Kalonji also known as Nigella seeds come from flowering plants native to South and Southwest Asia. It can be used in multitudes of ways, from cooking to disease prevention, or even aromatherapy.
Aside from its powerful flavor, and aroma, it is famous worldwide for the healthy elements and vitamins that can be derived from them. Some of the healthy elements that you can get by eating Kalonji seeds would be amino acids, iron, crude fiber, fatty acids like oleic acid and linolenic acid, proteins, and more vitamins!
Because of this combination of healthful elements, Kalonji can provided anyone who eats it with dozens of benefits such as, but not limited to, a healthier heart, lesser acne, cures headaches, asthma reduction, anti-carcinogenic properties and any more.
Here are more benefits of Kalonji as explained by science.
1. Kalonji Seeds Works Wonders when Fighting Acne
Acnes are every woman and occasionally man’s worst nightmare. Acnes are caused by the overproduction of oil by the body which often occurs in teenagers going through puberty. When dirt clog our pores, these overproduced oil sometimes get stuck and alas! You have acne.
Acnes can sometimes cause people to have negative perceptions about us. Yes, people should not judge a person by their outer appearance but it is something almost impossible to avoid. Some acnes can be so severe that they leave the face with permanent scars thus it would be best to avoid getting them rather than curing them.
Kalonji can help remove excess oil in our face, it also has components that help regulate our faces’ oil production by regulating our oil glands.
You can use Kalonji to treat acne by mixing it with some lime or lemon juice. Mix one cup of lime juice with a teaspoon of crushed kalongji. You can then apply this miracle mixture on your face twice a day to treat and prevent acnes from sprouting on your face. (1)
The kalonji would also moisturize your face thus leaving you with a young looking, smooth and soft skin. Kalonji can be the cheapest and most effective facial therapy you can get!
Key Takeaway: Acnes can be really troublesome when you are about to attend important events, luckily Kalonji seeds can help you clean up your face before your big day!
2. Kalonji Seeds will Supply you with a Healthy Amount of Vitamin B1
Thiamine or Vitamin B-1 deficiency can cause up to two major health concerns: beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Beriberi is a disease that affects eye movements, breathing, alertness, and heart function. It's occurs when there is a buildup of pyruvic acid in the body, which due to your body’s inability to turn food into energy. (2)
Vitamin B1 is in charge of assisting the body turn food that it has consumed into energy. Some people report that thiamine helps them maintain a positive outlook in life, fight stress, improve learning and prevent memory loss.
Kalonji also known as black cumin are known to be infused with high levels of Vitamin B1. One hundred grams of unprocessed Kalonji can provide you with 100% of your daily needed Vitamin B1. Is has been considered as one of the highest natural sources of Vitamin B1. (3)
Adding Kalonji to everyday dishes would not just make your food smell and taste better, Kalonji would also increase your body’s energy and mental capacity, and at the same time keep you away from diseases such as the fearsome beriberi.
Key Takeaway: Kalonji seeds can provide you with enough Vitamin B1 to help you prevent diseases such as beri beri and help you improve your mental capacity!
3. Kalonji Seeds Helps Prevent Cancer
Cancer has been for hundreds of year one of the most feared diseases in history. In just a year, 8.2 million lives were claimed by this deadly disease back in 2012 while the cure for it is still yes to be found. That is why the quote saying “prevention is better than the cure” applies to cancer than any other diseases. (4)
Recent studies have tried to test the efficacy of Kalonji oil in curing and preventing cancer cells.
Scientists have theorized that thymoquinone found if Kalonji can exhibit anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects. Thus, a study by the National University of Singapore has conducted a study to test this hypothesis and sure enough, they were proven to be right. (5)
Another research that was done in Saudi Arabia was able to conclude that Kalonji oil exhibit properties that could kill out lung cancer cells thus providing further evidence for the possibility of Kalonji becoming a helpful component in the cure and prevention of cancer. (6)
Multiple other studies have now given evidence in the effectiveness of Kalonji in help people with cancer battle the deadly disease, and help normal people prevent it from getting to their bodies. Nature really does provide everything that humans need, even for the most alien and deadly diseases like cancer.
Key Takeaway: Cancer has scared the human race for hundreds of years, thankfully Kalonji seeds can scare those nasty cancer cells away!
4. Kalonji Seeds Gives you a Way to Treat Type 1 and 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease caused by either the lack of insulin produced by the body or the unresponsiveness of organs with insulin that the body’s pancreas has produced. The first one that was described is Type-1 diabetes, while the latter would be Type-2.
This defect in the body causes glucose to accumulate in the person’s body causing damage to his or her blood vessels that may cause problems in heart, legs, brains, limbs, kidneys and eyes. It will also make it hard for the afflicted person to heal from the simplest wounds. (7)
Diabetes afflicted person in the world has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. This alarming rate of growth is due to the changing lifestyle of people and the lack of availability of medicines to tackle the disease.
According to the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers on Kalonji oil were able to gradually and partially regenerate pancreatic beta-cells, increase insulin concentrations, and decrease the elevated levels of glucose in the blood stream. (8)
Another study revealed that consuming just two grams of Kalonji seeds a day can help a person reduce dissolved glucose in the body, increase beta-cell functions and decrease insulin resistance.
There have been a lot of credible and legitimate researches that further cement the viability of Kalonji seeds as a cure or preventive measure for people against both Type-1 and Type-2 Diabetes.
Key Takeaway: Diabetes can be prevented with proper diet and exercise. However, you can double your luck by giving your trust in the antioxidants you can get from Kalonji seeds!
5. Kalonji Seeds Helps Lower Blood Pressure
A research conducted in 2013 by researchers from the Institute of Medical Plants in Iran involved 70 patients between 34 to 63 years old to determine the efficacy of Nigella sativa L. also known as Kalonji seeds in lowering a person’s blood pressure. (9)
The research was done by dosing the patients 5 mL of the Kalonji oil for 8 weeks. After the 8 week period, the research successfully proved that indeed Kalonji seeds can lower a person’s blood pressure. What makes it even better is that not a single adverse effect was shown by the subject after consuming the Kalonji seeds as a long term medicine.
High blood pressure is a disease that commonly afflicts older people. It is characterized by a person having a blood pressure higher than the normal blood pressure. According to statistics, at least 75 million Americans are afflicted with the disease. (10)
Worldwide it is estimated that 30% of all human are suffering from it, with 7.5 million of them dying annually. That means 12.8% of all deaths are caused by high blood pressure. (11)
With this many people suffering from high blood pressure or hypertension, Kalonji seeds can effectively help a lot of people. It can provide a cheaper alternative to pharmaceutical drugs that usually cost hundreds of dollars to buy!
Key Takeaway: Numerous researches have already proven the effectiveness of Kalonji seeds in combating high blood pressure. These researches are all valid and legitimate, thus you can rest assure that you can trust Kalonji seeds.
6. Kalonji Seeds Help Protect your Liver
Our liver is in charge of filtering our blood that came from our digestive systems before the blood returns to our blood vessels and to the rest of our body. It does this to avoid toxins coming from our food from entering our body. (12)
It is also in charge of metabolizing medicines and detoxifying chemicals that we have ingested. Just like a car’s filter, this “dirt” can slowly damage our livers if left untreated. This could result in a lot of diseases.
That is why it is best to prevent this diseases rather than wait for them to happen then decide to cure them. We should learn to eat healthily and eat foods that are high in antioxidants that can help the liver function better.
One of these miracle foods would be the Kalonji seeds, according to research, oil from Kalonji seeds can help our liver heal faster. It also helps the liver removes contaminants that accumulate in our digestive tract and liver. (13)
What makes Kalonji stand out from other liver foods is that the same researches have also proven that it can also help people already afflicted with the disease to be cured faster and increase their survival rate.
Key Takeaway: Kalonji seeds have antioxidants and components that are both good for people afraid of getting liver diseases and those that already have the disease.
7. Thymohydroquinone in Kalonji Seeds Protect us from Numerous Mental Diseases
Thymohydroquinone is one of the most effective natural AChE inhibitors known to man. AChE inhibitors are components of the brain that stop enzyme activity, this effect increases the amount of time and the number of neurotransmitters that remain working in the brain.
Thymohydroquinone has been used by pharmaceutical companies to treat various mental diseases such as glaucoma, autism, schizophrenia, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, apathy, and Alzheimer’s disease. (14)
This component of Kalonji seeds helps prevent the onset of this diseases in both aging and young people. Kalonji seed does this by increasing the lifespan of nerves inside our brains thus making it healthier and stronger for a longer period of time.
Kalonji seeds can also improve the memory of younger people to help them study better and remember more those they learned in school.
The same component has been used to help people with disorders that were due to defects in their genes, such as autism. It helps the brain function more properly and avoids misfires of neurons that result in uncontrollable actions or more. (15)
Key Takeaway: Kalonji seeds have powerful components that protect our brains from aging and getting damaged by wear and tear. Kalonji seeds can also benefit students that need increased brain power for school!
8. Kalonji Seeds can be Used to Treat Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic Rhinitis is caused when a person eats or inhales substances that he is allergic to. These substances can be anything from pollens, molds, dust, or dead skin cells from animals. (16)
It triggers the person to show symptoms such as itchiness or a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, watery eyes, and many more. Allergic Rhinitis can bring so much discomfort to a person due to its persistence, most especially that said allergens are present almost everywhere.
According to the World Health Organization, 10 to 30% of humans are known to have allergic rhinitis their whole lives. This creates a high demand for medicines that are cheap and effective in treating allergic rhinitis. (17)
Luckily, Kalonji seeds have been shown by researches to decrease or fully stamp out the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. The same research shows that Kalonji seeds were able to fully reduce the symptoms in just two weeks of taking the Kalonji seed as an allergic rhinitis medication. (18)
Kalonji seeds are showing so much potential in this field that more and more researchers are trying to prove its efficacy in many more pulmonary diseases such as asthma, and tuberculosis. With its low price, it can definitely help those people with allergic rhinitis but no money to buy pharmaceutical drugs.
Key Takeaway: If you have allergic rhinitis or asthma, it would be smart to take a look at the possibility of using Kalonji seeds to treat your disease!
9. Kalonji Seeds are Great in Treating Arthritis or Joint Pains
Dozens of researches have proven the anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory properties of Kalonji seeds. During 1995, some tests were done at the King’s college London to find out the effectiveness of Kalonji seeds on inflammatory diseases such as rheumatism and arthritis. They were able to confirm that using Kalonji seeds can positively affect people with rheumatism and other inflammatory diseases. (19)
Even way back in 1960, Professor El-Dakhakny from the Pharmacology Department of Medicine in Alexandria University, Egypt reported that Kalonji seeds with its anti-inflammatory properties can be used to treat the symptoms of arthritis. (20)
The same university made another research back in 2002, they reenacted the same experiments that Professor El-Dakhakny has done to prove whether his research was true and valid.
Their research did prove that the professor’s prior research was indeed true thus adding another evidence to the efficacy of Kalonji seeds in treating arthritis and joint pains.
Key Takeaway: Time and time more researches have proven this claim, that is why if you are and elderly or knows someone who is suffering from arthritis or joint pains do not hesitate to show them the miracle that is Kalonji Seeds.
10. Kalonji Seeds Can Cure Headaches or Migraines
Migraines or headaches can be caused by many things, this can be because of stress, sensory stimuli, the food you eat, those you drink, lack of sleep or even hormonal changes in women. It can be manageable to some but it can also be so painful for others that they end up passing out. (21)
Due to the numerous possible triggers of migraines, the easiest way to avoid it is to avoid those that trigger it, such as those that I have listed. However, if you are already experiencing it, some of the common ways to treat it is to drink medicines that are anti-inflammatory such as aspirin and Ibuprofen. (22)
However, these medicines come with two costs. One is their high price and the other costs would be the possible side effect that they may cause due to them being synthetic and unnatural.
Kalonji seeds, on the other hand, is proven to contain the chemical thymoquinone. A powerful and safe analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug. Research has shown that Kalonji seeds can stop the symptoms and onset of a migraine and headaches due to its anti-inflammatory actions. (23)
Key Takeaway: Unlike Ibuprofen, and other drugs, Kalonji seeds are purely natural substances that do not have much adverse side effects to our body. This is why it is a better alternative in treating migraines and headaches.
6 Recipes for Kalonji Seeds
Kalonji seeds are well-known spices in the Middle East and India, it is said that the taste of Kalonji seeds tastes like the combination of oregano, black pepper, and onions. With its unique taste and aroma, it can be added to hundreds of dishes to give a twist to its flavor.
Kalonji seeds have been famous for thousands of years that samples of it have been found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun of Ancient Egypt. It also has a remarkable shelf life making it suitable for varying weathers.
Kalonji seeds are often dry roasted to further intensify their flavor and aroma. Kalonji seeds are so flexible that different cultures have been known to use Kalonji seeds for different types of food, whether it may be for sweets, bread, viands, or even drinks.
Follow these 6 recipes to experience the wonderful taste and healing power of the Kalonji Seeds!
1. Chicken and Oats Porridge
This delicious porridge is perfect for cold nights or winter. It will hug you with warmth while giving you the health benefits of Kalonji seeds.
2 chicken breasts
1 cup oats
1 Tablespoon oil
1 Teaspoon Kalonji seeds
3 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
2 finely chopped green chilies
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
¼ teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup glazed onions
1 Tablespoon butter
¼ cup of lemon juice
2 egg whites
Slice the chicken breasts into desired sizes.
Sauté Kalonji seeds, bay garlic, ginger, and bay leaves for a one minute.
Include the chicken breasts and chilies with the sautéed ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Mix in the turmeric powder, oats, red chili powder, salt, and black pepper.
Combine everything with two cups of water.
Let it boil until the chicken is cooked inside.
Add the butter, lemon juice, and glazed onions into the pan.
Mix two egg whites into the pan and cook for five more minutes.
Serve hot and enjoy with your friends and families.
2. Lamb Kalonji Seed Curry
Curry is a staple spice coming from the lands of India. It is one of the best spices there is in the market, combined with the Kalonji seeds, you surely would enjoy the delectable taste this recipe has in store for you!
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion
2 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of parsley
1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon of turmeric
½ teaspoon of chili powder
½ pound tomatoes
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon of garam masala
8 ounces of green peas
2 teaspoons of Kalonji Seeds
Peel and chop the onions, and mince the 2 cloves of garlic. Sauté both ingredients in the unsalted butter until golden brown.
Thrown in the ground lamb, chili powder, and turmeric powder. Cook for 10 minutes or until the ingredients begin to simmer.
Peel and chop the tomatoes, and remove their seeds.
Add the tomatoes and sea salt with the meat and other ingredients and cook over a low fire for about 30 minutes.
Mix in the green peas, Kalonji seeds, and garam masala and cook for another 20 minutes.
Enjoy with a cup of mashed potatoes or rice!
3. Avocado Chicken Kebabs with Pineapple Salsa
This Mediterranean dish is sure to increase your appetite while giving you a daily dose of your healthy Kalonji seeds!
400 grams of boneless chicken breasts
3 pieces of green chilies
1 piece of medium sized ginger
8 pieces of garlic cloves
1 large avocado
1 teaspoon of shahi jeera
18 pieces of mint leaves
2 medium sized onions
500 grams of cheese
1 medium sized pineapple
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of black salt
1 teaspoon of roasted Kalonji seed
1 teaspoon of pepper powder
100 ml olive oil
¼ teaspoon of table salt
Grind the chicken breasts along with the ginger, garlic, mint leaves, shahi jeera, and chopped green chilies.
Chop the parmesan cheese and avocado, then include them to the chicken and other ingredients. Grind for a just about 5 more seconds or until they are incorporated well.
To make the Pineapple Salsa, follow the next steps.
Chop the pineapple and onions. Then place them in another bowl with some green chilies, lemon juice, mint leaves, table salt and black salt, roasted Kalonji powder, and pepper powder, then mix them very well..
Form the grounded meat with the other ingredients into patties, then fry them in olive.
Add a little amount of pepper powder to the patties as you fry them.
Enjoy dipping the kebabs in the pineapple salsa!
4. Kalonji Seeds Brownies
This sweet dessert would surely be a hit with the kids and adults alike! Getting your children to take their daily dose of medicine has never been this easy!
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of olive oil (substitute: 1/2 cup vegetable oil)
1/2 cup of Kalonji seed paste (made of ground 50% Kalonji seeds and 50% sesame seeds)
¼ teaspoons of walnut, crushed
¼ teaspoons of almond, peeled & cut to halves.
½ cup of white sugar
½ cup of water
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
First thing you need to do is to cook a sugar syrup which would be used later on in the recipe.
To do this, combine the white sugar, half cup of water, and the lemon juice in a saucepan.
Boil and stir the ingredients until the sugar dissolves and the syrup starts to get thick.
Remove it from the saucepan and let it cool.
To make the brownies, first roast the all-purpose flour in a pan for about ten minutes or until it turns light gold. Only do this over a medium heat to avoid burning the flour.
Let the all-purpose flour cool down slightly then add the Kalonji seed paste, sugar, and olive oil.
Combine the ingredients with both hands (make sure to wash your hands before doing this), then add ¾ cups of water gradually in between intervals of kneading the dough. Do this until the dough is smooth.
Add the crushed walnuts with the dough then mix them until the walnut has been evenly distributed in the dough.
Spread the dough in an oven pan then add pieces of almonds on top of the dough.
Bake it for about 25 minutes in 350°F for about 25 minutes.
Pour the syrup on top of the now cooked brownies and let it cool completely before slicing them into equal squares.
5. Spinach with Ginger, Fennel, and Black Cumin
Coming from an internationally acclaimed chef, Martha Stewart, this recipe is sure to make your guests feel like they’re eating in a fine dining restaurant! Plus, you can boast to them how healthy and nutritious your meal is!
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon of Kalonji seeds
2 pieces of medium onions
1 piece of fresh ginger
3 pounds of fresh spinach, trimmed
1 piece of fresh green chili
1 teaspoon of table salt
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Peel and slice the onions into thin half rings, while slicing the ginger into thin strips.
With the use of a pan, combine the olive oil and butter in a pan. Heat both of them over a medium heat stove.
Afterwards, add the fennel and Kalonji seeds and heat them for a few second to release their flavors.
Stir, and add the sliced onions and ginger. Sauté the ingredients until for 5-7 minutes or until the onions turn golden brown.
Throw in the spinach and cover the pan. Occasionally stir until the spinach has wilted entirely for about 7 minutes.
After 7 minutes, reduce the heat to medium. Include the green salt, chili, and cayenne pepper, and gently mix.
Cover the pan once again, and cook for 25 more minutes.
Cook until the bottom of the pan is almost dry, but not actually dry. This will take about 5 more minutes.
Best served with chicken, beef, lamb, or rice!
6. Spiced Kalonji Seeds Chicken
This easy-to-put-together meal is sure to fill your stomach with delicious chicken and fill your body with nutritious vitamins and nutrients!
4 pieces of chicken thighs
1/4 teaspoon of chili flakes
1 teaspoon of Kalonji seeds
½ cup of sliced onion chives
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of tomato paste
1/2 cup of unflavored yoghurt
1 teaspoon of ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of fenugreek leaves
Cover the whole chicken in garam masala and let it sit for 30 minutes.
On a cooking pa, roast the Kalonji seeds and chili flakes for about 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until you can smell the flavors of the ingredients.
Pour in oil and let it heat up. Then add the onion chives, garlic, and chicken thighs. Fry both sides of the chicken over medium heat.
Avoid burning the chicken, make sure to only cook until it has turned golden brown.
Transfer the chicken into a separate bowl.
On the cooking pan earlier, add the tomato, salt, yoghurt, fenugreek leaves, and almonds, and stir for 4-5 minutes over low heat. Let the ingredients simmer.
Replace the chicken in the pan with the other ingredients and cook for 10 more minutes.
Serve with rice!
Wrapping It Up
Kalonji seeds have been present in the lives of humans thousands of years even before other spices were born. Kalonji seeds have been recorded in ancient scriptures as one of the most powerful healing gifts from God.
Present day researches seem to support even these ancient claims. The antioxidants in Kalonji seeds are so powerful that they have been proven to cure numerous diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver and mental diseases, and much more!
Kalonji Seeds gives us a cheaper and more natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs which are more often than not over-priced. Kalonji seeds’ side effects are also less adverse than its pharmaceutical counterparts.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.