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Black cumin seeds

Botanical Name : Nigella sativa
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Nigella
Species: N. sativa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Common Names : Black Seed Oil , Black cumin, black caraway, Roman-coria

Other Names
Black Caraway, Black Cumin, Black Seed, Damascena, Devil in-the-bush, Fennel flower, Melanthion, Nutmeg Flower, Roman Coriander, Wild Onion Seed
French: cheveux de Venus, nigell, poivrette
German: Scharzkummel (black caraway)
Italian: nigella
Spanish: neguilla
Indian: kala zeera (lit, black cumin), kalonji, krishnajiraka, Bengali  name; Kalo Zeera
Spice Description:
Nigella seeds are small, matte-black grains with a rough surface and an oily white interior. They are roughly triangulate, 1 1/2 – 3 mm (1/16 to 1/8 in ) long. They are similar to onion seeds.
Bouquet: The seeds have little bouquet, though when they are rubbed they give off an aroma reminiscent of oregano.
Flavour: Slightly bitter and peppery with a crunchy texture.
Hotness Scale: 3

Parts Used : Seeds

Plant Description and Cultivation
An herbaceous annual of the buttercup family, about 60 cm (2 ft) high. The gray–green leaves are wispy and threadlike. Flowers are have five petals bout 2.5 cm wide (1 in), white with blue veins and appearing between June and September. They yield a seed capsule with five compartments each topped by a spike. The compartments open when dried to disperse the seeds. Nigella is native to western Asia where it grows both wild and cultivated. India, Egypt and the Middle East also cultivate it.

Click to see the pictures:->

Plants :
flower 1:
flower-2 :

 Negella seeds
Nigella damascena seed capsule

Nigella has been used since antiquity by Asian herbalists and pharmacists and was used for culinary purposes by the Romans. The seeds are known to repel certain insects and can be used like moth balls. The name nigella derives from the Latin nigellus, or niger, meaning black.
A spice that is made from seeds of the black cumin plant. A member of the parsley family of plants, black cumin is native to parts of Asia, India and Pakistan where the seeds are harvested. Narrow, tiny and curved in shape, Kala Jeera has a strong earthy aroma that becomes nutty flavored when cooked. Although it is not the same as cumin, it can be similarly used in small amounts to enhance the flavor of meats, soups, stews, rice, and sauces.

Culinary uses
The seeds of N. sativa, known as kalonji, black cumin (though this can also refer to Bunium persicum) or just nigella, are used as a spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. The dry roasted nigella seeds flavor curries, vegetables and pulses. The black seeds taste mostly like oregano crossed with pepper. Most people use it as a “pepper” in recipes with pod fruit, vegetables, salads and poultry.

Nigella is used in India and the Middle East as a spice and condiment and occasionally in Europe as both a pepper substitute and a spice. It is widely used in Indian cuisines, particularly in mildly braised lamb dishes such as korma. It is also added to vegetable and dhal dishes as well as in chutneys. The seeds are sprinkled on to naan bread before baking. Nigella is an ingredient of some garam masalas and is one of the five spices in panch phoran. In the Middle East nigella is added to bread dough.

Other uses
Several species are grown as ornamental plants in gardens, popular for their seed capsules, which are used in dried flower arrangements. Love in the mist are used exclusively for dried arrangements. These flowers are the best to add texture to any dried flower arrangement. The delicate, purple striped pods are used in several arrangements for an airy effect.

In India the seeds are used as a carminative and stimulant to ease bowel and indigestion problems and are given to treat intestinal worms and nerve defects to reduce flatulence, and induce sweating. Dried pods are sniffed to restore a lost sense of smell. It is also used to repel some insects, much like mothballs.

Constituents::oleic-acid ,palmitic-acid,phenylalanine ,phytosterols, potassium,stearic-acid, stigmasterol,tannin,thymoquinone,tryptophan ,tyrosine

Medicinal Uses:
Nigella is considered carminative, a stimulant, and diuretic. A paste of the seeds is applied for skin eruptions and is sure to relieve scorpion stings. The seeds are antiseptic and used to treat intestinal worms, especially in children. The seeds are much used in India to increase breast milk. The seeds are often scattered between folds of clothes as an effective insect repellent. Alcoholic extracts of the seeds are used as stabilizing agents for some edible fats. In India, the seeds are also considered as stimulant, diaphoretic and emmenagogue. Some of the conditions nigella has been used for include: eruption fever, puerperium (Iraq); liver disease (Lebanon); cancer (Malaya); joints, bronchial asthma, eczema, rheumatis (Middle East); with butter for cough and colic (North Africa); excitant (Spain); boosing immune system, colds (U.S.) A recent study in South Carolina at the International Immuno-Biology Research Laboratory showed that there was some action against cancer cells using nigella plant extract. nder, fennel-flow.

Black cumin seed oil is used as a healthy dietary supplement. Black seed oil contains fatty acids, vitamins and minerals in a unique cell structure. Native to Western Asia, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, black seed oil has been valued for it’s health benefits for centuries, and is now becoming more well known in the West. As a general tonic 1 teaspoon of black seed oil, taken in food or drink, is said to benefit many conditions, in much the same manner as other oils rich in fatty acids, such as flax and walnut oils. According to Dr. Duke, the constituents in black cumin oil have been shown to have health benefits for: Stomach aches, asthma, bronchitis, coughs, digestive system, and fevers. The is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and acts as an emmenagogue (brings on menses) and a lactagogue (increase breast milk.)

Benefits and Side Effects
Black cumin seed is derived from a plant with the botanical name Nigella sativa. The plant is indigenous to Mediterranean areas, though it is grown in other parts of the world as well. The seeds of the Nigella sativa plant are black in color and look something like sesame seeds. Both the seeds and oil from the seeds are used as a nutritional supplement. Black cumin seed is considered to have a number of beneficial properties when used as part of an overall holistic health program. Many studies show that, while black cumin seed is effective by itself, it is particularly potent when combined with other herbs in regimens used to treat specific ailments.

Black cumin seed (also referred to simply as “black seed”) has been used as a nutritional supplement for centuries. It was even found in King Tut’s tomb, suggesting that even centuries ago, great respect existed for black cumin seed’s beneficial health effects. Ancient traditions document the use of black cumin seed as an energy source, perhaps because of its rich nutritional value. The seeds are still believed to increase heat in the body, making metabolism more efficient.

As a nutritional supplement in modern times, black cumin seed is used to treat respiratory conditions like bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. In addition, it is used to support stomach and intestinal health as well as kidney and liver function. Black cumin seed is thought to have antihistamine-like properties that make it useful in treating congestion, and it is widely used as a general tonic to boost immune function and to help prevent cancer. Several skin conditions can be treated with black cumin seed, and it is also used to enhance circulation. Over the past six decades, black cumin seed has been studied at various universities throughout the world, and more than 200 studies support its use as an effective herbal supplement

The primary active ingredient in black cumin seed is crystalline nigellone. The substance was first identified and isolated for use in supplements in 1959. Other components with health benefits include amino acids, essential fatty acids, crude fiber, and minerals such as potassium, sodium, iron and calcium.

The usual recommended dosage is between 50 and 75 mg of a supplement made from standardized extracts. Black cumin seed oil is also available as a nutritional supplement. The seeds are cold pressed to extract the oil, which is especially effective when used topically on the skin to treat eczema, psoriasis, and dryness.black cumin seed is used to boost immune system function, as an anticancer agent, and to treat skin conditions, including eczema, abscesses, and boil.Very effective for acne, pimples.

Black cumin seed oil can also be taken internally to treat arthritis and asthma and to boost the immune system. The recommended dosage of the oil is one teaspoon daily with meals. It can be mixed with juice or other beverages and should be refrigerated after opening.

As with many supplements, black cumin seed works best when used on a regular basis so that it can support the body’s natural healing ability. Though there is no known toxicity, pregnant and lactating women should not use black cumin seed, which has a history of use in large doses to induce abortion.

Side Effects:Undiluted oil can cause skin irritation. Not to be used while pregnant For food and dietary use only.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Resources:

http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/nigella.html
http://vitamins.ultimatefatburner.com/black-cumin-seed.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail469.php

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Cumin seeds or Bengali Zeera

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Cumin : Popularly called zeera, it has a number of medicinal properties but its main area of action seems to be the gastro-intestinal tract. Apart from having a pronounced carminative and digestive effect, cumin is wind-repellent, anti-colic, anti-obesity and intestinal absorbent herb. It is light, dry, sharp and hot in effect and its use with oil or ghee forms the basic way to prepare most of the Indian curries.

Cumin is a hot, nutty flavored spice. It is used as whole dried seeds and as cumin ground powder. Cumin seed is an important spice for many vegetable curries, soups and other dishes.Cumin grows in most hot countries like India, China, North Africa, and the Americas. The cumin seeds should be lightly roasted before being used whole or ground to bring out the aroma. Cumin may also be pounded with other spices in mixtures such as curry powder. Ground cumin must be kept airtight, to retain its pungency.

Cumin seeds contain protein, fat, carbohydrates, fibre, calcium, iron and phosphorous. Cumin stimulates the appetite. Cumin is believed to increase lactation and reduce nausea in pregnancy. In India cumin is given to new mothers in puddings and other dishes for increased lactation. Cumin is diuretic, stimulant, astringent, emmenagogic, and antispasmodic. It is helpful in dyspepsia diarrhoea see  and hoarseness. Cumin helps to cure colic pain. It relieves swelling of the body, especially of breast or testicles, if used in a poultice.

You may click to see cumin seeds  and     the pictures of  cumin seed plant


Cumin is used as a spice in Indian, Mexican, Portuguese, Eastern, Middle Eastern, and Spanish cookery. It is an important ingredient of most curry powders. Cumin seeds are used in many recipes to improve taste and flavor.(extracted from:http://www.fatfreekitchen.com/spices/cumin.html

–Cultivation—Although we get nearly all our supplies from the Mediterranean, it would be perfectly feasible to grow Cumin in England, as it will ripen its fruit as far north as Norway. It is, however, and seeds are generally somewhat difficult to obtain.

They should be sown in small pots, filled with light soil and plunged into a very moderate hot bed to bring up the plants. These should be hardened gradually in an open frame and transplanted into a warm border of good soil, preserving the balls of earth which adhere to the roots in the pots. Keep clean of weeds and the plants will flower very well and will probably perfect their seeds if the season should be warm and favourable.

The plants are threshed when the fruit is ripe and the ‘seeds’ dried in the same manner as Caraway.

-Constituents—The strong aromatic smell and warm, bitterish taste of Cumin fruits are due to the presence of a volatile oil which is separated by distillation of the fruit with water, and exists in the proportion of 2 to 4 per cent. It is limpid and pale yellow in colour, and is mainly a mixture of cymol or cymene and cuminic aldehyde, or cyminol, which is its chief constituent.

The tissue of the fruits contains a fatty oil with resin, mucilage and gum, malates and albuminous matter, and in the outerseed coat there is much tannin. The yield of ash is about 8 per cent.

-Medicinal Action and Uses—Stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative. The older herbalists esteemed Cumin superior in comforting carminative qualities to Fennel or Caraway, but on account of its very disagreeable flavour, its medicinal use at the present day is almost confined to veterinary practice, in which it is employed as a carminative.

Formerly Cumin had considerable repute as a corrective for the flatulency of languid digestion and as a remedy for colic and dyspetic headache. Bruised and applied externally in the form of a plaster, it was recommended as a cure for stitches and pains in the side caused by the sluggish congestion of indolent parts, and it has been compounded with other drugs to form a stimulating liniment.

Bay-salt and Cumin-seeds mixed, is a universal remedy for the diseases of pigeons, especially scabby backs and breasts. The proportions of the remedy are: 1/4 lb. Baysalt, 1/4 lb. Common Salt, 1 lb. Fennel-seeds, 1 lb. Dill-seeds, 1 lb. Cumin-seeds, 1 OZ. Assafoetida; mix all with a little wheaten flour and some fine-worked clay; when all are well beaten together, put into two earthen pots and bake them in the oven. When cold, put them on the table in the dove-cote; the pigeons will eat it and thus be cured.

 

  • It increases the capacity of producing milk in a woman.
  • A daily use of handful of cumin seeds, cures night blindness and decreases the level of temprature in the body.
  • Twelve grams of memordic- charantia (kereal) mixed with one spoon of powdered cumin seeds cure ague.
  • A mixture of powdered coriander seeds, powdered cumin seeds and sugar, cures acidity and inflammation in the chest due to it.
  • Use of cumin seeds checks hiccups, eliminates colic in stomach, swelling of intestine due to indigestion.
  • Six grams of powdered cumin seeds mixed with old raw sugar and after making small pills of one gram each, if taken, it cures fever.
  • A baked mixture of cumin seeds, black pepper and rock salt (all in powdered form), dissolved in butter milk or whey, if taken after lunch, cures diarrhea, piles and sprue

(extracted from:://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cumin127.html and http://www.urday.com/spice.html)

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Magic of Methi or Fenugreek

 

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Fenugric; Botanical name: Trigonella foenum-graecum

Family: Fabaceae/Leguminosae
Genus: Trigonella
Species: T. foenum-graecum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Fenugreek,commonly known as Methi, seeds provide a tangy flavor and powerful curry scent to the vegetable and lentil dishes. Fenugreek seed are used in wide range of curry powder. Fenugreek can also be used as a fresh herb.

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Fenugreek are always roasted before using. Light roast gives a mellow flavor and dark roast will give a bitter. Sometimes the seeds are soaked overnight, when they becomes easier to combine in curry paste. Soaked seeds can also be used as main ingredient for a vegetable or chutney.

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Fenugreek are used and grown throughout the South Asia. The Fenugreek plant grows 2 feet tall with light green leaves and white flower. Each Fenugreek pod gives from 10 to 20 seeds. Fenugreeks are rich in protein, vitamins and mineral

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It is a herb with small, aromatic green leaves. It is also used in dried form (kasoori methi) to flavour chicken and fish and cooked as a classic vegetable dish with potatoes (alumethi). Slightly bitter in taste, it is a popular winter green.

Methi seeds, whole, fried or roasted and powdered, are used as ‘tarka’ or garnishing. It is used commonly in pickles across India and is part of a five spice mixture used in Bengal. Like most herbs, Methi has many medicinal properties.

Fenugreek seeds contain a high percentage of mucilage a natural gummy substance present in the coatings of many seeds. Although it does not dissolve in water, mucilage forms a thick, gooey mass when exposed to fluids. Like other mucilage-containing substances, fenugreek seeds swell up and become slick when they are exposed to fluids. The resulting soft mass is not absorbed by the body, but instead passes through the intestines and also triggers intestinal muscle contractions. Both actions promote the emptying of intestinal contents. Therefore, fenugreek is a mild but effective laxative.

In addition, fenugreek seeds contain chemicals that slow down the time that food takes to go through the intestinal tract. As one result, sugars are absorbed from foods more slowly and blood sugar levels may not rise as high or fluctuate as much as usual. Fenugreek may further affect blood sugar levels by decreasing the activity of an enzyme that is involved in releasing stored sugar from the liver into the blood. Also, fenugreek contains an amino acid called 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which appears to increase the body’s production of insulin when blood sugar levels are high. For many individuals, higher insulin production decreases the amounts of sugar that stay in the blood In some studies of animals and humans with both diabetes and high cholesterol levels, fenugreek lowered cholesterol levels as well as blood sugar levels. However, no blood-sugar lowering effect was seen in non-diabetic animals. Similarly, individuals with normal cholesterol levels showed no significant reductions in cholesterol while taking fenugreek.

Some evidence suggests that fenugreek may also have other medical uses. It may reduce the amounts of calcium oxalate in the kidneys. Calcium oxalate often contributes to kidney stones. In animal studies, fenugreek also appeared to lessen the chance of developing colon cancer by blocking the action of certain enzymes. It may have some ability to protect the liver against damage from alcohol and other chemicals, but much further research is needed to prove or disprove all these possible uses of fenugreek.

Methi is supposed to be natural cure for arthritis. According to ayurveda, the cause of arthritis is a noxious gas produced within the human body known as Va and the gas that causes joint arthritis is known as Sandhiva.

During the course of time, intestines fill with undigested food particles which become glued to the intestine lining. These particles create several different layers in the intestine and act as chemicals that release gases with different constituents. The gas, sandhiva, finds refuge in the joints and creates pressure, immobilizing them and making movement painful, due to inflamation. Methi, if consumed twice a day, cleans the intestines and directs the waste out of the body naturally.

According to Ayurveda, Methi is an antipyretic and anthelmintic herb. Translation: It is an appetizer, relieves constipation, and reduces colic. It is also known to cure leprosy, vomiting, bronchitis, and piles.

Traditional healers recommend that people suffering from digestive problems eat Methi leaves. It also helps you lose weight and reduces dullness, dizziness and drowsiness. In general, it is considered as good appetizer. Methi seeds are considered very effective in combative diabetes.

Topically, the gelatinous texture of fenugreek seed may have some benefit for soothing skin that is irritated by eczema or other conditions. It has also been applied as a warm poultice to relieve muscle aches and gout pain

The fresh juice of Methi leaves prevents hair fall. You can massage it in your hair, particularly the roots, to get rid of dandruff and promote new hair growth. It can also be used in a facepack to reduce wrinkles.

Fenugreek seed is widely used as a galactagogue (milk producing agent) by nursing mothers to increase inadequate breast milk supply. Studies have shown that fenugreek is a potent stimulator of breast milk production and its use was associated with increases in milk production. It can be found in capsule form in many health food stores.

Several human intervention trials demonstrated that the antidiabetic effects of fenugreek seeds ameliorate most metabolic symptoms associated with type-1 and type-2 diabetes in both humans and relevant animal models by reducing serum glucose and improving glucose tolerance.  click & see

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Extracted from: /www.purpleparka.com and http://www.drugdigest.org/DD/DVH/HerbsWho/0,3923,552024%7CMethi,00.html

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Wanders of Garlic

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Garlic is a wonder
Garlic and its cousins (onions, chives and scallions) are probably the most intriguing of all vegetables. Garlic lowers cholesterol, reduces the risk of heart diseases, fights infection and boosts immunity. And, as if that weren’t enough, the data is strong for the prevention of cancers of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum. The National Cancer Institute is sponsoring a huge clinical trial on garlic’s ability to prevent stomach cancer. But why wait years for the results of this clinical trial?

It was Louis Pasteur who first described the antibacterial effect of garlic and onion juices. Garlic is effective even against antibiotic-resistant strains. It even kills Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a kind of bacteria which is implicated in the cause of some stomach cancers and ulcers.

The medicinal properties of garlic are now scientifically recognised. It is widely available in different forms in Britain as over-the-counter supplements, particularly to treat the blood conditions and as an antiviral medicine.

Human population studies suggest that eating garlic regularly reduces the risk of esophageal, colon and stomach cancer.(4,5) This may be partly due to garlic’s ability to reduce the formation of carcinogenic compounds.Many publications have shown that garlic supports the cardiovascular system, while earlier trials suggest it may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood

Warmed garlic juice, or a mixture made with oil and the boiled bulb has been dropped into the ear to relieve earache and deafness. In Ayurvedic and Siddha medicine garlic juice has been used to alleviate sinus problems. In Unani medicine, an extract is prepared from the dried bulb which is inhaled to promote abortion or taken to regulate menstruation. Unani physicians also use garlic to treat paralysis, forgetfulness, tremor, colic pains, internal ulcers and fevers

Many people avoid eating garlic since it can make one’s breath smell pretty strong. In that case, garlic supplements are a convenient alternative
For those who prefer it, odor-controlled, enteric-coated tablets or capsules with approximately 1.3% allin are available

Indeed, if you‘re concerned about garlic breath, an aged extract or enteric-coated tablet is the way to go. If you‘re treating an infection of some kind, a standardized high-allicin extract or the actual food is the better choice. Aging destroys garlic‘s antibiotic properties.

Some individuals who are sensitive to garlic may experience heartburn and flatulence. Because of garlic’s anticlotting properties, those taking anticoagulant drugs should check with their nutritionally oriented doctor before taking garlic. Those scheduled for surgery should inform their surgeon if they are taking garlic supplement.

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