The history of black seed (Nigella sativa) use dates back thousands of years with its use being found in may systems of medicine across the ancient world…
The black seed and its oil are recognised for their medicinal properties throughout the world. Black seed has been particularly popular in traditional systems of medicine from the Middle East, North Africa, the Asian Sub-continent and the Far East.
References to black seed can also be found in some of the oldest religions. In Islamic literature, it is considered as one of the greatest forms of healing. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has recommended its regular use as a cure for any ailment except death.
Mention can also be found in the Old Testament which refers to the cultivation of the black cumin plant and its harvest.
The Book of Isaiah (8th Century BC)
Reference to the black cumin seed is made in the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 28:25,27 nkjv). This would appear to be the earliest written reference to black seed.
In the verses The Prophet Isaiah (AS) describes the reaping of black cumin. The exact word used is the Hebrew: ketsah which has been clarified to refer without doubt the nigella sativa seed (Easton’s bible dictionary)
Ancient Egyptian use of Black seed (13th Century BC )
Records from ancient Egypt indicate Cleopatra used black seed oil in her bath and Nefertiti as part of her skin care regimen. The personal physician of the pharaoh Tutankhamen used the black seed to alleviate his patients’ coughing and it was also found in Tutankhamen’s tomb – It clearly played an important role in ancient Egyptian life.
Black seed in Greek Medicine 1st Century AD
Greek physicians of the 1st century had many uses for black seed. It is recorded that black seeds were taken to treat headaches, nasal congestion, toothache, and intestinal worms. Hippocrates used black seed as a natural remedy for strengthening the organism for sufferers of general malaise and weakness. Additional recorded uses by the ancient Greeks include as a diuretic to promote menstruation and increase milk production.
Avicenna use for Black seed (Ibn Sīnā, 980 – 1037 AD)
In his ‘The Canon of Medicine’ he makes reference to the black cumin seed stating that it ‘that stimulates the body’s energy and helps recovery from fatigue’.
Other names for the Nigella sativa (black seed) from around the world…
Also known as Black Cumin, Fennel Flower, Nutmeg Flower, Black Caraway, Roman Coriander, Love-in-the-mist…
- Arabic: Habbat Al-Barakah [حبة البركة]
- Kurdish: Rashkeh [Reşke]
- Persian: Siyah Daneh [سیاهدانه]
- Hebrew: Ketzakh [קצח]
- Russian: Chernushka
- Bosnian: čurekot
- Turkish: çörek otu
- Cypriot Turkish: Garacocco
- Assamese: Kalzira [কালজীৰা ] or Kolazira [ক’লাজীৰা]
- Bengali: Kalojira [কালোজিরা]
- Kannada: Krishna Jeerige [ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಜೀರಿಗೆ]
- Tamil: Kalonji [கருஞ்சீரகம்]
- Hindi: Kalauṃjī [कलौंजी] or Kaloṃjī [कलोंजी] or Maṃgarail [मंगरैल]
- Urdu: Kaloṃjī [كلونجى]
- Indonesian: Jintan hitam
- Malayalam: Karim Jeerakam [കരിംജീരകം]