Black seed (Nigella sativa) is an annual flowering plant that belongs to the Ranunculaceae family. It is a miraculous plant that possesses several health benefits.
From various studies, it is stated that the nutrients of black seed or kalonji are 38.20% fat, 20-85% protein, 31.94% total carbohydrates and 7-94% fibre.
The main amino acids present in it are arginine, glutamate and aspartate.
Healing powers of kalonji as “Stick to the use of this black seed, for it has a cure for all diseases except death.
Thymoquinone is the main active ingredient of this miracle plan which is responsible for the treatments of various diseases.
This article focuses on some of the remarkable health benefits of miracle plant Nigella sativa or Kalonji.
Black seed and its active ingredient like thymoquinone proved to reduce oxidative stress by blocking the calcium channel as well as improving urinary excretion activity.
Moreover, this mechanism may be related to the properties of black seed that reduce blood pressure
Cholesterol Lowering Effects
Black seeds or Kalonji are able to prevent the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream in the small intestine.
Moreover, it can also improve LDL receptors in the liver which are helpful in removing LDL cholesterol from the blood.
Studies have shown that consuming about 500 mg to 2 grams of black seed over 2 months leads to a 7% decrease in LDL cholesterol levels, Furthermore 5% increase in HDL cholesterol levels, and an 8-16% decrease in triglyceride levels.
Black seed is useful for maintaining normal blood sugar levels, and thus to prevents the harmful effects associated with high blood sugar, such as vision loss, delayed wound healing, nerve damage, etc.
Generally, consuming Nigella sativa in a dose of 2 g/day leads to significant drops in blood glucose after fasting, glycosylated hemoglobin and 2-hour post-prandial blood glucose.
Black seed is able to exhibit antiproliferative, anti-mutagenic and anti-metastatic effects on several primary cancers.
When about 80 mg/kg of Nigella sativa is consumed daily for one week, the hepatotoxicity of methotrexane is reduced and the survival rate increases in children suffering from leukemia.
Moreover, in the case of pancreatic cancer cells, thymoquinone treatment results in decreased regulation of MUC4 expression and induced apoptosis.
Thymoquinone also has a long-lasting anti-proliferative effect on breast cancer cells
The main active compound of black seed, thymoquinone involves protecting the brain from numerous injuries.
Moreover, It has anti-inflammatory, apoptotic, and antioxidant effects on the cell line and experimental animal models.
Flavonoids extracted from Nigella sativa have been implicated in modulating critical neural signalling pathways involved in memory flow as well as expected to affect synaptic plasticity and long-standing potentiating mechanisms.
Due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the black seed, it is useful in protecting the liver from various injuries.
Due to the free radical scavenging properties of Nigella sativa, it increased antioxidant protection in the body and protects the liver from injuries caused by reactive oxygen species.
Experiments have shown that black seed and its vitally active compound thymoquinone have the ability to modulate adaptive immune responses both cellular and humoral.
When 2.5% Kalonji is being administered with oxytetracycline, it leads to a complete blockage of the effect on the reduction of leukocytes and lymphocytes caused by oxytetracycline.
In pigeons it produced immunostimulant effects, this also demonstrates an immune-protective effect.
Studies have shown that Nigella sativa possesses exceptional anti-inflammatory properties.
One study found that when 42 people consumed 1000mg of Nigella sativa oil daily for 8 weeks. The result is a reduction in markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.
Another test tube study shown that the active ingredient in black seed, thymoquinone, is useful for reducing inflammation in pancreatic cancer cells.
Black seed has antibacterial properties and can fight some bacterial strains.
One study involved the topical application of Nigella sativa to infants with a staphylococcal skin infection.
That can treated the infection as effectively as any other standard antibiotic.
Various studies have shown that black seed is capable of many bacterial strains, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Mastalgia Alleviating Effects
Topical application of black seed oil to the breasts during menstrual cycles leads to a reduction in mastalgia or breast pain.
Black seed has been considered an incredible functional food packed with different nutrients.
It has multiple useful effects in the treatment of patients with several diseases.
In Prophetic Medicine, it is recommended to use kalonji regularly and we should incorporate black seed in our daily diet.
Written By Imra Zia Satti (BSc Hons) HND, Institute of Food and Nutritional Sciences, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi)