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Kalonji Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

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By NS Desk 21-Dec-2020

Kalonji Health Benefits

Kalonji Health Benefits: Kalonji is one of the greatest medicinal herbs in the history of Ayurveda. For the same reason, the seeds obtained from a kalonji plant are also known as the "seed of blessing." Kalonji or black cumin is a flowering plant native to North African, Southern Asian, and Southern European regions. In scientific terms, it is known as “Nigella Sativa." The plant flowers annually and grows to a height of 20 to 30 cm in height. It grows beautiful pale blue to white delicate flowers. The plant bears fruits that look like small inflated capsules. These capsules contain the cumin seeds.
 
The cumin seeds are safe to be consumed and are known for the medicinal qualities that it has. It has been used in regular dishes soon after the art of cooking was introduces. It is used as a spice to add flavor to the dishes. The most culinary use of black cumin or kalonji is seen in Indian, Pakistani, and Middle Eastern cuisine. 
 
Black cumin seeds or kalonji tastes somewhat like a combination of onion powder, black pepper, and oregano. With a pungent smell, they have a considerably bitter taste.
 
Kalonji is rich in antioxidants and has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. For the same reason, it is really good for blood sugar levels and diabetes. Kalonji is also considered to be a good digestive and eases up the gas formation in the body. By increasing metabolism also plays a part in decreasing weight. Kalonji makes a great face and skin mask. Kalonji oil promotes hair growth. It is also found to be good for men as it increases libido. 
 
There can be some side effects of using kalonji. Overdosing with kalonji is not a good idea. This article provides you with all you might need to know about Kalonji.
 
How Did The Word Kalonji Originate?
Kalonji is referred to as “Nigella Sativa" in scientific terms. This word is derived from the Latin word "Niger," meaning black, a reference to the black seeds. The seed is known as black caraway, black seed, black cumin, fennel flower, and Roman coriander.
 
The word kalonji is said to have derived from the Sanskrit word “Krishnajira," which refers to a darker form of the jeera. Today, it is also known as onion seed.
 
Historical use of Kalonji 
Kalonji has been used for years by our ancestors for purposes that we cannot even think of. 
 
Kalonji or black cumin seeds have been found in the tomb of Tutankhamen. This shows that it has been used in ancient Egypt. The fact that it was found in a king's tomb shows that it must have great importance to be kept there for his afterlife.
 
However, there is no mention of kalonji or black cumin seeds in the new versions of the Bible; mentions of black edible seeds have been found in the Old Testament. The mention was a use of the seed along with wheat.
 
 In the 1st Century findings, the black seed records have been found from a Greek physician. He mentioned it as a good treatment for headaches, nasal congestion, toothache, and intestinal worms. He also mentioned it as a catalyst for milk production and a source of promotion of menstruation in women. 
 
Mentions of the black seed as grain is also found in the texts of a Muslim scholar Al-Biruni, which dates back to the year around 973 to 1048 A.D. The work of Hippocrates has been described well in the Greco Arab/ Unani Tibb system of medicines. The same mentions a black seed that looks like a grain used to cure digestive problems and prevent many other ailments, including the cure of the common cold.  
 
The volume "the Canon of Medicine," written by Ibn Sina, is one of the most famous books of medicines in history. It dates back to around 980 A.D. to 1037 A.D.; it describes the black seed (kalonji) to be able to cure the reduction in energy and recover the body from fatigue and tiredness.  
 
The list of natural drugs of Al-Tibb Al-Nabawi mentions kalonji or black seed as a cure to all illnesses except death. On the same note, it has been found to increase the immunity of the human body.
Our ancestors have also used black cumin seeds or kalonji as a cure to diseases and problems related to the respiratory tract like asthma, bronchitis, etc.; it has also been found to be good for skin and related treatments.
 
The use of kalonji in Ayurveda dates back to the time when Ayurveda was introduced to the world. This means that our ancestors have used it successfully to cure problems related to digestion, nasal passage, respiratory tract, etc. It has also been used to cure headaches, menstrual pain, hypertension, cholesterol, blood pressure, cold and cough, and many more problems. 
 
With all the historical uses, here is more to the same.
 
Nutritional Value of Kalonji 
Kalonji has been used for treatment since an early time, as already seen above. It is clear that our ancestors have known about the nutritional qualities it possesses. Today, we have a more detailed and fuller version of the nutritional facts. 
 
Kalonji seeds are known for the content of proteins, fat, carbs, vitamins, and fiber. About 100 grams of kalonji seed contains
1. 375 calories
2. 8.06 grams of water
3. 17.18 grams of protein
4. 22.27 grams of fat
5. 44.24 grams of carbohydrates
6. 10.5 grams of fiber, and 
7. 2.25 grams of sugar
 
The mineral content in kalonji seed is also good and, as such, which is beneficial for health. 100 grams of kalonji seeds contain
1. 66.36 milligrams of iron
2. 931 milligrams of calcium
3. 366 milligrams of magnesium
 
Other minerals that kalonji seeds contain are phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
 
Kalonji has also been found to be rich in vitamins. It has vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. 
 
Kalonji has the presence of saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
 
All these together give kalonji the healing properties that it shows and the health benefits that it possesses. 
 
Ayurvedic Properties of Kalonji
Kalonji is tikta in rasa, meaning that it is bitter in taste with a katu or pungent smell. The guna or qualities are laghu or light in fullness, ruksha or dry in swallowing, and tikshna or sharp in nature. 
 
Kalonji also has ushnavirya or hot potent that makes it a great digestive. It is used to balance the tri-dosha. Kalonji increases the Pitta while reducing Vata and Kapha Dosha and stabilizing the body. 
 
Kalonji Benefits: Benefits of Using Kalonji In Ayurveda Treatment
There have been many studies conducted that show the benefits of kalonji for the body. Although these studies were conducted on animals, one cannot shy away from the fact that our own ancestors have used kalonji for treatment for tons of ailments. The seed is also known as "the seed of blessing," which is rightly named as it cures numerous diseases and prevents several ailments. 
 
Kalonji shows the properties of being an antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. These properties give the naturally occurring seed the medicinal qualities it is famous for. Kalonji is widely used to cure indigestion and problems related to the respiratory tract. It is a good cure for headaches, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Kalonji is good for the flu as well. It cures common cold, nasal blockage, and hay fever. 
 
That being said, here is a list of treatments with kalonji and the scientific and Ayurvedic view and facts upon each topic.
 
Treating Disease/ Health Problems With Kalonji
 
1. Kalonji for Indigestion 

Science

Ayurveda

Kalonji is useful indigestion. The compound breakup that it contains has digestive and carminative properties.

Indigestion is caused as a result of an imbalance in Kapha Dosha. This results in Agnimandya or a weak digestive fire. Kalonji balances the Kapha Dosha and initiates Agni or the digestive fire for a better digestive system. Kalonji also serves as a Deepan or appetizer because of the Pachan nature it shows. Thus, kalonji is useful in curing indigestion.

 
2. Kalonji for Blocked Nose

Science

Ayurveda

Kalonji might help manage the blocked nose as it eases up the nasal congestion and helps remove the mucus.

Mucus formation is often related to the imbalance in Kapha Dosha. Due to aggravated Kapha Dosha, you might end up with a blocked nose. Kalonji reduces the Kapha in the body and balances it. Thus, also helping in getting rid of the blocked nose or nasal congestion.

 
3. Kalonji for Headache

Science

Ayurveda

There is not enough evidence about this in scientific terms; however, kalonji might be helpful in curing headaches.

Headaches are caused due to the imbalance in Pitta Dosha. Kalonji balances the Pitta and thus also reduces the headache.

 
4. Kalonji for Cough

Science

Ayurveda

Kalonji is an antioxidant and depicts the properties of an anti-inflammatory. Due to these properties, kalonji is helpful in removing the cough formation in the body and relaxes the cough. It helps in removing the toxins from the body and clears up the cough.

Cough is caused due to imbalance in Kapha Dosha. As a result of the imbalance, cough starts to accumulate in the respiratory tract. Kalonji balances the Kapha Dosha and helps in getting rid of the problem of cough.

 
5. Kalonji for Hay Fever

Science

Ayurveda

Kalonji shows anti-histaminic effects due to the presence of certain compounds. This makes kalonji a good anti-allergic. This helps in reducing the blockage in the nose, running nose, sneezes, and other symptoms of Hay Fever.

Hay Fever is caused due to imbalance in Vata and Kapha Dosha. This results in allergies and also hay fever. Kalonji helps in balancing the Kapha and Vata Dosha and thus also helps in curing the symptoms of hay fever.

 
6. Kalonji for Bronchitis 

Science

Ayurveda

Kalonji is an anti-inflammatory. It reduces inflammation or swelling in the respiratory tract and manages the problem of bronchitis.

As a result of a poor diet, Ama, or toxins build up in the body that promotes mucus formation in the lungs. Consumption of kalonji reduces the Ama and helps in proper digestion. This reduces the toxins from the body. Kalonji is Ushna or hot in potent, thus reducing the mucus formation and easing up the mucus already formed.

 
7. Kalonji for Cholesterol

Science

Ayurveda

According to the scientific view, kalonji lowers low-density lipoprotein and increases the level of high-density lipoprotein. This helps in removing the bad cholesterol and increasing the good cholesterol in the body. Due to it being an antioxidant, kalonji also removes the toxins from the body, thus managing the body's cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is said to have been caused due to the imbalance in the Pachak Agni or the digestive fire. Due to a weak digestive system, the formation of toxins in the body increases that causes bad cholesterol to make a place in the body. Kalonji removes bad cholesterol from the body and promotes good cholesterol, and thus manages high cholesterol.

 
8. Kalonji for Asthma

Science

Ayurveda

Kalonji has anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces the inflammation or swelling in the respiratory tract, increases respiration ease, and manages asthma.

Asthma is caused due to imbalance in Kapha and Vata Dosha. This causes obstruction in the lungs that impairs the berating capacity of the lungs. Kalonji helps in reducing the Vata and Kapha Dosha in the body, thus, balancing them and increasing the capacity to breathe. This helps in managing Asthma.

 
9. Kalonji for Diabetes

Science

Ayurveda

Kalonji has antioxidants that help in reducing the toxins from the body. It increases the insulin level in the blood by increasing the proliferation of insulin cells. Thus, it reduces the glucose level and manages diabetes. 

Diabetes is caused due to imbalance in Vata Dosha. This leads to the accumulation of toxins in the body. Kalonji helps in reducing and balancing the Vata Dosha and removing the Ama from the body. Thus also helping in managing diabetes.

 
10. Kalonji for Mae Infertility

Science

Ayurveda

Kalonji is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and amino acid. This helps in increasing the testosterone and enhances sperm count in the male body. Thus kalonji helps in increasing libido and managing male fertility.

Kalonji has been used for ages by our ancestors in the Ayurvedic treatment of reduced libido. It has proven to increase the sperm count and also cure male infertility.

 
11. Kalonji for Arthritis 

Science

Ayurveda

Kalonji is an anti-inflammatory. This means that it helps in reducing the inflammation or swelling in the joints. Having cured the swelling, it also gets rid of the pain caused and the stiffness. Thus, kalonji helps in managing arthritis.

Aamavata or Rheumatoid arthritis is caused due to the imbalance in Vata Dosha. This accumulates toxins in the body and swells the joint muscles. Kalonji helps balance the Vata Dosha and remove Ama, thus reducing the swelling and curing Rheumatoid arthritis.

 
12. Kalonji for Menstrual Pain 

Science

Ayurveda

There is not enough evidence as per the scientific view to know for sure what the use of kalonji is related to menstrual pain. It may help in managing the cramps, as claimed by Ayurveda.

The Vata manages menstruation. Any imbalance in Vata causes the pain to aggravate and result in cramps. Kalonji helps in balancing the Vata. This, in turn, helps in controlling and reducing menstrual pain.

 
Kalonji has also been used to cure the following problems over the years:
13. Tonsil 
Due to its antibacterial properties, kalonji stops the growth of bacteria in the tonsils. Its anti-inflammatory properties help in reducing the swelling, and thus kalonji help in managing tonsils. 
 
14. Poor Immunity
Kalonji provides strength to the body due to the high nutritional value that it possesses. 
 
15. Cancer prevention
Kalonji has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. This helps in preventing any kind of cancer cells from developing in the body.
 
16. Thyroid
Kalonji has helped reduce the thyroid level by stimulating the thyroid-producing hormones. This implies that kalonji might be useful in managing the thyroid problem.
 
Forms of Kalonji in Ayurveda with Recommended Dosage
Kalonji is available in the market as kalonji powder, kalonji capsules, and kalonji oil. The use and dosage of all three are different and for different purposes. They have proved to be a great cure to the problems mentioned. 
 
1. Kalonji Powder 
- Take ¼ to ½ teaspoon of kalonji powder with water or honey and swallow it.
- It is recommended to take it twice a day, preferably after light meals.
 
2. Kalonji Capsules
- Take 1 or 2 kalonji capsules and swallow it with water. 
- It is recommended to have the capsules after light meals, preferably after lunch and dinner.
 
3. Kalonji Oil
- Internal 
The oil bottles marking the label of “use internally” can be added in the amount of ¼ to ½ teaspoon to water and drank after taking food. 
- External
The oil bottles mentioning “for external use only” can be added in the amount of 2 to 4 drops in a bowl of regular oil and applied over the affected area on the skin. 
 
Types of Ayurvedic Care with Kalonji
 
1. Kalonji Paste 
- Take ½ to 1 teaspoon of kalonji paste and add rose water. 
- Mix well and apply it over the affected areas on the skin. 
- This helps in reducing the swelling and inflammation. 
- Make sure to use it for external purposes only.
 
2. Kalonji Oil 
 
For external use
- Mix 2 to 5 drops of kalonji oil along with your regular oil, coconut, or olive. 
- Mix well
- Apply it over the skin on the affected areas. 
 
For internal use
- Take ¼ to ½ teaspoon of edible kalonji oil and add it to warm water. 
- Mix well and drink it.
- You can have the mixture twice a day, preferably after light meals like lunch and dinner.
 
Side Effects of Kalonji
Kalonji is safe to be taken when taken in the right amount. Overdosing with kalonji is not recommended at all. Overdosing with kalonji can have the following possible side effects:
1. Stomach upset and diarrhea
2. Nausea and vomiting
3. Heartburn
4. Excessive body heating 
 
Some people might also have an allergy to black cumin seed. In such cases, the use of kalonji in any form is prohibited. Consumption of kalonji with an allergy can cause skin rashes, tongue swelling, difficulty breathing, tongue itching, etc. You must avoid consumption or application of kalonji in any form whatsoever if you are allergic. By chance, if you happen to swallow kalonji products, visit your doctor immediately. 
 
Precautionary Guide While Using Kalonji
 
1. Kalonji while Pregnancy
Kalonji is not recommended during pregnancy. It helps in promoting the menstrual flow, which makes it dangerous to be consumed while a woman is pregnant. It can possibly cause miscarriages. A pregnant woman should stay away from kalonji and related products. 
 
2. Kalonji while Breastfeeding 
There is not much information available for the use of kalonji while breastfeeding. It possibly increases the production of milk. However, you must not take any risk and consult a gynecologist before consuming kalonji while breastfeeding a baby. 
 
3. Kalonji for Children 
Kalonji or black seed is possibly safe to be consumed by children. It is in the best interest to consult a doctor before letting your child consume kalonji.
 
4. Kalonji while Bleeding
Kalonji is not recommended while bleeding. It is used to promote blood flow during the menstrual cycle. It can thus cause a wound to continue bleeding and cause a bleeding disorder. 
 
5. Kalonji for Diabetes
Kalonji is not recommended for people with diabetes. It can lower blood pressure. It can cause severe and alarming health issues to consume kalonji for people already suffering from low blood pressure. People with problems of low blood pressure and diabetes should prevent using kalonji.
 
6. Kalonji before Surgery 
Since kalonji promotes blood flow out of the body, it is recommended not to eat kalonji before a scheduled surgery. In fact, you must avoid consumption of kalonji and related products at least 2 to 3 weeks before the schedule.
 
Frequently Asked Question
 
1. What is kalonji oil?
- Otherwise known as black seed oil, kalonji oil is extracted from the kalonji seeds. The seed is bitter, the oil is bitter and pungent, and it has a lot of health benefits.
 
2. Is it healthy to eat kalonji raw?
- Yes, you can eat the seeds of kalonji raw. It is perfectly safe and also good for health. If you do not like its taste, you can mix it up with honey or water. This helps in improving digestion. People also cook the seeds of kalonji along with food preparation.
 
3. Can kalonji cause excessive bowel movement?
- Kalonji has been used to cure indigestion. This means that it promotes bowel movement and allows free excretion. If you overdose with kalonji in any form, it can cause the bowel movement to increase in a drastic way. This can cause diarrhea and loss of motion.
 
4. Is kalonji good for migraines?
- No, kalonji is not good for migraines. Overdosing with kalonji can cause frequent migraine attacks. Migraine headaches are caused due to increase in Pitta and kalonji, though it helps in balancing Pitta; it is by increasing it. Migraine patients are not recommended to use kalonji in excess. Especially patients with recurring aura should reduce the consumption of kalonji. 
 
5. Is kalonji good for the heart?
- Yes, kalonji has been proven to be good for the heart. It has cardio-protective effects that help in lowering the increased heart rate. It relaxes the heart muscles and prevents any blockage that can occur. 
 
6. Is kalonji helpful in weight loss?
- Kalonji has a good amount of fiber in it. This helps in suppressing the appetite by regulating the chemicals in the body. The seeds also help improve the digestive function of the body and thus promote weight loss and weight management.  
 
7. Is kalonji good for acne?
- Yes, kalonji is good for acne. It helps control the excess oil in the skin and has antibacterial properties that help prevent bacterial growth on the skin. This helps in reducing the chances of getting pimples and acne. Kalonji also has Rooksha, or dry property that absorbs the oil and dries up the acne.
 
8. Is kalonji good for hair?
- Kalonji is an antioxidant with antimicrobial properties. It helps in removing the toxins and strengthening the hair follicles. The strength provided helps in reducing hair fall. The kalonji seed oil also helps in removing the dryness and thus cures dandruff. Kalonji is thus good for hair. 
 
9. Can we eat kalonji or black cumin seeds daily?
- Yes, you can consume the black cumin seeds on a daily basis. It is good for your health if you do not come under the precautionary measures. Ayurveda recommends the consumption of 200 grams of kalonji per day for the desired positive effects.
 
10. Can kalonji be taken with milk?
- Yes, kalonji can be taken with milk. It is good for men as it increases testosterone levels and increases male fertility.
 
11. Can I consume the black seed oil raw?
- You can consume the black seed oil raw; however, it is recommended to consume it with warm water with a dosage of ¼ to ½ teaspoon in one glass of water. It is also recommended to check if the oil that you are about to use is edible by nature or not. 
 
12. How to store kalonji seeds?
- You can store kalonji seeds in an airtight container. Put it in a cool, dry, and dark place away from sunlight. You can keep it at room temperature; it sustains well.  
 
13. Can kalonji be consumed with other medicines?
- Homeopathic – Kalonji can be consumed while taking homeopathic medicines. There are no side effects and have no side effects. 
- Health Supplements – kalonji can be taken while under health supplements. However, if you are consuming more than one supplement, it is advised to consult your physician before consuming kalonji in such a period. 
- Allopathic Medicines – There is not a lot of evidence and scientific studies that show the benefits or side effects of consumption of kalonji during the time when you are under allopathic treatment. You must consult your doctor before consuming kalonji or black cumin seeds when under western medicines. 
 
14. Is kalonji good for memory?
- Yes, kalonji is said to be good for memory. Neurological problems and disorders such as dementia can also be prevented with the correct use of kalonji. Eating kalonji helps older people to retain memory and boost brain functions.
 
15. Can kalonji cure dark spots?
- Kalonji has been said to be beneficial for the skin. It can lighten dark spots. Kalonji has vitamin A, amino acid, and fatty acids. These help in the regeneration of old and dead cells, which helps in clearing the black spots on the skin. Applying kalonji oil on the skin and massaging it can reduce the spots. You can add 3 to 4 drops of kalonji oil along with your regular skin oil and apply it.
 
16. What does kalonji oil look like?
- The purest and natural form of kalonji oil or black seed oil is golden brown in color and is translucent. The oil is obtained by cold pressing without heating the seeds; this is why it smells exactly like black seeds with a more intense smell.
 
17. How is kalonji oil used?
- Kalonji oil is available for both external and internal uses. For external use, it can be applied to the skin and scalp. It is advised to test the oil on the skin in a small amount first to test for allergic reactions such as redness and rashes. Consumable kalonji oil is generally eaten raw, along with honey or warm water. These forms are highly beneficial. The oil for external use is beneficial for skin and hair. It reduces dark spots, acne, and other skin problems. It also prevents hair dryness and hair fall. The consumable kalonji oil is used for problems such as indigestion, high blood pressure, etc.  
 
18. Is kalonji useful in joint pain?
- Yes, kalonji is useful in joint pain. Kalonji has anti-inflammatory properties. This means that applying kalonji paste or kalonji oil to the affected skin area reduces the swelling or inflammation in joints and helps in curing joint pain.
 
19. Is kalonji good for psoriasis?
- Yes, kalonji is useful in psoriasis. Kalonji has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in reducing the swelling, itching, and pain that is caused due to psoriasis. 
 
20. When can I eat kalonji?
- You can consume kalonji at any time you wish. It is best to consume it during the meal if cooked along and after light meals if taken in medicinal form.
consult with ayurveda doctor.
Disclaimer - The aim of the article is just to convey information to you. Use any medicine, therapy, herb or fruit please do it under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda doctor.
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