THE DRINK - Black Seed

What is Black Seed?

The Black Seed or Nigella Sative — its botanical name — is a herb most commonly used in Middle Eastern, Asian and African countries by a very large number of the population fot its health derived benefits. Black seed is known by other names such as Black Cumin, Black Carraway, Black onion seed, Fennel flower, Roman coriander, Kalonnji and many more. Other names mistakenly used are onion seed and black sesame and although these look similar to nigella sativa, they are not the same seed.

The actual Nigella Sativa plant only reproduces itself once a year. It forms a fruit capsule which consists of many white trigonal seeds. Once the fruit capsule has matured, it opens up and the seeds contained within are exposed to the air, becoming black in colour. Nigella Sativa has been used as a herb and pressed into oil for many centuries, both for its medicinal and culinary purposes.

 

Nutritional Composition of Nigella Sativa Oil

Nigella Sativa oil consists of about 35% carbohydrates, 21% protein and 35-38% fats. These fats are both satrated and unsaturated fatty acids and are present in oil in the following percentages:

  • Saturated Acids 18.1%
  • Monounsaturated Acids 23.8%
  • Polyunsaturated Acids 58.1%

Other minerals present in the oil includes thiamin, niacin, calcium, folacin, zinc and phosphorus.
The main component in the essential oil of nigella sativa is thymoquinone. It contains up to 50% of this phytochemical compound, which has antioxidant properties. It also contains about 40% p-cymene and 15% a-pinene; naturally occurring organic compounds, as well as small amounts of other constituents.