too long.
Black seed has a wealth of benefits, and yet most of us have probably never knowingly consumed it in our lives. If you’re looking to get more inventive with your cooking while also improving your health, black seed powder or oil will help you to introduce new flavours to your dishes. You can find the oil in vitamin, herb, and beauty stores.For simply treating an ailment or maintaining your general health, pure, natural black seed is best. You can find black seed supplements in capsule or gel form from many health stores, but like with most supplements, it’s always more effective to consume the real thing in your diet.
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