Ranunculaceae – Buttercup Family
Arabic: habba souda, habbat al-barakah
Nigella sativa is native to western Asia and the Mediterranean region of the Middle East. It is cultivated for its seeds, which are known as the “seeds of blessings.” It has been used as a health and beauty aid for thousands of years. According to tradition, the Prophet Mohammad described black seed as a cure for every disease except death! Ibn Sina (980-1037) stated that black seed stimulated body energy and helped overcome fatigue.
In Arabia, black seed remains a traditional remedy for asthma, coughs, stomachaches, abdominal pain, colic, general fatigue, rheumatism, mouth and larynx diseases, skin diseases, and cancer. It is also believed to strengthen a mother after childbirth, stimulate urination, menstruation, and liver functions, aid digestion, and dissolve kidney stones.
How to Use
Boil black seed with water. Strain and drink.
Bring black seed and warm milk to a boil for a short while. Cool, then drink.
Eat a teaspoon of honey mixed with black seed.
Eat black seeds plain.
Remedies Across Arabia
Following are descriptions of remedies used throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
For colic: Boil anise, cumin, and peppermint in equal quantities. Add some crystalline sugar or honey. Add 7 drops of black seed oil and drink while hot.
For colds: Grind black seed and wrap it in a cloth to snuff.
For stomach pain: Swallow seeds without cooking.
For toothaches, tonsil, and larynx pain: Boil black seed and use as a gargle. Also, swallow a spoonful of black seed with warm water on an empty stomach every day. Rub the larynx with black seed oil.
For relief from coughs and to strengthen the body: Mix ground black seed with honey and take a spoonful every morning. Alternatively, take three times a day.
To treat diseases: Grind black seed and swallow it with water or milk.
To treat rheumatism and pain in the joints: Add black seed to olive oil and fennel. (Apply externally)
For general fatigue: Use honey and black seed.
During labor: Drink milk with a tablespoon of ground black seeds.
Black seed is used to beautify skin, nourish hair, and stimulate hair growth.
For healthy hair, use black seeds with shampoo, honey and yogurt. Use black seed with sesame oil. Use black seed oil on your hair.
Use a mixture of ground black seed and honey as a paste. Apply it on the face and expose it to the sun for a short time during the day. Then wash.
Mix a little powdered black seed with a little natural olive oil. Then, cover the face and neck and expose to cool sun rays for 20 minutes. Then, wash it off. This keeps your skin beautiful.
Apply black seed oil on the eyelashes and eyebrows every night before going to bed. It helps nourish the hair and helps it grow.
Use blackseed with “bukhoor shehry” (frankincense).
In the Kitchen
Black seed is aromatic with a slight peppery flavor. It is one of the distinct flavors of Arabic pastries. It is often sprinkled on breads and cheese. It is heated with milk for flavor. It is eaten ground with honey or with cakes and pastries.
Did you Know…?
In Arabia, black seed is used as protection from “the evil eye.” It is burned to produce a strong smell (external treatment) and is taken as tablets followed by water (internal treatment)
Shiite Muslims believe there are 99 known names for Allah, or God. The 100th name is not known. However, it can be revealed to people on earth who are living righteously. After receiving the 100th name of God, people are able to speak with the authority of God. They can say something will come to pass, and it will.
Black seed is believed to have this 100th name of God. That is why when you cook black seed it retains its form. It is strong and protected.