Nigella Seeds

What are its benefits?

In addition to their use in cooking in parts of Africa and Asia, nigella seeds have been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of conditions, and research now provides a scientific foundation for some of these uses:

  • One of the primary constituents of Nigella seed oil, thymoquinone, has antioxidant effects.
  • Nigella seed oil was shown to inhibit production of pro-inflammatory molecules called eiconsanoids. This supports the use of nigella seeds for relief of inflammation-related ailments.
  • While pursuing studies of a weak or porous intestinal barrier as a contributor to mental disorders (through failure to keep food antigens or environmental toxins from passing farther into the body), researchers found that Nigella sativa protected the intestinal mucosa and suppressed the growth of potentially harmful gut microbiota.
  • Extracts of nigella seed were found to have antifungal and antibacterial effects in numerous studies.

What is it?

The fruit of an annual herb (Nigella sativa) yields many Nigella seeds, very small black seeds that have a somewhat bitter, pungent flavor. These seeds are also known by other names, such as black seed, black cumin, black carraway, black onion seeds, and kalonji. The plant is grown in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and India, and it has been used in cooking and as a medicine in these areas for centuries.


Nigella seeds provide a number of nutrients, including calcium, iron, zinc, copper, thiamin, niacin, phosphorous, and folic acid. They contain a bioactive component called thymoquinone, which has shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other therapeutic qualities, such as preventing cell damage.