We’ve had a number of people ask us about the benefits and uses of black seed kulanji (sometimes spelt kalonji) otherwise known as Nigella sativa, so here is a quick run down.
The seeds of the Nigella sativa plant are known by a few other names including black sesame, black cumin, black caraway, or black fennel seeds, but do not confuse these with ‘true’ sesame, cumin, caraway or fennel. Nigella sativa is native to Asia and is a cousin of the buttercup plant family. The tiny black seeds are popular in Indian cuisine as they have a spicy, peppery aroma. Oil is produced from the cold pressed seeds and is slightly easier for the body to absorb, although the seeds and oil both have all the same qualities and benefits. Kulanji is considered a panacea, and has been used in traditional medicine and healing for over 2000 years. The ancients used the plant seeds and oil as a remedy for everything from bronchitis to skin issues to digestive problems. A bottle of oil was even found in Pharoah Tutankhamen's tomb! Nigella sativa has been extensively studied and its wonderful life-giving uses have been published in hundreds of research papers. So what all can this wonder plant do?
Kulanji oil is rich in three natural phytochemicals, thymoquinone (TQ), thymohydroquinone (THQ) and thymol. Each are highly antifungal, but also have their own unique properties, which make Nigella sativa so beneficial. Thymoquinone is a free radical scavenger, and has anitoxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Thymohydroquinone is an enzyme inhibitor, useful for treating glaucoma, Alzheimer's, dementia, neurodegenerative conditions, schizophrenia and even autism. Thymol is the active ingredient in thyme that gives thyme essential oil all of its beneficial properties. It is antiviral, antimicrobial, antirheumatic and improves memory. TQ and THQ can fight tumor cell growth and kill off cancer cells in certain cases.
Kulanji oil is famous for its ability to manage and even prevent Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It can improve glucose tolerance, lower elevated glucose levels and regenerate pancreatic beta-cells. Make a tea by steeping the seeds in boiling water for a few minutes, then add half a teaspoon of the oil and drink twice daily. The seeds can also be crushed into a powder and added to food.
Kulanji, when ingested, has been shown to reduce high cholesterol and high blood pressure, contributing to heart health. Make a tea by steeping two teaspoons of black seeds in boiling water. Or crush the seeds and sprinkle on muesli or savoury dishes.
Studies have shown Nigella sativa to be inhibiting to multi-drug resistant bacteria as it is a powerful antimicrobial. Black seed oil and oregano oil are considered among the top natural microbe fighting substances.
Kulanji is anti-allergic, anti-asthmatic and a natural antihistamine, blocking the release of histamine and lowering the allergic response. Those suffering from spring allergies may find relief by taking the oil. To ease asthma and respiratory problems, mix together 1 teaspoon honey with half a teaspoon kulanji oil in a cup of warm water and drink daily. Or crush the seeds into powder and take 2g daily.
Kulanji oil is highly anti-inflammatory and the peppery oil makes a wonderful massage oil. For joint pain and back pain, warm up a little kulanji oil in your palms and massage into the affected area. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to make a massage oil blend.
2 tsp black seed kulanji oil
30ml calendula oil
10-15 drops essential oil (optional)
Mix together, warm up in your palms, then apply to the body.
Kulanji oil is good for skin and hair health. It is deeply moisturising and softening and can help with psoriasis, acne and eczema. It may be able to prevent and even reverse hair loss and can discourage dandruff and dry scalp. Simply massage the oil into your skin or add a few drops to your shampoo. For hair loss prevention, massage lime juice into your scalp and leave in for 20 minutes. Rinse out then apply kulanji oil and massage into scalp. For dry skin and cracked heels, apply the oil daily or make a foot soak by adding a teaspoon of oil to your foot bath. Pimples, acne, boils, blemishes and even vitilingo can all be relieved by massaging kulanji oil into the skin daily. Kulanji helps with uneven complexion and discolouration. The oil fights acne causing bacteria and helps your skin look clear and glowy. You can apply kulanji oil directly to your skin, no carrier oil needed, but those with sensitive skin may prefer to dilute the oil in a carrier. Try this anti-aging, beautifying oil blend to refine skin tone and wrinkles:
3 tsp kulanji oil
40 ml jojoba oil
10-15 drops frankincense essential oil
Blend together and apply twice daily.
Nigella sativa is a plant rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements and omega oils. The seeds and oil are antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. They have a host of medicinal uses and are great for skin and hair. It truly is a wonder plant and black seed kulanji is our oil of the week!
National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2013). A review on the therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3642442/
Journal of Pharmacopuncture. (2017). Review on clinical trials of black seed (Nigella sativa) and its active constituent, thymoquinone. http://www.journal.ac/sub/view/223
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