Medicinal spice Black cumin (Nigella sativa)

Nigella sativa or Black cumin is herbaceous plant of height 45 cm, native to eastern Mediterranean. In India it is cultivated in Punjab, Bengal, Assam and Bihar. Cumin black or Kala jira are seeds of this plant. These are added in pickles and also used as medicinal spice. The seeds contain essential oil which is obtained by cold pressing of seeds. The essential oil is used for treating cough and bronchial asthma.

Vernacular names

Sanskrit: Sthulajiraka, Upkunchikaa, Krishna jiraka

Bengali: Mota Kalajira, Kalajira

English: Small Fennel, Nigella Seed, Black cumin, Black seeds

Gujrati: Kalonji jeeru, Kalounji

Hindi: Kalaunji, Mangaraila

Kannada: Karijirige

Kashmiri: Kath

Malayalam: Karinjirakam

Marathi: Kalaunji jire, Kalejire

Punjabi: Kalvanji

Tamil: Karunjeerakam, Karunjiragam

Telugu: Peddajila karra

Urdu: Kalongi

Constituents of seeds

Essential oil, fixed oil, resin, saponin and tannin

Properties and Action

Rasa: Katu, Tikta

Guna: Laghu, Ruksha

Virya: Ushna

Vipaka: Katu

Karma: Dipana, Hridya, Krimighna, Medhya, Pittala,

Rucya, Sangrahi, Vatakaphapaha, Garbhashayavishodhana

Kalongi or Black cumin can be taken internally in form of powder and essential oil to prevent and treat various type of diseases. In Ayurveda, it is used in preparation of medicines such as Narayana churna and kankayana gutika. The seed powder or churna of seeds of Black cumin can be taken in dosage of 1-3 grams safely.

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