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Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) - Uses & Health Benefits

Black Cumin (Nigella sativa)

(Ref: Bhavaprakasa Nighantu)


Nigella sativa is widely cultivated plant all over world for its medicinal values and culinary properties. Nigella is also called black cumin, black caraway, roman coriander and onion seeds. Miraculous seeds of this plant is mainly used for its various medicinal and its disease fighting abilities. Its nutritious, anti-oxidant properties and phytochemicals present in this herb is very beneficial for protecting body from the risk of various dangerous disorders. Nigella plant contains both volatile and non-volatile oil that is pale yellow in colour. It also contains various albumin, sugar, latex, glucosides, melanthin and melanthoxanin. It is bronchodilator in nature. It is also gastro, hepatic and renal protective in nature. Because of its miraculous healing powers this drug is considered under top herbal medicines. Thymoquinone is major bioactive substance present in this herb. Seed oil, raw seeds and pure seed extract is used in the prepration of various herbal medicines.

Plant Description

Nigella is annual plant that contains branching stems. Plant contains finely divided linear leaves. Delicate and soft flowers of the plant contains 5-10 petals. Usually flowers are whitish blue in colour and blooming season of the plant is June to September. Fruits are large inflated capsules with 3-7 united follicles and at maturity tiny, black and triangular seeds are obtained. Fruits are bitter in taste and develop nutmeg like flavour.


Nigella sativa is basically native of southwest Asia, North Africa and southern Europe. Now it is cultivated all over world for its medicinal and traditional values. It is widely cultivated in India, turkey, Egypt, Russia, Pakistan, south Europe and also found in Middle Eastern Mediterranean regions.


  • Latin Name - Nigella Sativa
  • English Name - Onion Seeds, Small Fennel, Black Seeds, Simple Nigella, Fennel Flower, Nutmeg Flower
  • Hindi Name - Kalonji, Kaloni
  • Tamil Name - Karun Jeeragram
  • Malayalam Name - Karun Jiragram
  • Telugu Name - Jelakarra
  • Sanskrit Name - Kalajaji, Kalika, Karavi, Bashpika, Kunji
  • Arabic Name - Habbah Sauda, Sanouz
  • Bengali Name - Kalo Jira
  • Bulgarian Name - Cheren Kimion
  • French Name - Piovrette, Cheveux-De-Venus
  • German Name - Zweibelsame
  • Maithili Name - Mangrela
  • Trukish Name - Coreout
  • Farsi Name - Siah Daneh
  • Punjabi Name - Kalonji
  • Kannada Name - Kari Jirige
  • Thai Name - Thian-Dam
  • Chinese Name - Hei Zhong Cao

Health Benefits of Black Cumin (Nigella sativa)

  • Vatanuloman - Nigella is very beneficial herb that helps to pacify vitiated pitta dosha in body. It helps to maintain normal condition of vata dosha in body. It is very effective herb for treating vata dosha related disorders.
  • Deepan - Nigella is very effective herb that helps to treat agnimandhya (low digestive fire). It stimulate digestive fire and helps intestinal membrane to secrete various enzymes that are good for proper digestion of food.
  • Pachan - It is very beneficial for both amashya (stomach) and pakwashya (intestine). It is good for treating digestive related disorders. It promotes process of digestion.
  • Garbhashya sudhikar - Nigella helps to remove the impurities of uterus and protect it from various disorders. It helps to regulate normal flow of menstruation and also beneficial for treating painful menstruation.
  • Stnyavardhak - This herb is also good for lactating mothers as it helps to increase the volume of milk. It stimulate mammary glands that helps in production of more milk after delivery.
  • Swedal - Nigella is herb that is considered to increase sweat. It stimulate sweat glands and open blocked sweat pores and protect body from the risk of various skin disorders.
  • Krimighna - As disinfectant it helps to protect body and intestine from the harmful effects of worms and microorganisms. It is very effective to treat worm infestation in children.

Uses of Black Cumin (Nigella sativa)

  • Kalonji (nigella) along with chitrakmool (plumbago) are used in sutika (post-delivery) for increasing appetite. It helps to promote digestive health and also use to remove impurities of uterus. It also helps to increase milk in lactating mothers.
  • It is also beneficial for treating painful mensturation (pida artaav) and amenorrhoea (nashta- artaav).
  • It is very beneficial herb for treating post-delivery fever (sutika jwara) and also used for treating malaria (visham jwara)
  • Kalonji along with yoghurt is used for treating hiccups (hichaki).
  • Use of nigella along with carminative herb do not cause stomach pain.
  • Paste prepared by nigella seeds is applied over hands and foot to reduce inflammation.
  • Essential oil obtained from nigella seeds are used to cure skin related disorders (twak rog).
  • It helps to stimulate low digestive fire, indigestion and abdominal bloating.

Medicinal Properties of Black Cumin (Nigella sativa)

  • Nigella seeds are very beneficial for the sufferers of asthma. It helps to relieve congestion and excrete out extra phlegm and used to treat cough.
  • It is also effective for treating severe headache and toothache.
  • It is also used to reduce inflammation and also good for the sufferer of arthritis.
  • Paste prepared by nigella seeds is wrapped over abscess helps to reduce pus and pain.
  • It is very effective herb for treating both hypertension and hyperglycaemia.


Excessive use of nigella causes burning sensation in body and causes palpitations. High dose of nigella can induce abortion in pregnant women.

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