Nigella Sativa (botanical name) or Kalonji or Kalojeere, also called black cumin or black caraway is a flowering plant that grows vastly in the regions of South and Southwest Asia. Though popularly known as black cumin, it should not be confused with Kala Jeera. These tiny, sharp-cornered black seeds have a pungent and bitter taste and smell.
Kalonji is a spice which when used for tempering, adds a beautiful aroma to the dishes, and a hint of flavor. In India, dry roasted kalonji is used for flavoring curries, dal, stir-fried vegetables, and savories like samosa, papdis, and kachori among others. Keeping aside the flavor and aroma, these tiny black seeds come with a whole lot of health benefits.
Let us take a look at some of the remarkable health benefits of kalonji seeds:
Increases Memory and Alleviates Asthma
Ground kalonji seeds when mixed with a little bit of honey are known to help boost memory. If you mix this mixture in warm water and drink, it is also known to help in alleviating breathing trouble like asthma in children and adults. This has to be continued for at least 45 days while avoiding cold beverages and food during that time span.
Helps relieve Ulcers
Stomach ulcers can prove to be quite painful, and these sores affect the mucus lining of the stomach. According to researchers, the consumption of black seeds not only helps reduce stomach ulcers but also protects the stomach lining from the adverse effects of alcohol while promoting digestion.
Helps control Diabetes
One of the primary functions of Kalonji seeds is the control of diabetes. According to Ayurveda, these seeds help prevent a sudden spike in blood sugar levels as well as prevent other symptoms that are caused due to diabetes such as excessive thirst, fatigue, and more. Regular intake of Kalonji seeds or supplements not only improves fasting in blood sugar but also develops insulin resistance.
Aids in Reducing Inflammation
Thymoquinone, an active compound found in Kalonji helps reduce inflammation in various parts of the body including the pancreas. Ayurveda recommends the intake of Kalonji seeds in differents forms like oil in moderate amounts on a daily basis to reduce inflammation.
Promotes Good Memory
According to Ayurveda, consumption of Kalonji oil or seed powder along with mint leaves helps boost memory and prevent neurological disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and more. Boil a fistful of fresh mint leaves in water and add half a spoon of Kalonji oil or seeds ground into powder. Consume it on an empty stomach on a daily basis for better functioning of the brain.
How to use Kalonji Seeds
Kalonji seeds are often used as a spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. These seeds are majorly used in the preparations of Naan, an Indian flatbread. You can also toss them in tadka, salads, or sprinkle them on a biscuit or other home-baked items.
While purchasing kalonji seeds, do check the pack carefully:
- Kalonji seeds are jet black in color and shouldn’t look stale.’
- Always store these seeds in a dry place and make sure it doesn’t come in contact with moisture.
- Purchase kalonji seeds in small or limited quantities like 100 grams to keep the freshness intact. This will help prevent the seed from losing its aroma and benefits by remaining on the shelf for too long.
Kalonji seeds are loaded with trace elements, vitamins, crystalline nigellone, amino acids, saponin, crude fiber, proteins, and fatty acids like linolenic and oleic acids, iron, sodium, potassium, and calcium. It helps keep the heart healthy, treats breathing issues, lubricates joints, and is known to have anti-carcinogenic properties. Go ahead and store a pack of kalonji seeds and make it a part of your daily diet.