The benefits of black cumin seeds are proven to be vast, and this food should be considered as an additive to your diet!

Black Cumin, or Kalonji, is a spice that gives dishes a wonderful aroma and helps them to taste delicious. It also has medicinal properties and is perfect for health.

This natural remedy can be used for various conditions, including diabetes, forgetfulness, heart problems, constipation, skin problems, and pain. Let’s explore the benefits of black cumin seeds!

Kalonji seed and oil boost the immune system and fight bacteria and viruses that cause illness. It is also effective against allergies.

Several studies have also shown that it is helpful in the prevention of cancer. When compared with other oils, Kalonji oil is the most potent. It can also be used to treat rheumatism and to maintain a healthy heart and liver.

The medicinal properties of Kalonji make it popular in addition to its culinary use. Historically, it has been used to treat diseases such as bronchitis and diarrhea [1].

Before discussing its health benefits, let us discuss what black cumin is and what its nutritional value is. Also see Benefits Of Cayenne Pepper, Organic Turmeric, and Annatto!

Black cumin on white background

What Is Black Cumin Seed?

Kalonji is also known as nigella, black cumin, and Nigella sativa. It is a herb in the buttercup family of plants.

Kalonji or Black cumin is the name given to plants in the Ranunculaceae family with flowers of a pale purple or white color. The Nigella sativa plant grows mainly in Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and the Middle East.

The seeds of Nigella sativa (N. Sativa) resemble sunflower seeds and are solid black. Several benefits are associated with the Kalonji seed.

Kalonji or black seeds are used in different cultures worldwide, including in cooking and medicine. Kalonji has a very distinctive flavor and aroma, making it a popular spice in Pakistan, India, and the Middle East for flavoring.

History of Black Cumin Seeds

Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), who is one of Islam’s most influential figures, said, as narrated by Abu Huraira (RA):

Rasool Allah (PBUH) told me, “Black seeds cure every disease except death and they are called shoneez.”.

Traditional medicine has been used for centuries in many cultures. Kalonji is recorded in history to have been used by the ancient Assyrians & Egyptians nearly three thousand years ago. 

Several ancient texts and historical documents mention black cumin seed for its therapeutic properties and its capacity to support the body in healing itself naturally. 

The seeds of black cumin have been found in several ancient Egyptian tombs, including that of Tutankhamun, the Egyptian Pharaoh. In ancient times, black cumin seeds were regarded as a beauty secret. 

Queen Nefertiti, known for her complexion, was a regular user of the spice. A famous Roman philosopher and author, Pliny the Elder, crushed black seeds and mixed them with vinegar and honey to treat snakebite and scorpion stings.

Black cumin seed was discussed by a Persian physician and philosopher named Avicenna in a text called The Canon of Medicine, a work regarded as a landmark in the history of medicine and utilized throughout Europe until the age of the 17th century.

Kalonji offers several health benefits for your kitchen. There are dozens of dishes that use it, including pickles, kadhi, samosas, dals, papdis, and kachoris.

There are many forms of it, including kalonji oil, roasted seeds, raw seeds, etc. They are added to dishes to enhance their flavor, even though they have a bitter taste when eaten raw.

Black Cumin Seed Nutrition Facts:

There is a high nutritional value to tiny, black Kalonji seeds. It is rich in nutrients and contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and oils. 

Kalonji seeds are full of vitamins, including Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin B2, and Vitamin B12. It contains crude fibers, amino acids, iron, sodium, calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and selenium. Kalonji seeds are also high in oil fibers and minerals, such as calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and selenium. 

Black cumin leaves are a source of Linoleic acid, Oleic acid, Thymoquinone, and Nigellone. Kalonji oil contains essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, making it better than other oils. It had 17% protein, 26% carbohydrates, and 57% plant fats.

Black cumin in a brown bowl on a white background

Health Benefits of Black Cumin Seeds (Kalonji)

1. A Rich Source of Antioxidants

The antioxidants in our body neutralize free radicals, which cause cell damage. Researchers have found that antioxidants can play a significant role in keeping us healthy.

Antioxidants have been associated with protection against many chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity [2].

This plant’s potent antioxidant properties can be attributed to several compounds, including thymoquinone, carvacrol, t-anethole, and 4-terpineol [3].

In a recent study, kalonji essential oil was also an antioxidant [4].

To determine whether Kalonji’s antioxidants have any effect on the human body, further studies are required.

2. Cancer-Fighting Potential

Kalonji is packed with antioxidants that neutralize free radicals that can cause cancer. This treatment targets breast cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

Kalonji is high in antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals, which may contribute to the growth of cancer cells.

Studies have shown that Kalonji and thymoquinone, their active compound, have anti-cancer effects.

One study found that thymoquinone caused cellular death in blood cancer cells. [5].

In another study, kalonji extract inhibited breast cancer cells. [6].

Kalonji and its components are effective against various types of cancer. These include pancreatic, lung, cervical, prostate, skin, and colon cancer [7].

However, no human studies have shown that Kalonji is anti-cancer. When used as a spice or supplement, it is necessary to investigate whether Kalonji has any cancer-fighting properties.

3. Lowers Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a substance that looks like fat and is found throughout your body. Cholesterol is necessary for our bodies, but excessive amounts can increase the risk of heart disease.

A study found that Kalonji reduced cholesterol incredibly well. According to one review of 17 studies, supplementing with Kalonji significantly reduced both total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides.

Furthermore, kalonji seed powder did not have a more significant effect than kalonji seed oil. However, only seed powder raised levels of “good” HDL cholesterol [8].

In another study, supplementing with Kalonji for one year decreased total LDL cholesterol and increased HDL cholesterol in 57 individuals with diabetes [9].

In a study of 94 people with diabetes, Kalonji reduced total LDL cholesterol when taken daily for 12 weeks [10].

4. Helps Kill Bacteria

Many dangerous infections are caused by bacteria, ranging from ear infections to pneumonia. Several studies suggest that Kalonji may be antibacterial and effective against certain forms of bacteria.

In a study, Kalonji was used topically to treat infants with staphylococcal skin infections, and researchers found it to be as effective as a standard antibiotic [11]. 

Several studies have isolated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), which is challenging to treat and resistant to antibiotics, from diabetic wounds.

As a result of the Kalonji treatment, the bacteria were killed in over half of the samples [12]. In several other studies, Kalonji inhibits both MRSA and many different strains of bacteria [13, 14].

Human studies are limited, and further studies are needed to determine whether Kalonji affects different bacteria strains.

5. Supports Liver Health

Our livers play an essential role in our bodies. A healthy body’s liver removes toxins, metabolizes drugs, processes nutrients, and produces vital proteins and chemicals. According to some studies conducted on animals, Kalonji may protect the liver against injury and damage.

An experiment involved rats injected with toxic chemicals containing or without Kalonji. As a result, Kalonji reduced the chemical’s toxicity and prevented liver and kidney damage [15].

Another animal study showed that Kalonji prevented liver damage in rats compared to a control group [16].

According to one study, Kalonji may have protective effects due to its antioxidant content and ability to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress [17].

However, more research is needed to determine if Kalonji affects liver health in humans.

6. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Numerous negative symptoms may result from high blood sugar, including fatigue, thirst, and loss of weight unintentionally.

The long-term effects of high blood sugar can include nerve damage, vision changes, and slow wound healing. Kalonji may prevent these dangerous side effects by regulating blood sugar levels.

In one review of seven studies, supplementing with Kalonji helped lower fasting and average blood sugar levels [18].

According to another study, taking Kalonji for three months significantly reduced fasting blood sugar, average blood sugar, and insulin resistance in 94 individuals [19].

7. Prevents Stomach Ulcers

A stomach ulcer occurs when stomach acid eats away at the protective mucus layer lining the stomach. Several studies show that Kalonji may help preserve the stomach lining and prevent ulcers.

One animal study treated 20 rats with stomach ulcers with Kalonji. In addition to causing healing effects in nearly 83% of rats, this medication was almost as effective as a commonly used medication to treat ulcers [20].

A second study on animals revealed that Kalonji and its active components prevent ulcer growth and protect the stomach lining against the effects of alcohol [21].

Keep in mind that research on Kalonji is limited to animal studies. More research is needed to determine how Kalonji may affect human stomach ulcer development.

black cumin seeds on crackers

Other Health Benefits of Kalonji

1. Dental Benefits of Kalonji

Kalonji benefits your overall oral health, such as bleeding gums and weak teeth. It is conducive to treating tooth pain. You can improve your oral health by mixing half a teaspoon of Kalonji oil with a cup of curd twice a day.

Many diseases can affect teeth, including plaque, cavities, swelling of gums, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and periodontitis. A toothache is more likely to occur as your teeth lose strength.

You can treat your dental problems naturally with kalonji seed oil. You can also use it for toothaches.

2. Cold & Cough Remedy With Kalonji Seed Oil

Kalonji seed oil is also helpful in naturally curing coughs and colds. You can make a decoction during the winter using warm water, honey, and kalonji seeds. Take the decoction two times daily to kill all the bacteria responsible for coughs and colds.

3. Effects of Kalonji Seeds on Constipation

Constipation can ruin your whole day. Your appetite is also affected by constipation. Our digestive system is affected by the most prevalent gastrointestinal disease.

If you drink herbal tea with kalonji seed, it can help you cure your constipation problem more efficiently and quickly.

4. For Cracked Heels, We Recommend Kalonji Oil.

Sometimes, you develop a cracked heel problem as you age. They look embarrassing and unattractive. People with dry skin suffer from this problem the most. 

Soak your feet in warm water containing one teaspoon of Kalonji seed oil and lemon juice to heal cracked heels. You will see a drastic improvement within a few days.

5. Enhances Memory 

Adding honey to Kalonji seeds aids in improving your intelligence. They should be eaten before breakfast. Elderly people with weak memory will significantly benefit from this. 

In Ayurveda, eating seeds of Kalonji and mint leaves is recommended to improve memory and prevent neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s.

6. Relieve Headaches

Rather than taking unnecessary modern medicine pills, use natural remedies. You can reduce an intense headache by rubbing Kalonji oil on your forehead.

7. Asthma Relief

Asthma is becoming more common due to pollution. People living with Asthma should take Kalonji as it is powerful medicine. You can drink it by mixing Kalonji oil with warm water and honey.

8. Treat Skin and Hair Problems.

Nobody wants to look bad, right? Then Kalonji can help. It works to keep skin and hair healthy. Its oil can be used with lime juice to leave your skin glowing. There are many nutrients in Kalonji that can strengthen your hair and prevent hair loss.

9. Kidney Protection

A study found that Kalonji effectively reduced diabetic nephropathy (a complication of diabetes affecting the kidneys) by lowering blood sugar, serum creatinine, and urea levels. Infections and kidney stones are also treated with it.

10. Reduces Inflammation

This normal immune response protects the body from injury and infection.

Various chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, are thought to be triggered by chronic inflammation [22].

It has been shown that Kalonji can reduce inflammation in the body. When taken daily for eight weeks, Kalonji oil reduced inflammation and oxidative stress markers in 42 people with rheumatoid arthritis [23].

In another study, rats’ brains and spinal cord were also inflammatory. It was found that Kalonji prevented and suppressed inflammation more effectively than a placebo [24].

Additionally, in a test-tube study, Kalonji’s active compound, thymoquinone, effectively reduced inflammation in pancreatic cancer cells [25].

These results are promising, but most human studies are limited to certain conditions. Further research is needed to understand how Kalonji affects inflammation in general.

How to Use Black Cumin Seeds?

You can add Kalonji to your diet in a variety of ways. It is often used in Middle Eastern and South Asian cooking because of its bitter taste compared to oregano and onions.

To enhance the flavor of bread or curry dishes, it’s usually lightly toasted and then ground or used whole.

Some people mix the seeds with honey or water and eat them raw. Oatmeal, smoothies, and yogurt can also contain seeds.

Also, many people dispense the oil topically as a natural remedy for treating skin conditions, promoting hair growth, and reducing inflammation.

For a quick and concentrated dose of Kalonji, supplements are available in capsule or soft gel form.

Possible Allergies and Side Effects of Black Seed

Most people find Kalonji to be a safe and effective flavoring agent. If taken in small quantities, it does not have any side effects. In addition to its medicinal properties, it should be used for a short period.

When taken in small amounts, Kalonji or black seeds are safe for children. However, large amounts of it can lead to low blood pressure and low blood sugar, which are life-threatening.

Kalonji can be added to food during pregnancy. However, consuming it in large amounts or regularly could be harmful to a fetus.

The effects of breastfeeding are not entirely understood. As a result, you must avoid using it while breastfeeding to be on the safe side. 

If you have had or plan to undergo any surgery, you should not take this product. There is a possibility of bleeding during or after surgery, which might interfere with your procedure.

The seeds also accelerate the clotting process. If you suffer from bleeding disorders, you may be at risk from spices, as they are warm. The result could be nosebleeds.

Kalonji seed oil can significantly lower blood sugar levels, so you need to regularly check your status if you are taking it for diabetes.

Kalonji oil should also be checked periodically for any side effects since low blood sugar levels can make you ill. It can also dramatically lower blood pressure, and you should stop its use if any results appear.

Kalonji May Not Be Right for Everyone

There are many health benefits associated with Kalonji, and it’s generally safe as a spice or seasoning; however, taking kalonji supplements or using kalonji oil can have risks.

The application of Kalonji to the skin has been reported to cause contact dermatitis. If you plan to use it topically, patch test it first to ensure you won’t have an allergic reaction [26].

In some test-tube studies, Kalonji and its components have been shown to affect blood clotting. Consult your doctor before taking kalonji supplements if you take blood clotting medication [27].

Additionally, one animal study indicated that Kalonji could slow uterine contractions when consumed in large amounts, even though some studies indicate the oil can be safely consumed during pregnancy [28,29].

Pregnant women should use it in moderation and consult their physician if they have concerns.


A variety of culinary and medicinal uses are associated with the seeds of the Kalonji plant. It has been used historically as a remedy for many different ailments and is associated with many health benefits.

However, many have only been tested in test tubes or with animals. When included as part of your diet or used as a supplement, Kalonji could positively affect several aspects of your health, though more research is needed.

Other Related Articles

  1. What Is Allspice?
  2. Substitute For Cumin
  3. Health Benefits Of Ginger
  4. How To Make Onion Powder
  5. Carob

If you enjoyed this post about the Benefits of Black Cumin Seed and would love to see more, join me on YoutubeInstagramFacebook & Twitter!

Get discounted copies of my cookbook here.

Fortunately, because of the ads on our website, readers and subscribers of Healthier Steps are sponsoring many underprivileged families. Thank you!

Also, please leave a star rating! ;-)


  1. Ahmad, A., Husain, A., Mujeeb, M., Khan, S. A., Najmi, A. K., Siddique, N. A., … & Anwar, F. (2013). A review on therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb. Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine, 3(5), 337-352.
  2. Pham-Huy, L. A., He, H., & Pham-Huy, C. (2008). Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health. International journal of biomedical science: IJBS, 4(2), 89.
  3. Leong, X. F., Rais Mustafa, M., & Jaarin, K. (2013). Nigella sativa and its protective role in oxidative stress and hypertension. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.
  4. Burits, M., & Bucar, F. (2000). Antioxidant activity of Nigella sativa essential oil. Phytotherapy research, 14(5), 323-328.
  5. El‐Mahdy, M. A., Zhu, Q., Wang, Q. E., Wani, G., & Wani, A. A. (2005). Thymoquinone induces apoptosis through activation of caspase‐8 and mitochondrial events in p53‐null myeloblastic leukemia HL‐60 cells. International journal of cancer, 117(3), 409-417.
  6. Farah, I. O., & Begum, R. A. (2003). Effect of Nigella sativa (N. sativa L.) and oxidative stress on the survival pattern of MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Biomedical Sciences Instrumentation, 39, 359-364.
  7. Khan, A., Chen, H. C., Tania, M., & Zhang, D. Z. (2011). Anticancer activities of Nigella sativa (black cumin). African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 8(5S).
  8. Sahebkar, A., Beccuti, G., Simental-Mendia, L. E., Nobili, V., & Bo, S. (2016). Nigella sativa (black seed) effects on plasma lipid concentrations in humans: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Pharmacological research, 106, 37-50.
  9. Badar, A., Kaatabi, H., Bamosa, A., Al-Elq, A., Abou-Hozaifa, B., Lebda, F., … & Al-Almaie, S. (2017). Effect of Nigella sativa supplementation over a one-year period on lipid levels, blood pressure and heart rate in type-2 diabetic patients receiving oral hypoglycemic agents: nonrandomized clinical trial. Annals of Saudi medicine, 37(1), 56-63.
  10. Kaatabi, H., Bamosa, A. O., Lebda, F. M., Al Elq, A. H., & Al-Sultan, A. I. (2012). Favorable impact of Nigella sativa seeds on lipid profile in type 2 diabetic patients. Journal of family & community medicine, 19(3), 155.
  11. Rafati, S., Niakan, M., & Naseri, M. (2014). Anti-microbial effect of Nigella sativa seed extract against staphylococcal skin Infection. Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 28, 42.
  12. Emeka, L. B., Emeka, P. M., & Khan, T. M. (2015). Antimicrobial activity of Nigella sativa L. seed oil against multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolated from diabetic wounds. Pakistan journal of pharmaceutical sciences, 28(6).
  13. Hannan, A., Saleem, S., Chaudhary, S., Barkaat, M., & Arshad, M. U. (2008). Anti bacterial activity of Nigella sativa against clinical isolates of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad, 20(3), 72-74.
  14. Morsi, N. M. (2000). Antimicrobial effect of crude extracts of Nigella sativa on multiple antibiotics-resistant bacteria. Acta Microbiologica Polonica, 49(1), 63-74.
  15. Al-Ghasham, A., Ata, H. S., El-Deep, S., Meki, A. R., & Shehada, S. (2008). Study of protective effect of date and Nigella sativa on aflatoxin B1 toxicity. International journal of health sciences, 2(2), 26.
  16. Yildiz, F., Coban, S., Terzi, A., Ates, M., Aksoy, N., Cakir, H., … & Bitiren, M. (2008). Nigella sativa relieves the deleterious effects of ischemia reperfusion injury on liver. World journal of gastroenterology: WJG, 14(33), 5204.
  17. Mollazadeh, H., & Hosseinzadeh, H. (2014). The protective effect of Nigella sativa against liver injury: a review. Iranian journal of basic medical sciences, 17(12), 958.
  18. Daryabeygi-Khotbehsara, R., Golzarand, M., Ghaffari, M. P., & Djafarian, K. (2017). Nigella sativa improves glucose homeostasis and serum lipids in type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary therapies in medicine, 35, 6-13.
  19. Bamosa, A. O., Kaatabi, H., Lebdaa, F. M., Elq, A. M., & Al-Sultanb, A. (2010). Effect of Nigella sativa seeds on the glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol, 54(4), 344-54.
  20. Bukhari, M. H., Khalil, J., Qamar, S., Qamar, Z., Zahid, M., Ansari, N., & Bakhshi, I. M. (2011). Comparative gastroprotective effects of natural honey, Nigella sativa and cimetidine against acetylsalicylic acid induced gastric ulcer in albino rats. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak, 21(3), 151-6.
  21. El-Abhar, H. S., Abdallah, D. M., & Saleh, S. (2003). Gastroprotective activity of Nigella sativa oil and its constituent, thymoquinone, against gastric mucosal injury induced by ischaemia/reperfusion in rats. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 84(2-3), 251-258.
  22. Hunter, P. (2012). The inflammation theory of disease: The growing realization that chronic inflammation is crucial in many diseases opens new avenues for treatment. EMBO reports, 13(11), 968-970.
  23. Amizadeh, S., Rashtchizadeh, N., Khabbazi, A., Ghorbanihaghjo, A., Ebrahimi, A. A., Vatankhah, A. M., … & Taghizadeh, M. (2020). Effect of Nigella sativa oil extracts on inflammatory and oxidative stress markers in Behcet’s disease: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 10(2), 181.
  24. Noor, N. A., Fahmy, H. M., Mohammed, F. F., Elsayed, A. A., & Radwan, N. M. (2015). Nigella sativa amliorates inflammation and demyelination in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis-induced Wistar rats. International journal of clinical and experimental pathology, 8(6), 6269.
  25. Chehl, N., Chipitsyna, G., Gong, Q., Yeo, C. J., & Arafat, H. A. (2009). Anti-inflammatory effects of the Nigella sativa seed extract, thymoquinone, in pancreatic cancer cells. Hpb, 11(5), 373-381.
  26. Steinmann, A., Schätzle, M., Agathos, M., & Brett, R. (1997). Allergic contact dermatitis from black cumin (Nigella sativa) oil after topical use. Contact dermatitis, 36(5), 268-269.
  27. Muralidharan-Chari, V., Kim, J., Abuawad, A., Naeem, M., Cui, H., & Mousa, S. A. (2016). Thymoquinone modulates blood coagulation in vitro via its effects on inflammatory and coagulation pathways. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17(4), 474.
  28. Salarinia, R., Rakhshandeh, H., Oliaee, D., Ghasemi, S. G., & Ghorbani, A. (2016). Safety evaluation of Phytovagex, a pessary formulation of Nigella sativa, on pregnant rats. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 6(1), 117.
  29. Aqel, M., & Shaheen, R. (1996). Effects of the volatile oil of Nigella sativa seeds on the uterine smooth muscle of rat and guinea pig. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 52(1), 23-26.