Nigella seeds or black cumin (Nigella sativa) are an anciently known, old spice, they were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb, and the Old Testament Bible mentioned them too! Nigella seeds come from the Ranunculaceae plant family and is native to South and Southwest Asia. These black seeds have a peppery, sharp flavour that will remind you of onion, making it an intriguing ingredient to use in recipes. So, without further ado, let’s get into these Top 5 Health Benefits of Nigella Seeds!
1. Antioxidant Properties
Nigella seed oil possesses antioxidant properties – experiments carried out on mice showed that those infected with the malaria parasite had their red cell antioxidant enzyme activity restored. Other compounds found in these seeds are 4-terpineol, carvacrol, t-anethole and thymoquinone which are potent antioxidants.
2. Useful for Diabetics
Early stage research indicates that taking (2g) nigella seeds daily could improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. It was also found that nigella oil has a greater effect than seed powder, but that only the seed powder increases the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
3. Helps Ease Asthma
Studies have shown that taking nigella seeds by mouth, together with the usual asthma medicines prescribed by your doctor, seems to improve lung function, coughing and wheezing in patients suffering from asthma. According to the research it works best, before conventional treatment, in people with very low lung function.
4. Helps Decrease Mastalgia (Breast Pain)
Applying a gel containing nigella seed oil, onto the breast during a woman’s menstrual cycle, has been found to reduce the breast pain associated with it.
5. Contributes to Reduction in Blood Pressure
Taking nigella seeds orally, according to research, appears to indicate a reduction in high blood pressure.
Nigella seeds are usually toasted and then grounded and can easily be added to curry dishes, bread, smoothies, yogurt etc. The oil can be diluted and some people use it to increase hair growth, and treat some skin conditions (remember to always do a skin patch test to make sure you are not allergic to it). Which unusual spices do you like to cook ‘n’ consume? Let us know below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. (Secret spice addict? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered check out our other spice articles to kick start YOUR own Fit!)