Nigella Peppery Herby Toasted onion

The main flavor compound of Nigella, nigellone, has an unique taste which has some similarity to oregano. The minor flavor compounds can be used to make more flavor pairings. The black seeds have a peppery, slightly bitter taste which reminds of charred onions. Used in many dishes around the world and its preservative properties are the reason Nigella is also used as a pickling spice.

Flavor chart nigella

NigellaThe spice Nigella is widely used throughout the world for centuries. Native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, the largest producer nowadays is India. The black seeds from the Nigella Sativa plant are known by many different names throughout the world. They are sometimes referred to as black seed, black cumin, or black onion seed. In Asia they go by the name ‘Kalonji’, and Nigella seeds are known in Arabic as ‘Habbatul Barakah’, which translates into ‘seed of blessing’.

In Islamic literature, Nigella is seen as one of greatest healing plants. The prophet Mohammed referred to the medicinal properties of Nigella as a ‘remedy for every illness except death’. Also mentioned in the Old and New Testament, and used in ancient Egypt and Greece, nigella has been cultivated for at least 3000 years.

Nigella seeds rank among the most extensively studied plant species in the world. These studies have shed a light on the many healthy properties these black seeds have. Nigellone is the main flavour compound responsible for the high antioxidant activity of Nigella seeds.

People with type2 diabetes can also benefit from adding Nigella seeds to their diet. Just 2 Grams daily positively influences the blood sugar control and the lipid profiles in the blood. When taken in conjunction with antidiabetic medications, the effects are even more remarkable. For a few cents daily, and no adverse effects, Nigella seeds can be a cheap and healthy addition to your diet. Always consult your health care practitioner before adding Nigella seeds when your also taking medications to control your type2 diabetes.

Perhaps the most impressive health benefit of Nigella seeds is their anticancer activity. Nigella seeds, and their extracts, have shown to possess antitumor activity against a wide range of different cancers. Because of the high antioxidant levels of Nigella seeds, normally cancer patients are recommended not to take antioxidant supplements during their chemo treatment, as this can interfere with the cytotoxic effects of the chemo. Nigella seeds, however, do not negate the effects of the chemo treatment but increase the efficacy of the chemo treatment. The exact mechanism how this works is not known, but it appears the antioxidant activity of Nigella is selective for cancer cells and not chemo therapeutic medicine. Another reason to consider the addition of Nigella seeds while have chemo treatment is that the seeds have shown to offer protection against some of the adverse effects of the chemo treatment.

To release the flavours of this healthy spice, the hard seeds can be ground up in a spice grinder and/or toasted in a dry frying pan, which creates pyrazine compounds, giving the seeds are more smoky flavour. Here are some of the health benefits of the Nigella seeds summed up:

  • Nigella seeds are antibacterial.
  • Nigella seeds are antifungal.
  • Nigella seeds are antiviral.
  • Nigella seeds are antiparasitic.
  • Nigella seeds can increase the male fertility, increasing the sperm counts.
  • Nigella seeds are antihypertensive, lowering homocysteine levels.
  • Nigella seeds are anticancer.
  • Nigella seeds increase the efficacy of chemo treatment for cancer.
  • Nigella seeds aid the digestion.
  • Nigella seeds are anti-inflammatory.
  • Nigella seeds can be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

A review on therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb

Overview of the preclinical pharmacological properties of Nigella sativa (black seeds): a complementary drug with historical and clinical significance

Nigella sativa L. (Black Cumin): A Promising Natural Remedy for Wide Range of Illnesses

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