Kalonji or black caraway seeds are extracted from the fruits of the Nigella sativa plant. In some parts of the world, these seeds are known as black onion seeds.
The Kalonji plant bears fennel flowers that have five to ten petals and blooms in white and pale blue colours. The fruit of this plant is loaded with seeds from where kalonji oil is extracted.
Kalonji oil has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years and has many medicinal benefits - boosts metabolism, keeps cholesterol in check, and treats problems related to the stomach, liver, eyes and heart.
Benefits of kalonji oil:
1. Helps in menstrual problems:
During the menstruation stage, many women experience intense abdominal cramps, while some have an irregular cycle. Kalonji oil, because of its strong anti-inflammatory properties, manages abdominal cramps.
2. Promotes fertility in women:
Kalonji oil is great for various problems associated with women's reproductive health and fertility. For thousands of years, kalonji oil has been used for boosting fertility in women. Thymoquinone, flavonoids and alkaloids were said to normalise the menstrual cycle. Many studies have also shown that kalonji seeds can beneficially affect ovarian function and ovulation in women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).
Kalonji seeds are also said to balance oestrogen levels. Kalonji seeds are safe to be consumed even during pregnancy.
3. Immunity booster:
Though it would not taste very good, a spoonful of kalonji oil mixed with honey or lemon can improve your immunity. Kalonji seeds and oil are used in food not only for flavour, but for their healing properties also.
4. Improves vision:
According to Ayurvedic treatment, Kalonji oil cures eye redness and watering. It also improves vision and prevents cataract. Kalonji oil can be consumed in different ways to combat vision problems. It is advisable to talk to your doctor before treating your eye problems with Kalonji oil.
5. Improves sexual health in men:
Kalonji is also said to enhance fertility in men by increasing sperm count, quality, and motility and balances the hormone levels.
6. Reduces inflammation:
Thymoquinone in kalonji seeds has anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial for chronic inflammation.
7.Helps in asthma:
A regular dosage of kalonji oil or supplements will combat the symptoms of asthma. It also helps in preventing sudden asthma attacks.
8. Controls diabetes:
Kalonji is primarily used to aid in diabetes by preventing a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. Regular intake of Kalonji oil/seeds/supplements also develops insulin resistance.
Add Kalonji oil to a cup of black tea and have it on an empty stomach to maintain your sugar levels.
9. Protects liver and kidney:
Regular intake of kalonji regularises liver functions by reducing the toxicity of chemicals in both the liver and kidney. It also prevents kidney stones and other infections.
10. Reduces symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Kalonji's anti-inflammatory properties are said to reduce joint inflammation, therefore helping people with rheumatoid arthritis.
11. Anti-fungal properties:
Kalonji oil can be applied to fungal infections on your skin.
12. Boosts memory:
Consume Kalonji oil/seeds daily with honey for better brain function. It is great for people of all age groups, but especially for the elderly with weak memory. Ayurveda also recommends consuming Kalonji seeds with mint leaves to prevent neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.
13. Healthy heart
Kalonji controls the bad cholesterol levels in your body, thereby, keeping your heart healthy. Consuming kalonji oil with milk regularly is very effective in preventing heart problems.
How to use kalonji oil?
Kalonji oil can be consumed in capsule or liquid form. Because it has a strong flavour, you can try to mix it with honey or lemon juice before ingesting it.
As a supplement, black seed oil can be ingested in pill or liquid form. The oil can also be used topically on skin and hair. To consume it, make sure the product is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved. It will help if a brand is reputable.
Kalonji can help if you are suffering from acne, redness, pimples and blackheads.
- Mix kalonji oil with olive oil, apply it on the face and wash after 15 minutes. Since both oils are anti-ageing antioxidants, this pack does amazing work on your skin.
- Mix kalonji oil with orange juice and drink it on an empty stomach to flush out the toxins.
Many hair products have kalonji oil because its active component Thymoquinone contains protein and alkaloids that support hair growth and volume.
- Mix kalonji and coconut oil, warm them and then apply to your hair. Wash with shampoo after 30 minutes. This helps in strengthening the hair follicles and leaves your hair moisturised.
- Mix kalonji and coconut oil, warm them and then apply to your hair. Wash with shampoo after 30 minutes. Both oils are rich in vitamin E, minerals, and proteins that promote hair growth.
Kalonji is ultimately a spice, therefore, recommending it as a standard treatment for various medical problems would be difficult. It is still largely considered a home remedy.
Important: These are topical ways in which kalonji oil can be used. Though it would be best to patch it first. But for consumption purposes, it is best that you consult a doctor first to determine if and how much kalonji oil to take.