Looks familiar? Black seeds (nigella sativa) Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: You may or may not have heard of black seed (nigella sativa), but it’s time you did.

Available in grocery stores in town and known by names such as black caraway or black cumin, these ‘spice’ seeds are loaded with health benefits. The seeds are used to eliminate bacteria, lower high cholesterol and help ease symptoms of asthma and cough.

Originally, nigella sativa was used to treat migraines and allergies, but recent discoveries have shown that it is quite effective in destroying cancer cells too. Called gizhah or haba al barakah in Arabic, the seed is grown throughout the Middle East, India and Europe, and has long been used as a spice and food preservative.


How to use nigella sativa for therapeutic benefits

1.Asthma: Mix a teaspoon of nigella sativa seed oil in boiling water and inhale the vapour twice a day to get relief from asthma.

2.Cough: Tea and coffee lovers can add half a teaspoon of black seed oil to their daily brew to avoid dry cough which is usually caused by caffeine present in tea or coffee.

3.Post surgery: Tested on areas of post-operative trauma, nigella sativa was found to protect peritoneal (membrane that lines abdominal cavity walls) surfaces from scarring or adhesion formation.

4.High cholesterol: Mix 2.5ml of black seed oil in a cup of hot milk and drink it daily to dissolve body fats, reduce cholesterol as well as dilate veins and arteries.

5.Hairfall and headache: Apply black seed oil to the scalp after washing it with shampoo to stop hair fall and premature greying. The oil can also be applied to the forehead and on the sides of the face adjacent to the ears to cure headache and earache.