(Boiss.) B. Fedtsch.
Bunium persicum or black cumin is a plant in the family Apiaceae. Dried B. persicum fruits are used as a culinary spice in Northern India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Iran. Local names for that spice are काला जीरा (kala jeera, meaning "black cumin") or shahi jeera (meaning "imperial cumin") in Hindi, as زيره كوهی ("zireh kuhi", meaning "wild cumin") in Persian and as сиёх дона ("siyoh dona" meaning "black seed") in Tajiki. It is practically unknown outside these areas, and is not to be confused with the unrelated Nigella sativa which is also often called black cumin.
The plant grows wild in a wide range from southeastern Europe east to southern Asia. It reaches about 60 cm tall and 25 cm wide, bearing frilly leaves and hermaphroditic flowers, pollinated by insects and self-fertile.
Authorities differ on whether this is the same plant as Bunium bulbocastanum, with similar characteristics and uses.
Black Cumin The healing Power and Curative Properties
The fruit is a rich source of thymol. Thymol is used as an anthelmintic against hookworm infections and also as an antiseptic in many proprietary preparations. It is a stimulant, which increases the secretion and discharge of urine and relieves flatulence. It strengthens the functions of stomach and arrests any bleeding.
Cumin seeds are very useful in digestive disorders like biliousness, morning sickness, indigestion, atonics dyspepsia, diarrhea, malabsorption syndrome, and flatulent colic. One teaspoon of cumin seeds is boiled in a glass of water and the decoction mixed with one teaspoon of fresh coriander leaf juice and a pinch of salt. This decoction can be taken twice daily after meals as a medicine for diarrhea.
Piles / Hemorrhoids
Black cumin is beneficial in the treatment of piles or hemorrhoids. About 60 grams of the suds, of which half should be roasted, should be ground together. Three grams of this flour should be taken with water.
Cumin is valuable in relieving sleeplessness. A teaspoon of the fried powder of cumin seeds mixed with the pulp of a ripe banana can be taken at night to induce sleep.
Black cumin seeds mixed with caraway seeds and black salt is useful in renal colic. About 20 grams of cumin seeds, 12 grams of caraway seeds and 6 grams of black salt are ground together and mixed with a little vinegar. This mixture can be taken in doses of 3 grams every hour till relief is obtained.
Dilute cumin water is an antiseptic beverage and very useful in common cold and fevers. To prepare cumin water, a teaspoon of cumin is added to boiling water, which is allowed to simmer for a few seconds and set aside to cool. If the cold is associated with sore throat, a few small pieces of dry ginger should be added to the water. It soothes throat irritation.
Problem of Breast Milk Secretion A decoction of cumin seeds mixed with milk and honey, taken once daily during the entire period of pregnancy, helps the healthy development of the fetus, eases child-birth and increases the secretion of breast milk.
Cumin seeds are valuable in amnesia or dullness of memory. Three grams of black cumin seeds are mixed with 12 grams of pure honey and licked to get rid of in this condition.
Black cumin ground in water is applied as a paste over the boils with beneficial results.
Paste of the cumin seeds prepared with onion juice, applied over scorpion sting will retard the frequency of upbeats.
The cumin seed is extensively used in mixed spices and for flavoring curries, soups, sausages, bread and cakes. It is an ingredient of curry powder, pickles and chutneys. It is also used to some extent in Indian medicine as a carminative
Use in medicine
Nigella sativa has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, both as a herb and pressed into oil, in Asia, Middle East, and Africa. It has been traditionally used for a variety of conditions and treatments related to respiratory health, stomach and intestinal health, kidney and liver function, circulatory and immune system support, and for general well-being.
In Islam, it is regarded as one of the greatest forms of healing medicine available. Prophet Muhammad once stated that the black seed can heal every disease—except death—as recounted in the following hadith:
|“||Narrated Khalid bin Sa'd:We went out and Ghalib bin Abjar was accompanying us. He fell ill on the way and when we arrived at Medina he was still sick. Ibn Abi 'Atiq came to visit him and
said to us, "Treat him with black cumin. Take five or seven seeds and crush them (mix the powder with oil) and drop the resulting mixture into both nostrils, for 'Aisha has narrated to me that she heard the Prophet saying, 'This black cumin is healing for all diseases except As-Sam.' 'Aisha said, 'What is As-Sam?' He said, 'Death.' " (Bukhari)
Ibn Sina, most famous for his volumes called The Canon of Medicine, refers to nigella as the seed that stimulates the body's energy and helps recovery from fatigue and dispiritedness. It is also included in the list of natural drugs of 'Tibb-e-Nabavi', or "Medicine of the Prophet (Muhammad)", according to the tradition "hold onto the use of the black seeds for in it is healing for all diseases except death" (Sahih Bukhari vol. 7 book 71 # 592).
In the Unani Tibb system of medicine, N. sativa is regarded as a valuable remedy for a number of diseases.
The seeds have been traditionally used in the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries to treat ailments including asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism and related inflammatory diseases, to increase milk production in nursing mothers, to promote digestion and to fight parasitic infections. Its oil has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and boils and to treat cold symptoms. Its many uses have earned nigella the Arabic approbation 'Habbatul barakah', meaning the seed of blessing.
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- "Bunium persicum information from NPGS/GRIN". www.ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2008-03-13.