Nigella sativa, Black Cumin is one the most revered medicinal seeds in history
Black Cumin seed is derived from a plant with the botanical name Nigella Sativa. The seeds of the Nigella Sativa plant are black in color and look something like sesame seeds. Both the seeds and seed oil are used as nutritional supplements. Black Cumin seed (also known as "black seed") has been consumed for centuries, especially in the Far East, Middle East, Egypt and India. It's both a spice and traditional medicine used to treat a range of hepatic and digestive disorders, as well as fever, headaches and skin diseases. The flowers are delicate, and usually colored pale blue and white, with five to ten petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of three to seven united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. Its many uses have earned Black Cumin seed the Arabic approbation Habbatul barakah, meaning the "seed of blessing". First a little history;
According to Zohary and Hopf, archaeological evidence they report N. Sativa seeds have been found in several sites from ancient Egypt, including Tutankhamun's tomb. (King Tut) Although its exact role in Egyptian culture is unknown, it is known that items entombed with a pharaoh were carefully selected to assist him in the afterlife. According to Wikipedia, the earliest written reference to N. sativa is thought to be in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, where the reaping of nigella and wheat is contrasted (Isaiah 28: 25, 27). Easton's Bible dictionary states the Hebrew word ketsah refers to N. sativa without doubt. The prophet Mohammed reportedly said that seeds of the Black Cumin plant could cure "anything but death itself". According to Zohary and Hopf, N. sativa was another traditional condiment of the Old World during classical times, and its black seeds were extensively used to flavor food. Seeds were also found in Hittite flask in Turkey, dating from 2nd millennium BCE.
The NaturalNews, reports Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have discovered that an extract of Nigella Sativa seed oil, known as thymoquinone, can remedy one of the most virulent and difficult to treat cancers: pancreatic cancer. The extract does this by blocking pancreatic cell growth, and actually enhancing the built-in cellular function that causes programmed cell death, or apoptosis. According to Hwyda Arafat, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, nigella sativa helps treat a broad array of diseases, including some immune and inflammatory disorders. Previous studies also have shown anticancer activity in prostate and colon cancers, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Using a human pancreatic cancer cell line, she and her team found that adding thymoquinone killed approximately 80 percent of the cancer cells. This study helps dispel the myth that herbs are just herbs, and are thus ineffective in treating disease. A study performed by S. Banerjee for the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, showed that thymoquinone promotes anti-inflammatory effects, inhibits cancer cell growth and proliferation and even causes cell death in cancer cells. This study was mostly performed in cell cultures, but the results encouraged further examination of thymoquinone in clinical trials involving the human population. Studies have also shown that Black Cumin seeds can offer benefits as an anti-bacterial agent. One study examined the effects of Black Cumin seeds against the bacterial infection of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA.
This study, performed by A. Hannan for the Department of Microbiology at the University of Health Sciences in Pakistan, showed that Black Cumin seeds offered an inhibitory effect against several strains of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. These results are significant because methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus can become resistant to antibiotics, so use of Black Cumin seeds may become more prevalent in the treatment of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus if resistance occurs. There is scientific evidence stating that administration of Black Cumin seeds can offer anti-convulsive benefits. According to "Medical Science Monitor," more than 15 percent of childhood epilepsy cases are resistant to treatment even though anti-epilepsy medications are widely available. A study performed by J. Akhondian for the Department of Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences in Iran examined the use of extracts from black cumin seeds on 23 children, ages 13 months to 13 years, with refractory seizure disorder. The results of the study showed a significant reduction of the frequency of seizures in the group treated with black cumin seed extract. This herb is just one of many that are now being discovered as breaking the mold and defeating the lie. This herb proves useful and helpful in treating every day illnesses and complex illnesses as well.
One of Black Cumin's most popular and effective uses is the treatment of diseases related to the respiratory system, including asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism and cold symptoms. The seeds help increase body tone, stimulate menstrual period. Black Cumin seed oil helps calm the nervous system, quells colic pain, stimulates urine production, helps treat pertussis, improves digestion and helps prevent and lower high blood pressure. The seeds are very effective in curing abscesses and tumors of the eye, abdomen and liver, probably due in great part to the anti-tumor compound beta-sitosterol found in the seeds. For many years the medical community discounted the health benefits of Black Cumin seed oil in favor of modern drugs. It has been referred to as an old folk remedy, but scientists are now taking a closer look at the medicinal value of the seeds of Nigella Sativa. So let's review:
- Black Cumin extract is anti-hypertensive, carminative and anti-parasitic.
- Black Cumin is used to treat diseases related to the respiratory system, circulatory and immune system, stomach and intestines, kidneys and even the liver.
- The seeds have been known to prove effective in fighting parasitic infections, asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism and cold symptoms.
- They also provide health benefits like increasing body tone, stimulating menstrual period, increasing milk production in nursing mothers and increasing the flow of breast milk.
- Black Cumin seed oil calms the nervous system, quells colic pain, stimulates excretion of urine, helps petrussis and improves digestion.
- Black Cumin stimulates body's energy and helps in recovering from fatigue and dispiritedness.
- It provides an effective cure for skin conditions such as allergies, eczema, acne, psoriasis and boils.
- Black Cumin oil encourages the production of bone marrow and cells of the immune system, increases the production of interferon, protects normal cells from the damaging effects of viral diseases, destroys tumor cells and increases the number of antibody producing B cells.
- Black Cumin contains potent sexual hormones, stimulants, digestive enzymes, antacids, and sedatives; all of which help boost the immune system and preempt diseases.
- The seeds contain beta-sitosterol - an anti-tumor sterol. They are very effective in curing abscesses and tumors of the eye, abdomen and liver.
- Black Cumin seeds are also used to treat flatulence, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, constipation and dysentery.
- A teaspoon of Black Cumin seed oil, when mixed with honey and consumed regularly during breakfast, lunch and dinner, results in good health and strong immunity to diseases.
- The seeds, when taken in capsulated form, help in strengthening hair as well as nails.
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