Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nigella sativa (Habbatus Sauda)

Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant, native to southwest Asia. It grows to 20–30 cm (7.9–12 in) tall, with finely divided, linear (but not thread-like) leaves. The flowers are delicate, and usually coloured pale blue and white, with 5–10 petals. The fruit is a large and inflatedcapsule composed of 3–7 united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. The seed is used as a spice.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6a/Nigella_Sativa_Seed.jpg/220px-Nigella_Sativa_Seed.jpg


In EnglishNigella sativa seed is variously called fennel flower, nutmeg flower, Roman coriander, blackseed or black caraway. Other names used, sometimes misleadingly, are onion seed and black sesame, both of which are similar-looking but unrelated. The seeds are frequently referred to as black cumin (as in Bengali: kalo jira, kalo jeera, kali jeera), but this is also used for a different spice, Bunium persicum. The scientific name is a derivative of Latin niger "black".[1]
An older English name gith is now used for the corncockle. In English-speaking countries with large immigrant populations, it is also variously known as "karum cheerakam" in Tamil, kalonji (Hindi कलौंजी kalauṃjī or कलोंजी kaloṃjī) or mangrail (Hindi मंगरैल), ketzakh (Hebrew קצח), chernushka (Russian), çörek otu (Turkish), habbat al-barakah (Arabic حبه البركة ḥabbat al-barakah "seed of blessing") or siyah daneh (Persian سیاه‌دانه siyâh dâne) or كلونجى in Urdu. "Karim Jeerakam" in Malayalam or කළු දුරු in Sinhala.
A commercial pack of kalonji
It is used as part of the spice mixture panch puran[2] and by itself in a great many recipes in Bengali cookery and most recognisably in Naan Bread.[3]
The Turkish name çörek otu literally means "bun's herb" from its use in flavoring the çörek buns. Such braided-dough buns are widespread in the cuisines of Turkey and its neighbors (see Tsoureki τσουρέκι). In Bosnian, the Turkish name for Nigella sativa is respelled as čurekot. The seed is used in Bosnia, and particularly its capital Sarajevo, to flavor pastries (Bosnian: somun) often baked on Muslim religious holidays

'Nigella sativa'' has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, both as a herb and pressed into oil, in Asia, [[Middle East]], and [[Africa]]. It has been traditionally used for a variety of conditions and treatments related to respiratory health, stomach and intestinal health, kidney and liver function, circulatory and immune system support, as analgesic, antiinflammatory, antiallergic, antioxidants, anticancer, antiviral and for general well-being.

In [[Islam]], it is regarded as one of the greatest forms of healing medicine available. Prophet Mohammed once stated that the black seed can heal every disease—except death—as recounted in the following [[hadith]]:

[Sahih Muslim : Book 26 Kitab As-Salam, Number 5489]

Abu Huraira  reported that he heard Allah's Messenger as saying: Nigella seed is a remedy for every disease except death. 

{{quote|Narrated Khalid bin Sa'd :We went out and Ghalib bin Abjar  was accompanying us. He fell ill on the way and when we arrived at [[Medina]] he was still sick. Ibn Abi 'Atiq came to visit him and said to us, "Treat him with black cumin. Take five or seven seeds and crush them (mix the powder with oil) and drop the resulting mixture into both nostrils, for '[[Aisha]]  has narrated to me that she heard the Prophet  saying, 'This black cumin is healing for all diseases except As-Sam.' 'Aisha  said, 'What is As-Sam?' He said, 'Death.' " (Bukhari)}}
[Sahih Muslim : Book 26 Kitab As-Salam, Number 5490]

Abu Huraira  reported Allah's Messenger as saying: There is no disease for which Nigella seed does not provide remedy.

[[Avicenna]], most famous for his volumes called ''[[The Canon of Medicine]]'', refers to nigella as the seed that stimulates the body's energy and helps recovery from fatigue and dispiritedness. It is also included in the list of natural drugs of 'Tibb-e-Nabavi', or "Medicine of the Prophet", according to the tradition "hold onto the use of the black seeds for in it is healing for all diseases except death" (Sahih Bukhari vol. 7 book 71 # 592). 

In the [[Unani]] Tibb system of medicine, ''N. sativa'' is regarded as a valuable remedy for a number of diseases. 

The seeds have been traditionally used in the Middle East and [[Southeast Asia]]n countries to treat ailments including [[asthma]], [[bronchitis]], [[rheumatism]] and related inflammatory diseases, to increase milk production in nursing mothers, to promote digestion and to fight parasitic infections. Its oil has been used to treat skin conditions such as [[eczema]] and [[boil]]s and to treat [[common cold|cold]] symptoms. Its many uses have earned nigella the Arabic approbation 'Habbatul barakah', meaning the ''seed of blessing''.

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