They are used in many types of foods; from buns and breads in Turkey to some certain cheeses in the Middle East just to name a few. They are often cooked with food/dough but we consume the dry seeds raw in salads as a family (we often mix it with some linseed and sprinkle them over our mediterranean salads).
Medicinal properties of nigella seeds that are realised medium to long term if taken regularly, seem to be so attractive that we make some conscious effort to consume them. It is stated by some sources that in Islam, there is a hadith stating that 'it can cure all diseases except death". It is reported that, in the first century AD, the Greek physician called Dioscorides, recommended nigella sativa. Romans used it as a digestive aid at the time.
It is claimed that nigella sativa contains over 100 valuable components. It is a significant source of protein, essential fatty acids (the type that our bodies can't produce), and many vitamins namely, A, B, B2, C & niacin. Minerals include calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium.
Below is a list of some of its claimed health benefits. It is good for:
- milk production
- to fight parasitic infections
- (its oil is used for) skin conditions such as eczema and boil
- cold symptoms
Here is an interesting piece of factual information for you: Ancient Egyptians believed medicinal plants play a part in the afterlife of their pharaohs. Nigella sativa has been found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen.