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What are Black seeds?
Black seeds come from a plant called the Nigella Sativa, a plant that belongs in the Ranunculaceae family. Black seeds are often confused with other products as they go by many names including nigella, fennel flower, black cumin, black caraway, kalajira and Greek coriander seed, among many others
There are over 20 names for this seed!
Native to south and southwest Asia, the black seed has been historically used in medicinal treatments around the world for over 2000 years.
The uses of this seed are endless; In Northern Africa, southern Europe and southwest Asia, it was used to treat conditions such as headache, toothache, asthma, diarrhea and more.
It is also traditionally used as a spice in various Persian dishes. Black seeds can be consumed raw, as an oil, or even as a capsule.
Potential benefits of fennel seeds
Black seeds have been found to have many medicinal uses. It can be effective in protecting the body against cell damage and chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disorders, cancer, diabetes, mental illnesses, hypertension, as well as bacterial and viral infections. They are also very effective anti-inflammatory agents, and help to reduce inflammation and relax muscles.
A little in-depth information
Heart Health: Black seeds may lower blood pressure in healthy people, and have been found to lower cholesterol, both of which contribute to heart health.
Diabetes: Associated with being able to lower blood sugar. People with type 2 diabetes that took black seed supplements found they lower blood sugar levels, which reduced their risk for issues in the future.
Are there any risks?
Black seeds have typically been safe when consumed in small amounts. As with anything, moderation is key, so too much may have negative effects on digestion. Black seeds can affect metabolism, which can sometimes interfere with prescription medications, so be sure to check with your doctor before consuming it alongside medications.
Black seed has been found to contain large amounts of protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins. It is a good source of calcium, iron, zinc, copper, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, and folic acid. As well as amino acids including glutamate, arginine, and aspartate while cysteine and methionine.
The medicinal properties of black seeds come from an active compound called thymoquinone, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance.
How to eat black seeds?
Here are some tasty ways to incorporate black seeds into your diet:
Mix it into your smoothie!
Use black seed oil to make a tasty salad dressing
Toasted black seed makes a great addition to bread or curry dishes
Sayed Ahmad, B., Straumīte, E., Šabovics, M., Krūma, Z., Merah, O., Saad, Z., ... & Talou, T. (2017). Effect of addition of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare L.) on the quality of protein bread. In Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Section B. Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences. (Vol. 71, No. 6, pp. 509-514). De Gruyter.
BLACK SEED: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-901/black-seed
Adeneye, A. A. (2014). Subchronic and Chronic Toxicities of African Medicinal Plants. Toxicological Survey of African Medicinal Plants, 99-133. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-800018-2.00006-6
Yimer, E. M., Tuem, K. B., Karim, A., Ur-Rehman, N., & Anwar, F. (2019). Nigella sativa L. (Black Cumin): A Promising Natural Remedy for Wide Range of Illnesses. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 1-16. doi:10.1155/2019/1528635
Brennan, D. (2020, November 03). Black Seed: Are There Health Benefits? Pros and Cons, Nutrition, and More. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diet/black-seed-health-benefits#1
Shabana, A., El-Menyar, A., Asim, M., Al-Azzeh, H., & Thani, H. A. (2012). Cardiovascular Benefits of Black Cumin (Nigella sativa). Cardiovascular Toxicology,13(1), 9-21. doi:10.1007/s12012-012-9181-z