What are the Uses of Black Cumin Seeds?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
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  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2018
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Black cumin seeds have been used for centuries in the Middle East, Mediterranean, and India to treat a variety of ailments, and have been adopted for homeopathic use in Europe and other nations as well. Both the seeds and potent extracts can be found for sale in natural food stores, and medical professinals who practice complementary alternative medicine may prescribe them for a wide variety of conditions. Their unique nutritional composition, which includes numerous essential fatty acids, appears to support the immune system, improve the skin, help with respiratory ailments, and address digestive conditions.

Nigella sativa is the scientific name for the plant on which black cumin seeds grow, and it is a member of the buttercup family. They are not related to the common cooking herb, cumin, from the Cuminum cyminum plant, although the two look similar. The seeds are very dark, thin, and crescent shaped when whole. They are available for cooking use in many Middle Eastern and Indian supply stores, but seeds designated for cooking may not be as potent or as pure as those intended for medicinal use. In some regional cuisines, they are used to add a unique nutty flavor to food and appear to have health benefits.


When ingested, black cumin seeds and extracts can be used for a number of conditions. They have been used for centuries to address digestive problems including stomach pain and flatulence. The seeds also have a long history in the natural treatment of asthma and other respiratory conditions. Compounds from the seeds appear to have antimicrobial properties, and are sometimes used to treat urinary tract infections. Oil from the seeds can be used topically to treat dry skin, eczema, and other skin issues. In addition, the seeds are sometimes used in beauty regimens to strengthen hair and nails, as well as making them more glossy.

In 1996, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a medicine incorporating an extract of black cumin seeds for immune system support. Several studies had shown that this extract could assist individuals with autoimmune disorders, and could possibly help to fight cancer as well. Naturopaths sometimes recommend regular doses of these seeds to patients with weakened immune systems, as the whole seeds have been shown to boost the immune system. Pharmacological studies on compounds from the seeds show that they boost the production of bone marrow, natural interferon, and immune cells, helping to fight off diseases.


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Post 5

@turkay1-- I think black cumin is used in some Hindu rituals, although I'm not sure what exactly. I do know that black cumin is called kala jeera in Hindi. It might be offered along with some other things on the prayer tray (pooja tali) during prayers (puja).

I have also heard that black cumin seeds will protect people from the evil eye, sort of like the evil eye beads. You can carry some on you in a little pouch and it will ward from bad energies.

Post 4

Do black cumin seeds have any importance in religious or spiritual rituals?

Post 3
My grandfather, who is a very traditional Greek, makes hot tea with black cumin seeds and drinks it when he has upset stomach. He says it works really well and he even tried to get me to drink it a couple of times but I refuse. I tried once and it tastes horrible. I do believe him that it settles the stomach though. Why else would he drink something that tastes bad?

The only way I can get myself to have black cumin seeds is when it's used to decorate pastries. It's even better if it's combined with sesame, hides the flavor of the cumin seeds that way.

Post 2

Great product, black cumin!

Post 1

I recently came across black cumin colon cleanse at What properties of black cumin makes it ideal for detoxification.

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