Kalonji or kalvanji, is also known as black seeds or sometimes black cumin seeds. This is a commonly used spice in our daily lives and has its recognized health benefits. This nutritionally dense seed has exceptional medicinal and therapeutic benefits. You can find countless kalonji benefits and will end up with a long list.
Let’s explore more about why these magic seeds are hyped so much and what are the potential benefits!
Kalonji is Seed of which Plant?
Kalonji plant or Nigella sativa belonging to the family Ranunculaceae is locally found in Eastern Europe and the western part of Asia. Nigella is derived from the Latin word Niger, meaning ‘black’ while Sativa refers to ‘cultivated’. Characterized by pale blue and white flowers, the plant can grow up to 60cm in height.
Other popular names of this plant are black seeds, nigella, black caraway, fennel flower, black cumin, kalvanji, kalanji and Habbat ul sawda.
This plant is known for its therapeutic properties, the plant is now cultivated in many parts of the world. Not only is it added as a spice to your favourite Pakistani and Indian cuisine but also is an important part of traditional medicines.
Several common forms of kalonji include;
Kalonji oil also known as black seeds oil is one of the most popular forms of kalonji that is known for its wide range of uses. Black seeds oil is extracted by pressing kalonji seeds. Kalonji oil is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Among many common uses of kalonji oil, hair, skin and reproductive health are pretty common. Moreover, kalonji oil is also known for sinus related problems.
Kalonji Seeds/ Black Seeds
Kalonji seeds is the most common form of kalonji seeds. These seeds can be directly consumed or can be converted into powder. Kalonji powder, kalonji phaki and kalonji capsules contain kalonji seeds in different forms.
How Much Kalonji to Take Daily?
Daily consumption of kalonji can vary according to the usage purpose. However, daily consumption of kalonji can be upto 2 grams in case of kalonji seeds. For kalonji oil, a safe daily consumption limit is upto 5ml.
Amazing Kalonji Benefits
Addressing the importance of kalonji, Hazrat Muhammad SAWW said, “In the black seed is healing for every disease except death” (Reference, Sahih Bukhai).
Practical use of black seeds dates back to the 1st century when an Unani Botanist named Discoroide wrote about the therapeutic benefits of kalonji. Black seeds have been the part of Islamic medicine and a part of Ayurveda for centuries. These seeds are used to treat many different diseases. Some of the known kalonji benefits are;
1- Kalonji for Skin
First and foremost, kalonji or kalvanji is used as a skin care agent. Normally found in your kitchen, these seeds can do magic to your skin. From affecting your skin’s texture to reducing skin pigmentation, kalonji is your go-to solution for many skin problems. Here’s how you can get maximum benefit and use kalonji as a skin care agent.
A- Kalonji for Acne
Kalonji is known for its antibacterial properties and can affect acne breakouts to a greater extent. Due to the ability of kalonji seeds to detoxify the skin as well as controlling the production of sebum, it can stop acne breakouts.
B- Kalonji for Skin Infections
Kalonji products, either seeds or oil are potent antimicrobial and due to this reason are to prevent and treat a variety of skin conditions. In laboratory studies, kalonji extracts were found to inhibit the growth of many bacterial and fungal strains. Other than that, the use of kalonji or kalvanji can also prevent parasitic infections showing efficacy against parasites and worms.
C- Kalonji Against Hypopigmentation
Skin pigmentation can affect its overall appearance and can be troubling for the sufferer. While you are trying many home remedies and medicinal treatments for it, don’t forget to consider kalonji. In either case, kalonji can help to fight the hypo and hyperpigmentations.
Vitiligo, a skin condition characterized by discoloured skin patches, can be treated by using kalonji oil and other products. Thymoquinone is the ingredient that can affect the production of melanin in the skin affecting skin colouration.
D- Kalonji for Spot Treatment
Thanks to the exceptional nutritional profile of black seeds that enables them to treat dark spots, scars and age spots. Kalonji oil, being rich in vitamins, amino acids and containing potentially skin-healthy fatty acids can affect the process of skin cell regeneration. This can help to lighten a different kind of skin spots ultimately reducing the skin spots.
E- Kalonji for Wound Healing
Another use of kalonji lies in its ability to heal wounds. Not only does it fight skin infection and reduce wound inflammation but also has a significant impact on growth factor production and is responsible for its wound healing potential.
F- Kalonji Fights Skin Ageing
Another way Kalonji oil and seeds can be beneficial for our skin is through their anti-ageing properties. Many clinical studies revealed that kalonji is able to fight skin ageing due to its anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic properties. Further, by maintaining skin elasticity and preventing the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, kalonji serves as an excellent anti-ageing product.
G- Kalonji Benefits for Skin Allergies
Kalonji has its recognized role as an anti-allergic agent and is effective against many hypersensitivity reactions. For example, the use of kalonji can effectively treat hand eczema/ psoriasis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Further, black seeds can also help to reduce skin rash and are effective against skin irritation.
2- Kalonji Benefits for Hair
Home remedies are our first resort against most of the problems and our hair health is not an exception to this. Using aloe vera for hair health and using popular hair serum, we are more likely to try all these things when it comes to hair problems. Kalonji is next in the list of hair care ingredients and too for very obvious reasons. Here are some of the uses of Kalonji for hair.
A- Kalonji Improves Scalp Health
One of the prominent causes of hair fall is poor scalp health. Our scalp holds the hair strands and is responsible for how our hair locks appear. Bad scalp health takes away its ability to anchor the hair follicles. The use of kalonji nourishes your hair follicles reducing the hair fall.
B- Kalonji Promotes Hair Growth
Black seeds are the natural hair growth boosters and regular usage of kalonji oil can promote hair growth. The secret lies in the composition of kalonji seeds. Kalonji/kalvanji seeds contain two active compounds known as nigellone and thymoquinone that are antihistamines and are reportedly used to treat hair fall.
C- Kalonji as Hair Conditioner
The role of protein in your hair health is a well-accepted fact. Be they your favourite protein treatments or supplements, amino acids subunits of the protein help to improve your hair texture. The presence of amino acid is a similar reason behind the efficacy of black seeds as natural hair conditioning.
D- Preventing Premature Hair Greying
Hair greying is a sign of ageing but premature hair greying is something no one is ready for. Premature hair greying occurs because of the reduction of black pigment cells present in your hair follicles. High linoleic acid present in kalonji can help to reverse premature hair ageing and can keep your hair black for longer times.
E- Kalonji for Hair Damage
Are you worried about those lifeless strands? Well, daily life stress, exposure to pollutants, sun damage and oxidative damage can wreak havoc on your hair health. You can rely on kalonji to prevent this hair damage due to its antioxidant properties as well as can reverse this damage. Nutritionally rich, kalonji oil can help to protect your hair against all the damage resulting in luscious hair locks.
F- Kalonji Oil as Hair Moisturizer
Among all other benefits of kalonji for hair health, hair moisturizing is an important one. Lack of moisture can make your hair look dry and frizzy, but don’t worry as kalonji oil is there for you.
The use of kalonji/kalvanji regulates the sebum production in your scalp that helps to keep your hair moisturized. Additionally, the presence of fatty amino acids in kalonji helps to seal the moisture in your hair shaft keeping hair frizziness at a bay.
G- Limiting Hair Fall
Other than hair damage and growth, hair fall affects your hair health to a greater extent. When it comes to the problem of hair loss, nutritional deficiency is the one prominent cause.
Nutritionally speaking, the presence of different amino acids and fatty acids along with vitamins and minerals act to nourish your hair follicles preventing hair loss. Further, scalp massage improves blood circulation and stimulates the hair follicles preventing hair loss.
To enjoy all these benefits, simply use the kalonji oil directly on your scalp. You can mix it with other oils such as olive and coconut oils.
3- Kalonji for Weight Loss
Black seeds, just like many other foods and drinks are known to aid weight loss. Just as eating right and burning calories are crucial steps in weight loss, your dietary patterns and appetite also place a key role. That’s exactly where black seeds are meant to work and help to shed those extra pounds.
Components present in black seeds are known to provide the basis of weight loss by changing the genetic expression of the gene that is responsible for the control of appetite and fat loss. It is important to remember eating kalonji alone can’t make you lose aid. It is only effective when combined with good lifestyle practices and eating a nutritionally sufficient but calorie deficient diet.
How to Use Kalonji for Weight Loss?
1- Add kalonji as a spice to your foods.
2- Use kalonji oil for preparing your foods.
3- Directly consume kalonji with water (lemon and honey is exceptional) on an empty stomach.
4- Kalonji for Immune Health
The immune system is a crucial determinant of a person’s overall wellbeing and determines how often a person will become sick. A strengthened immune system reduces your susceptibility to infections and diseases. Among many popular natural immune boosters, kalonji has its own place and the secret lies in its strong nutritional profile.
Nutritionally speaking, black seeds contain many types of carbs, proteins, fats and fibres. Other than that, kalonji seeds house good quality minerals (calcium, iron, sodium, potassium and phosphorus) and vitamins (A, E, C and K) that are responsible for the immune-boosting function.
5- Regulation of Blood Sugar Level
There is sufficient evidence to support the role of black seeds in the regulation of blood sugar level. Kalonji is effective to lessen both fasting and non-fasting sugar levels when consumed properly. For diabetics, it is advisable to consume kalonji tea on a daily basis to minimize their risk of diabetes prevention and control.
6- Kalonji/Kalvanji for Better Respiratory Function
Many factors including allergies and lung diseases are known to negatively affect our respiratory health. The use of kalonji can help to relieve the symptom of hay fever including itchy eyes, sneezing, stuffy nose etc. Besides this, the use of kalonji is considered to be effective against asthma. The anti-inflammatory properties of black seeds account for their ability to relieve asthma symptoms by reducing the inflammation of the airways and keeping them open.
How to Use Kalonji for Respiratory Health?
If you are suffering from asthma looking for a natural reliever, don’t forget to take ½ teaspoon of kalonji powder for 6-8 weeks. For nasal congestion and other related conditions, use 1-2 drops of black seeds oil to improve your respiratory health.
7- Kalonji for Heart Health
A healthy heart is the key to a healthy life!
Though we can’t deny the role of genetics, many of our lifestyle habits can take a toll on our heart health. Consumption of black seeds can improve your cardiac health in many ways by minimizing the risk factors for heart problems. Kalonji is good for your heart in many ways;
- The use of kalonji can help to control your blood pressure.
- Kalonji can also regulate the cholesterol level (reducing bad cholesterol and increasing the good cholesterol) of your blood.
- Further, black seeds can fight effectively against heart inflammation.
8- Black Seeds for Digestive Health
Consumption of kalonji/kalvanji is known to aid the process of digestion in the body. Other than that, kalonji can also help to improve your liver health by reducing oxidative stress and preventing liver damage.
9- Kalonji for Reproductive Health
Talking about the health benefits of kalonji, reproductive health is next on the list. Let’s see how kalonji helps to improve male and female reproductive health.
A- Kalonji Benefits for Male
Black seeds are nutritionally dense and a source of many important vitamins and minerals that are critical for male’s sexual health. Talking about the health benefits of kalonji for men, kalonji consumption affects the level of testosterone in the body and positively affects the process of sperm formation. Other than that, male factor infertility is also affected by kalonji due to its direct impact on sperm formation and sperm mobility.
B- Kalonji Benefits for Females
Many of us are already aware of the health benefits of kalonji for female health. Seed cycling is a years-old practice that is used to regulate reproductive hormone production by eating different seeds (and kalonji is one of them). Seed cycling helps to maintain hormonal balance, relieve menopause symptoms and boost fertility.
10- Kalonji as an Anti-Cancer Agent
Either in the traditional medicine system or the modern one, the black seed is known for its anticancerous activity. Due to its anti-oxidative properties, black seed extract can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Black seeds are effective against many different types of cancers including colon, skin, and pancreas cancer.
11- Other Kalonji Benefits
Alongside all these benefits, there are many other lesser-known benefits of Kalonji. These include;
- Better oral health
- Improved memory
- Natural pain reliever
- Potential anti-inflammatory agent
How to Use Black Seeds?
Many of the kalonji benefits depend upon how it is being used as only the right usage can impart most of the kalonji benefits.
Depending upon your usage, you can either consume kalonji directly and eat seeds with water. Other than that, drinking black seeds tea and using kalonji oil are other good ways to take the maximum benefits of kalonji. Other than these, kalonji oil is another widely used form of black seeds.
Kalonji Side Effects and Risks
Though there are many science-backed kalonji benefits and you can use kalonji in many ways, there are always questions on the safety of such remedies. Similar is the case with kalonji! Black seeds or kalonji, when consumed in smaller quantities for limited time periods are potentially harmless and can be used to treat many ailments. But there are also many kalonji side effects that can add to the problem.
However, there are also certain considerations regarding the use of black seeds, including;
- Oral consumption of black seeds is safe for children only in smaller amounts and for the short term.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels if you are using kalonji seeds with diabetes as it can lower down the sugar level.
- Consult your physician before using kalonji seeds with the bleeding disorder as it can make it worse.
- Pregnant women should be careful while consuming kalonji seeds because their consumption can affect their uterine contractions.
- Keep a check on your blood pressure because kalonji can also reduce it.
- If you are previously using medications, it is advisable to discuss them with your physician before starting using them.
Loaded with essential nutrients and minerals, kalonji or black seeds (Nigella sativa) are the superfoods. These magic seeds have a cure for everything. Starting from your heart health to boosting your immune system, kalonji seeds do it all.
Depending upon your usage, you can either use kalonji/kalvanji seeds or kalonji oil or use it accordingly. Despite all these kalonji benefits, its seeds should be considered in moderation to avail the maximum benefit out of it.
If you are also considering adding kalonji seeds to your diet, it is better to consider a health expert in order to make an informed decision.