Black Seed Oil Benefits: History
Black seed oil history – Nigella sativa (Black Seed) was discovered in Tutankhamen’s tomb, implying that it played an important role in ancient Egyptian practices. Although its exact role in Egyptian culture is not known, we do know that items entombed with a king were carefully selected to assist him in the afterlife.
The earliest written reference to black seed is found in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament. Isaiah contrasts the reaping of black cumin with wheat: For the black cumin is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over the cumin, but the black cumin is beaten out with a stick, and the cumin with a rod. (Isaiah 28:25,27 NKJV). Easton’s Bible Dictionary clarifies that the Hebrew word for black cumin, “ketsah,” refers to “without doubt the Nigella sativa, a small annual of the order Ranunculaceae which grows wild in the Mediterranean countries, and is cultivated in Egypt and Syria for its seed.
Dioscoredes, a Greek physician of the first century, recorded that black seeds were taken to treat headaches, nasal congestion, toothache, and intestinal worms. They were also used, he reported, as a diuretic to promote menstruation and increase milk production.
The Muslim scholar Al-Biruni (973-1048), who composed a treatise on the early origins of Indian and Chinese drugs, mentions that the black seed is a kind of grain called alwanak in the Sigzi dialect. Later, this was confirmed by Suhar Bakht who explained it to be habb-i-Sajzi (viz. Sigzi grains). This reference to black seed as “grains” points to the seed’s possible nutritional use during the tenth and eleventh centuries.
In the Greco-Arab/Unani-Tibb system of medicine, which originated from Hippocrates, his contemporary Galen and Ibn Sina, black seed has been regarded as a valuable remedy in hepatic and digestive disorders and has been described as a stimulant in a variety of conditions, ascribed to an imbalance of cold humours.
Ibn Sina (980-1037), most famous for his volumes called “The Canon of Medicine,” regarded by many as the most famous book in the history of medicine, East and West, refers to black seed as the seed “that stimulates the body’s energy and helps recovery from fatigue or disspiritedness.
Black seed oil history is rich and has also been found in the list of natural drugs of Al-Tibb Al-Nabawi (prophetic medicine), and, according to tradition, “Hold onto the use of the black seed for it has a remedy for every illness except death.” This prophetic reference in describing black seed as “having a remedy for all illnesses” is not exaggerated. Recent research has provided evidence which indicates that black seed contains an ability to significantly boost the human immune system – if taken over time. The prophetic phrase, “hold onto the use of the seed,” also emphasizes consistent usage of the seed.
Black seed has been traditionally and successfully used in the Middle and Far East countries for centuries to treat ailments including bronchial asthma and bronchitis, rheumatism and related inflammatory diseases, to increase milk production in nursing mothers, to treat digestive disturbances, to support the body’s immune system, to promote digestion and elimination, and to fight parasitic infestation. Its oil has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and boils and is used topically to treat cold symptoms.
The many uses of black seed has earned for this medicinal herb the Arabic approbation habbatul barakah, meaning “the seed of blessing.”
If you have not read part one of this series I suggest you follow the link here and stay tuned for part 3 of this series on the benefits of black seed oil (Nigella sativa).