The Beauty Inside
Dr. Reaz Feda
For over two thousand years, people are using “Black Seed” as a food supplement. But recently scientists have found out that the nutritional value of this black seed is in its oil.
We usually smash it and take it with rice which is not the proper use of getting the benefits of black seed. Consumption of black seeds should therefore ensure the consumption of its oil.
Black seed oil contains over 100 valuable nutrients. It is comprised of approximately 21% protein, 38% carbohydrates, and 35% plant fats and oils. The active ingredients of black seed are nigellone, thymoquinone, and fixed oils. Black seed also contains significant proportions of protein, carbohydrates and essential fatty acids. Other ingredients include linoleic acid, oleic acid, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin B2, niacin, and vitamin C.
The following Essential Fatty Acids: Myristic Acid, Palmitic Acid , Palmitoleic Acid, Stearic Acid, Oleic Acid , Linoleic Acid [Omega-6] , Linolenic Acid [Omega-3] , Arachidic Acid are present in Black Seed Oil.
History of the Black Seed
The black seed, a plant from the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family, has been traditionally used by various cultures throughout the world as a natural remedy for several diseases and ailments and to improve health in general.
The Romans also knew this seed and called it Greek Coriander and used it as a dietary supplement.
In the first century, the Greek physician Dioscoredes recorded that the black seed were taken to treat headaches, nasal congestion, toothache and intestinal worms.
What is Nigella Sativa (the black seed)?
Nigella Sativa originates from Western Asia and is a herb that grows about 16-24 inches in height and has white flowers when in bloom. The plant is now cultivated from the Near East to India. The deep black, sharp-cornered rectangular seeds (no longer than 3 mm) are the part of the plant that is used for the preparation of products.
The black seed is cultivated in Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Arabia, Oman, Ethiopia, Middle East, Far East, India, Bangladesh, France, Germany and the Mediterranean Basin. It also grows wild in Egypt, Syria, Asiatic Turkey and the Balkan States.
Nigella Sativa is known commonly in Arabic as Habbat-ul-Baraka (blessed seed) and in English as Love in the Mist.
Since 1959, over 200 studies have been carried out at international universities and articles published in various journals have shown remarkable results supporting its traditional uses.
The Nigella Sativa seed itself contains numerous esters of structurally unusual unsaturated fatty acids and the chemical composition is very rich and diverse. Apart from its active ingredient, crystalline nigellone, it contains 15 amino acids (including eight of the nine essential ones), carbohydrates, fatty acids including linolenic and oleic, volatile oils, alkaloids and dietary fibre, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium and potassium.
Recent research on the black seed as an anti-biotic, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic, anti-bacterial, anti-bronchial and immune boosting agent has shown great promise.
The protective and healing powers of Black Seed, the seeds from the plant Nigella Sativa, are so astoundingly comprehensive and varied that for thousands of years humans have regarded it as a "Miracle Cure".
Black Seed has an unprecedented strengthening effect upon the immune system, and works in a host of other ways to promote optimum health and well being. It works by assisting the body in its own natural healing processes.
This remarkable herb has a legendary status and has had a recent resurgence in Western medicine. Its efficacy is solidly backed by three thousand years of folklore and the past fifty years have seen a burgeoning amount of scientific data to further support Black Seed's renowned healing properties.
Black Seed oil enhances and strengthens the body's immune system in a way no other singular, naturally occurring substance has ever been known to do.
Cellular malnutrition in the first world is due to many factors such as farming methods that deplete the soils essential nutrients, and supply us with 'empty food'. The practice of cooking food denatures and impedes absorption, combined with impaired digestion. Other factors including eating refined foods and a toxic environment. These all contribute to cellular starvation of essential fluids and nutrients.
With regular consumption of superfoods we can gradually improve the state of our cellular nutrition, and in turn health will gradually improve, although improvements in vitality can often occur quickly. However, certain organs and systems of the body can remain below par even after a comprehensive nutritional and dietary programme has been in use for many months. In other words there are certain stubborn issues our bodies do not give up easily.
Considering the nutritional value, Black Seed Oil is being used in many countries like USA, Egypt, Turkey, Srilanka, India in soft gelatin capsule form. Recently Bangladesh Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (BCSIR) recommends consumption of Black Seed Oil only in the form of Capsule.
Use of Black Seed oil:
To boost up immune system, lowers insulin resistance (thus helps to control diabetes), relieves cough and asthma, increase memory, lowers risk of heart diseases, prevents loss of hair & assure healthy skin, helps lactation, reduces arthritis and muscle pain.
Recently a pharmaceutical company has launched for the first time in Bangladesh, black seed oil in soft gelatin capsule.
Black Seed Oil is contraindicated during pregnancy.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008