Kalonji or Kalojeere, also known as black cumin or black caraway that goes with the botanical name Nigella sativa is a flowering plant that grows vastly in the regions native to south and southwest Asia. Though popularly known as black cumin, it should not be confused with ‘Kala Jeera’ that belongs to the family of Binium bulbocastanum.
Kalonji or black caraway seeds that are known as ‘Karun Jeeragam’ in Tamil ‘Nalla Jeelakarra’ in Telugu are extracted from the fruits of Nigella sativa plant. In few parts of the world, these seeds are popularly referred as black onion seeds. The Kalonji plant that grows up to 20 to 30 cm in height with divided, thin, sequential leaves bears 'fennel flowers', that bloom in white and pale blue colours, each containing five to ten petals.
The fruit of this plant contains a large, inflated capsule-like structure with united follicles around 3 to 7 in number, loaded with numerous seeds. These tiny, sharp-cornered black seeds that are pungent, bitter in taste and smell, may often remind you of a combination of onion, black pepper and oregano.
Touted as a ‘seed of blessing’, Kalonji seeds are used extensively in ancient medicine and various cuisines for their medicinal benefits and distinct flavour alike. These seeds form an integral part of ayurvedic medicine and are widely recommended for treating disorders that are related to stomach, eyes, heart and neurological conditions.
These seeds are a powerhouse of crude fiber, amino acids, saponin, iron, sodium, calcium and potassium besides fatty acids like linolenic and oleic, volatile oils. These black seeds contain Nigella and Melatin, two components prized for highly nutritive and medicinal properties. A rich supply of polyunsaturated fatty acids, black seeds boost metabolism, keep cholesterol under check, balance levels of insulin, facilitate blood circulation throughout the body and aid liver function.
Ayurveda recommends daily consumption of 20 grams of these seeds to enhance lubrication between joints, for maintaining a healthy heart, fight breathing problems and to prevent cancer, thanks to its anti-carcinogenic properties.
Kalonji seeds are a storehouse of protein, carbohydrate, dietary fiber and fat. The seeds are also abundant in vital minerals including calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium and potassium and essential vitamins A, C, E and K conferring with the improved immune system, healthy liver and maintaining heart health.
Nutritional Values Of Kalonji Seeds Per 100 grams:
Serving Size Per 100 grams
Protein 17.81 g
Total Fat 22.27g
Saturated Fat 1.5g
Monounsaturated Fat 14.04g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.27g
Vitamin A 64IU
Vitamin C 7.7 mg
Vitamin E 3.33mg
Vitamin K 5.4mcg
* Source As Per USDA
Black Caraway seeds in fact top the list of healthiest spices and is mainly prized for burning belly fat and reducing weight. Kalonji seeds are used in numerous ways to get rid off belly fat. Studies reveal that drinking kalonji water on empty stomach offers huge benefits for those on weight loss regimen.
How To Make Kalonji Concoction?
10 grams of crushed Kalonji seeds
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1 glass warm water
Mix lemon juice, honey and kalonji seeds powder in warm water.
Drink it daily on empty stomach to lose weight and belly fat gradually.
The results will appear within a week.
Kalonji And Lemon Seeds:
It is another popular method that works as a quick weight loss remedy.
50 grams Kalonji Seeds
½ cup fresh lemon juice
In a bowl, soak Kalonji seeds in fresh lemon juice.
Keep it under sun and let it dry.
Once the seeds absorb all the lemon juice, store it in an air tight container
Eat 10 seeds daily to lose that extra fat.
How It Works:
These fibre rich seeds keep you satiated for a longtime and prevent hunger pangs. Kalonji seeds are also known for stimulating heat within the body that helps in burning excess fat. However, take these in moderate amounts to avoid digestive issues.
Kalonji or black caraway is also consumed in the form of oil. Known as blackseed oil, it is extracted from the seeds. Loaded with thymoquinone, a compound with anti-oxidant properties, this amber-coloured oil is used in cooking, body massages and in various beauty treatments.
Various studies over many years have chronicled several key findings on the benefits of Kalonji oil.
Uses of Kalonji Oil:
Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Blackseed oil eases the pain caused due to rheumatoid arthritis by increasing the lubrication between the joints. Studies reveal that the intake of black seed oil or its supplements decreases inflammatory markers in the blood, thus healing the swollen joints.
Allergic Nose Problems:
If you are suffering from severe allergies that are causing persistent cold and chest congestion, all you need is a spoonful of Kalonji oil. Rub lukewarm oil on the chest to ease congestion and to prevent runny nose and sneezing.
Blackseed oil works wonders for those suffering from asthma. A regular intake of this oil or supplements will improve the symptoms of asthma and prevent the sudden onset of the asthma attacks.
Benefits Of Kalonji Seeds:
The primary function of Kalonji seeds is the prevention of diabetes. According to Ayurveda, these seeds prevent a sudden spike in the levels of blood sugar and can also prevent other symptoms caused due to diabetes like excessive thirst, fatigue and confusion. Regular intake of Kalonji oil, seeds or supplements not only improves fasting blood sugar but also develops insulin resistance.
Add a quarter spoon of Kalonji oil to a cup of black tea and drink it on empty stomach to bring down the levels of blood sugar.
Heals Stomach Ulcers:
Stomach ulcers can be quite painful, and these sores eat into the mucus lining of the stomach. Researchers reveal that eating black seeds not only reduces stomach ulcers but also protects the stomach lining from the ill-effects of alcohol and promotes digestion.
The incredible components and compounds in Kalonji save the liver from toxicity by regularizing its functions like metabolism, processing nutrients and minerals that are important for the health. Take Kalonji seeds or oil daily to reduce the toxicity of chemicals and to safeguard both liver and kidneys.
Chronic inflammation leads to various health disorders and can interfere with bodily functions. Thymoquinone, an active compound found in Kalonji helps reduce inflammation in body parts including the pancreas. Ayurveda recommends the intake of Kalonji oil in moderate amounts daily to decrease inflammation.
Bad cholesterol or LDL is a major risk factor behind the cardiac disease. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health using Kalonji oil significantly brings down the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while Kalonji seed powder improves HDL or good cholesterol.
Being a storehouse of antioxidants, Kalonji seeds aid in neutralizing free radicals that can cause different types of cancer. The anti-cancer properties of thymoquinone inactivate cancer cells and works against pancreatic, lung, cervical and breast cancers.
Wards Off Bacteria:
Kalonji oil and seed powder exhibit anti-bacterial properties and can effectively fight certain types of bacteria. Topical application of Kalonji oil on the skin infection caused due to streptococcal bacteria heals the skin and reduces redness. It also works against warding off infections caused due to methicillin-resistant bacteria staphylococcus aureus, particularly in diabetics.
Memory loss and cognitive function inability are the problems faced by elderly. Ayurveda recommends consuming Kalonji oil or seed powder along with mint leaves to boost memory and to prevent neurological disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s etc.
Boil a fistful of fresh mint leaves in water and add half spoon of Kalonji oil or seed powder. Consume it daily on empty stomach for better brain function.
Aids Kidney Function:
Ayurvedic practitioners vouch by the benefits of black seed or Kalonji oil in improving the kidney health. Regular intake of Kalonji powder along with honey and warm water helps in curing kidney function, prevent kidney stones.
Kalonji oil or seed powder are known for healing joint pains by providing lubrication between the joints. The active compounds in the seed facilitate smooth movements of the bone joints, thus healing inflammation.
If you are suffering from stiffness in the joints, swelling and soreness, mix ½ spoon of Kalonji oil along with equal amounts of honey in 1 cup of vinegar and apply it on the joints twice a day for relief.
Chew on few Kalonji seeds daily for stronger teeth and gums. These seeds serve as instant remedy if you are suffering from swollen gums, bleeding gums and premature falling of teeth. Alternatively, you can mix ½ teaspoon of Kalonji oil or powder in curd and apply it on the gums, to reduce toothache.
Hemorrhoids also known as piles cause severe pain in the rectal region and Kalonji serves as an instant remedy in treating it. The laxative properties in the seed add bulk to the stool and treat constipation naturally. Take Kalonji seeds along with black tea on an empty stomach to ease bowel movements. Make a mixture of Kalonji oil and vinegar in equal amounts, warm it slightly and apply it on the affected areas for instant relief from pain.
Clears Cracked Heels:
There are many reasons that can cause cracked heels. Obesity, poorly fitting footwear, lack of moisture can lead to those ugly and painful cracks on the sole. Rub black seeds powder or oil on the affected area to clear the cracks. You can also mix Kalonji oil with lemon juice and massage on the sole. This mixture not only clears bacteria but also softens the skin.
Add a spoonful of these black caraway seeds to your daily diet for improving immunity and to provide energy for fighting various infections. Kalonji is a natural immune booster and it is used extensively in various cuisines not only for flavour but also for its quick healing properties. Studies reveal that these tiny seeds boost metabolism and help you get rid of laziness.
According to Ayurveda, Kalonji oil instantly cures eye related problems like eye redness, continuous watering. Being a powerhouse of various vitamins, these seeds also aid in improving vision and also prevent cataract. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend drinking ½ tsp of Kalonji oil along with a glass of fresh carrot juice to beat vision problems. However, talk to your doctor before taking Kalonji oil for eye-related problems.
Kalonji Seeds For Skin And Hair:
The black seeds or Kalonji, possess more than 100 medicinal properties and exhibit anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiseptic properties. It is loaded with organic acids and is a must-have ingredient in your daily skin and hair care. Kalonji seeds and oil can be used both for skin and hair related problems.
How To Use Kalonji For Skin:
If you are suffering acne, redness, pimples and blackheads, turn to Kalonji for help.
Home Remedies Using Kalonji Oil:
Kalonji and Olive Oil Pack:
½ tsp Kalonji Oil
1 tsp Olive Oil
Make a mixture of Kalonji oil and olive oil.
Apply it as a thin layer on the skin.
Let it dry for 15 minutes and wash with plain water.
Do it at least twice a week to prevent acne and for smoother skin.
How It Works:
Both Kalonji and Olive oil are a storehouse of anti-aging antioxidants, besides fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. These properties in both oils slow down the signs of aging, fight pigmentation and also treat a variety of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Kalonji Oil and Orange Juice:
½ tsp Kalonji oil
1 cup of orange juice
Mix Kalonji oil with fresh orange juice and drink it in the empty stomach to flush out the toxins, fight free radicals and to glow from within. You can drink this juice in the morning or before going to bed. One can notice changes within a week with skin gaining the glow back.
How It Works:
Kalonji oil and orange juice together serve as your beauty fix from within. These wonder ingredients aid in clearing clogged pores, prevent acne, pimples, wrinkles and fine lines. If you are too tanned, apply this mixture on the face and wash it away after 10 minutes. The vitamin C content fights free radicals and provides an instant glow.
Kalonji Oil For Hair Loss:
Kalonji oil extracted from the black seeds is one of the main ingredients in many herbal based shampoos and hair care products. The active component thymoquinone in Kalonji contains protein, alkaloids that effectively support hair growth and volume. Kalonji oil arrests hair fall reduces the aging of cells on the scalp and prevents hair thinning.
Blackseed and Coconut Oil Pack:
1 tsp black seed oil
1 tsp coconut oil
Warm both oils and rub on the scalp evenly.
Apply it more on the scalp for providing strength to the follicles.
Leave it for 30 minutes and wash it with a mild shampoo.
How It Works:
Blackseed and Castor Oil Pack:
1 tsp black seed oil
1 tsp castor oil
In a bowl, combine these oils.
Warm a little and apply it on the scalp from the roots to the tip
Let it stay for 30 minutes and wash it with a mild shampoo.
How It Works:
Castor oil and black seed oil are wonder ingredients from Mother Nature for promoting hair growth. These both ingredients are rich in vitamin E, minerals, proteins that exhibit hair growing properties besides curbing hair fall and ensure faster growth.
Kalonji is one such ancient seed that is often used as a spice in Indian, Middle Eastern cuisines. If you have found black seeds dotting your Naan, an Indian bread in a restaurant, be assured that these are Kalonji seeds. These black caraway seeds rich in fibre promote digestion, improve gut health and provide various nutrients to the body.
Include Kalonji based recipes in your daily diet to reap the benefits. You can also toss them in the tadka, salads or sprinkle it on a biscuit or other savory items.
1 cup Basmati rice
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp jeera
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 Tej Patta or Bay leaf
1 piece of cinnamon
2 cardamom, crushed
1 tsp Kalonji seeds
2 cups of water
Salt to taste
In a kadhai, heat ghee. Add bay leaf, ginger garlic paste, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves.
Fry well. Add finely sliced garlic cloves and fry till it turns brown.
Add water and let it boil. Add salt
Add soaked basmati rice to the water and let it cook till done.
Sprinkle Kalonji seeds, jeera and close the lid. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve hot with raita or vegetable stew.
Garlic provides ample amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium besides minerals like manganese, copper, iron, vitamin. The Indian spices cardamom, cinnamon, cloves along with ginger aid in digestion. Cooked Kalonji seeds keep you satiated for a long time, prevent hunger pangs provide necessary fibre to the body.
Like any other ingredient, Kalonji or black seeds should be taken in moderate amounts to avoid adverse effects. If you are planning to give Kalonji oil to the children below 5 years, talk to the doctor first. Studies reveal that Kalonji may slowdown the process of blood clotting and can worsen bleeding disorders. These tiny seeds may sometimes bring down blood sugars very low causing hypoglycemia. If you are scheduled for surgery, avoid taking these seeds or oil to prevent slow blood clotting.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or recovering from a surgery, seek doctor’s advice before consuming these seeds.