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Black Seed - Ancient Natural Medicine

 
pollinator
Posts: 928
Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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Scientific Name: Nigella Sativa
Common Names: Black Cumin, Black Seed, Kalonji, Kala Jeera, Kalajeera



First I herd of this today and I wanted to share after finding no information on this here at Permies. Now I am very critical in evaluating the trustworthiness of medical claims but one thing I have learned is in cases of a plant being used for centuries it typically is justifiable. We should give our ancestors a little more credit! Now, there is a number of scientific articles evaluating the effectiveness which I site at the bottom of the page. Additionally I found information on WebMD which supports the notion of black seed's effectiveness in complementing treatment for numerous health conditions (link in references). Apparently Nestle corp has filed a patent application covering use of Nigella sativa as a food allergy treatment. There is also mention of this plant in the Koran as being used for medicinal purpose.

Summary of Health Attributes (not complete)
  • Effective anti-inflammatory
  • Evidence as an antihistamine
  • Edible culinary spice
  • Slightly toxic in large doses (dosage size needs confirmation)
  • Evidence of anti-neoplastic properties (anti tumor)
  • Used to clear congestion in sinus due to natural melanthin (similar to vapor rub)
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Used for intestinal parasites
  • Used to treat stomach ulcers

  • Growing Attributes
    Cycle: Annual
    Germination: 60-70 degrees F for 2-3 weeks
    Sun Exposure: Full sun
    Soil Conditions: Well drained
    Soil pH: Undocumented
    Bloom: July to August in northern hemisphere (estimate according to various blogs)

    Harvest (consolidated from two online sources)



    (above) This is the flower before it is ready to be harvested. Note the seed pod is still protecting the seeds as the plant is not ready to disperse.



    Harvest time is ideal when most of the balloon-shaped seed pods are peeled back exposing seed.



    Insert it upside down inside a paper bag, tie the bag closed and then cut the plant at the base. Hang the plants in a dry, airy spot so that the seed pods can continue to ripen. If a plastic bag is used, leave open to air dry.



    Once the seed pods have all dried, give the bag a good shake to release the seeds.



    Final product.


    References:
    http://www.greenmedinfo.com/substance/nigella-sativa-aka-black-seed
    http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-901-BLACK%20SEED.aspx?activeIngredientId=901&activeIngredientName=BLACK%20SEED
    http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/54609/#b
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella_sativa
    http://outofmyshed.co.uk/tag/how-to-collect-nigella-seeds/
     
    Mother Tree
    Posts: 11125
    Location: Portugal
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    Thanks for sharing that, Amedean!

    Nigella Sativa is one of the five spices in panch phoron, which is my 'go to' chutney making spice.



    They are the little black seeds visible in the mix, and from what I can make out they are often referred to as 'black onion seeds', though I'm not really sure why...

     
    Amedean Messan
    pollinator
    Posts: 928
    Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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    I was alerted to this when somebody posted a link on Facebook. It is not very well known to us in the west but I find no reason for if not to be cultivated here. It would be a good potential niche cash crop for a permaculturalist. You dont find too many of these in farmers markets around here.
     
    author
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    Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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    Black Seed grows and harvests very easily for me. It is one of the easiest spices to produce in a carefree way, second only to corriander and dill. It has a very nice flavor too. Definietly should be more grow and used in our culture.
     
    Amedean Messan
    pollinator
    Posts: 928
    Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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    Adam Klaus wrote:Black Seed grows and harvests very easily for me. It is one of the easiest spices to produce in a carefree way, second only to corriander and dill. It has a very nice flavor too. Definietly should be more grow and used in our culture.



    Well that is encouraging. It sounds like a resilient plant. I can't say much about flavor as a spice because I have not sampled it yet but I am looking forward to trying a sample in the near future. It could be a more sustainable spice to add into my arsenal in the kitchen.
     
    pollinator
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    yep, super easy to grow, very powerful. "the cure for everything but death" i have seen it credited with...

    i also grow other nigella and eat the seeds too. they dont get the same press, and its hard to find info on it, but nigella damascena seeds are also edible, aka love in a mist.
    really easy to grow, dont need much water, and they self seed.
     
    leila hamaya
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    Amedean Messan wrote:[i][size=18] Apparently Nestle corp has filed a patent application covering use of Nigella sativa as a food allergy treatment.



    this is freaky though. how can they patent it? i guess this is a rhetorical question, but i wouldn't think they could do that since its an heirloom ?
    or perhaps i am misunderstanding and they are patenting just its use as a "food allergy treatment" not the plant?

    anyway thats weird....i dont think they could enforce that patent?
     
    Amedean Messan
    pollinator
    Posts: 928
    Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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    leila hamaya wrote:

    this is freaky though. how can they patent it? i guess this is a rhetorical question, but i wouldn't think they could do that since its an heirloom ?
    or perhaps i am misunderstanding and they are patenting just its use as a "food allergy treatment" not the plant?

    anyway thats weird....i dont think they could enforce that patent?



    Tell me about it! Well, hopefully the patent is not too overreaching and additionally I hope the Patent Office does its job well. They may have filed a patent but that does not guarantee approval.
     
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