The kalonji, or Nigella seeds, is an interesting spice – when used for tempering, it adds a beautiful aroma to the dishes, and a hint of flavour that you can’t quite nail. In India, dry roasted kalonji is used for flavouring curries, dal, stir-fried vegetables, and even savouries such as samosa, papdis and kachoriamong others.
Flavour and aroma aside, the tiny black seed comes with a whole lot of health benefits. It’s loaded with trace elements, vitamins, crystalline nigellone, amino acids, saponin, crude fiber, proteins and fatty acids like linolenic and oleic acids, volatile oils, alkaloids, iron, sodium, potassium and calcium. It keeps your heart healthy, addresses breathing problem, lubricates your joints, and is known to have anti-carcinogenic properties. That’s quite a lot for a seed that size, isn’t it? In fact, if you keep a bottle of kalonji oil at home, you can use them for plenty of things to boost your health and take care of niggling problems. Let’s take a look at some of them:
1. Fights Acne
Sweet lime juice and kalonji oil together can fix many skin problems. For every cup of sweet lime juice, you’ll need about half a teaspoon of kalonji oil. Apply the oil twice a day on your face and watch your blemishes and acne disappear. If you keep pure kalonji oil handy, you can use it to treat cracked heels as well.
2. Keeps a Check on Diabetes
This is probably one of the most known benefits of kalonji. If you already have diabetes, kalonji oil can also help to manage it. Take half a teaspoon of the oil in a cup of black tea every morning, and see the difference in a few weeks.
3. Increases Memory and Alleviates Asthma
Ground kalonji seeds with a little bit of honey is known to boost memory. And if you mix this in warm water and drink, it also helps in alleviating breathing trouble (asthma included) in children and adults alike. But you need to do this is for at least 45 days, and avoid cold beverages and food during the period.
4. Gets Rid of Headaches
One of the most common urban problems in today’s time is headaches. Instead of popping a pill, rub kalonji oil on your forehead, relax, and wait for your headache to disappear. Nothing like natural home remedies!
5. Aids Weight Loss
The warm water, honey, and lemon combination is often recommended for those who are on a diet. Now add a pinch of powdered kalonji seeds to this mix and see how it works. Many health enthusiasts have claimed that kalonji seeds is a miracle ingredient which helps in shedding those extra kilos.
6. Eases Joint Pain
It’s an old-school treatment; take a handful of kalonji seeds, and heat it well with mustard oil. Once the oil is smoking, take it off the flame and cool it down for a bit. The oil is ready when you can dip the tip of a finger into the oil without feeling uncomfortable. Now use this oil to massage the inflamed joint.
7. Controls Blood Pressure
For those who suffer from or have the tendency of high blood pressure can drink half a teaspoon of kalonji oil with warm water to keep hypertension under control. It is of course advised to follow a proper diet along with it.
8. Protects the Kidney
Kidney stones are a common urban problem. It is said that half a teaspoon of kalonji oil had with two teaspoons of honey and warm water can aid in getting rid of kidney pain, stones and infections. But you also need to consult a doctor to get a proper diet.
9. Makes Teeth Stronger
Did you know that kalonji has been used traditionally to take care of dental trouble such as swelling or bleeding of gums, and weak teeth? Of course you need to see a dentist, but you can also massage your teeth with curd and some kalonji oil twice a day to strengthen your gums.
10. Strengthens Immunity
Kalonji oil, honey and warm water have more than one benefit. Apart from the ones already mentioned, it can also help to strengthen your immunity if consumed daily. If you add kalonji oil in boiling water and inhale the fumes, it can also reduce nasal congestion, and help those who suffer from sinusitis problems.
When you’re buying nigella seeds, remember to check the pack carefully; the seeds are jet black and shouldn’t look stale.
Storing nigella is important. Always store it in a dry place and make sure it doesn’t come in contact with moisture.
Don’t buy large quantities of kalonji. 100 grams can take you a long way, so buy in smaller portions. This will prevent the seed from losing its aroma and benefits by sitting on the shelf for too long.