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Herbs > Ayurvedic Herbs and their Healing Power > Kalonji - Black Cummin
By Dr. Satish Kulkarni

Kalonji Nigella sativa L., also widely known as kalonji or nigella, but also, less commonly for Bunium persicum (Boiss.) B. Fedtsch of the family Apiaceae. Kalonji is cultivated across Asia from Italy to Indonesia and is a popular remedy for many common symptoms.

Kalonji is a herbal/bush which grows to about 500mm high producing blue flowers and black seeds from which the oil is extracted. The seeds are triangular in shape and have a b pungent smell.

Chemical Composition - seeds contain 1.5% volatile oil, while 37.5% Non volatile oil. In addition to this Albumen, Sugar, Organic acids, Glucoside Melanthin Metarbin and bitter substances are also found. The Glucoside is toxic in nature, hence the use of Kalonji in large doses and prolonged use can be harmful.

It has been reported that in 1996 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted a patent for drug based on extracts of "Nigella Sativa," for the use as an immune system stimulant and for treating cancer, preventing the side effects of anticancer chemotherapy, and for increasing the immune system functions in humans. However a search of the FDA website failed to find any evidence of this and all applications for Kalonji seeds and preparations containing Kalonji have been rejected due to poor presentation, i.e. containing dirt and unfit for human use, but don't let this deter you.

Kalonji is seen as a cure-all and the uses described below have no known scientific validation, but are widely corroborated by natural medicine practitioners.

Kalongi in Ayurveda
Kalongi oil is a very good Ayurvedic medicine and Ayurved appreciates its many qualities and bitter, warming, stimulant nature. It is used in wide variety of diseases like haemorrhoids, hepatitis, fever, diarrhoea, cough, and tapeworm, to mention only a few of them. Nigela Sativa works in a different way, which makes it suitable for diseases of the immune system itself, eg. allergies; TB; cancer; aids etc.

The oil of nigella sativa is so beneficial due to it's content of over a hundred components such as aromatic oils, trace elements, vitamins and enzymes. It contains 58% of essential fatty acids including omega 6 and omega 3. These are necessary for the forming of Prostaglandin E1 which balances and strengthens the immune system giving it the power to prevent infections and allergies and control chronic illnesses.

Healthy cells are protected from viruses thus inhibiting tumours. Blackseed oil also contains about 0.5 - 1.5% volatile oils including nigellone and thymochinone which are responsible for its anti-histamine, anti-oxidant, anti-infective and broncho-dilating effect.

As oil it is digested through the lymphatics consequently purifying and unblocking the lymphatic system. Recently independent clinical studies published in the archives of AIDS also established some astonishing effects of blackseed on the defence system by improving the ratio between helper t-cells and suppresser t-cells by a significant amount while also enhancing the natural killer cell activity.  
  • Backache & Rheumatism:
    Warm kalonji oil slightly & apply to the area thoroughly. Massaging the bone, not the skin & drink half teaspoon of kalonji oil for 30 days
  • Catarrh:
    Take ˝ teaspoon of kalonji oil with 2 pods of long pepper twice a day. If catarrh is in initial stage put drop of kalonji oil in eyes daily.
  • Cough & Bronchial Asthma:
    (1) Apply kalonji oil to chest & back.
    (2) Mix teaspoon of kalonji oil in boiling water & inhale the vapour twice a day.
    (3) Take ˝ teaspoon of kalonji oil daily in the morning.
  • Diabetes:
    Take ˝ teaspoon of kalonji oil twice a day in morning with hot water.
  • Cancer:
    (Intestinal cancer, blood cancer, throat cancer etc.) : take one glass grape juice, Add ˝ teaspoon kalonji oil & drink in the morning before breakfast, after lunch & after dinner. Take 1 kg barley & 2 kg wheat flour, mix together make bread (roti) & give to the patient for 40 days. Avoid potatoe, arvee & brinjal.
  • Dandruff:
    Mix 10 gms of kalonji oil, 30 gms of olive oil, 30 gms of mehindi powder. Heat for a while & apply after paste becomes cool, rinse well with shampoo after 1 hour.
  • Difficulty menstruating:
    Take one spoon honey ˝ teaspoon kalonji oil & drink 1 teaspoon before breakfast & 1 teaspoon after dinner for 2 weeks.
  • Dyspepsia, indigestion, gas, stomach irritation:
    Take one spoon of ginger juice & half teaspoon kalonji oil & drink twice daily. This treatment is also useful for obesity.
  • Epilepsy:
    take one cup of warm water & add 2 spoons of honey ˝ teaspoon kalonji oil & use twice a day. Avoid cold food & guava banana & fig during treatment. MEMORY POWER : 1 spoon of honey with 10 drops of kalonji oil daily chew 2,3 pieces of dalchini (cardmom) daily. WEAKNESS OF BRAIN : take one teaspoon of ghee or 2 teaspoons of milk cream with to drops of kalonji oil with sugar for taste before breakfast daily.
  • Eye infection pain & weak sight & watering:
    Apply kalonji oil around the eyes & on the eye lid before going to sleep take half a teaspoon kalonji oil with a cup of carrot juice.
  • Hair Loss & Premature Greying:
    scrub the scalp thoroughly with lemon, leave it for 15 minutes & shampoo & dry with thereafter apply kalonji oil to whole scalp, continue for a 6 weeks.
  • Hearing - All ear problems including earache, infection and poor hearing:
    Heat kalonji oil & let it cool & drop two drops of cooled kalonji oil in the ear.
  • Headache and Earache:
    Apply kalonji oil to the forehead, sides of face adjacent to the ears & behind the ears.
    Take ˝ teaspoon of kalonji oil for 3 days.
  • Heart Problems:
    Take ˝ teaspoon of kalonji oil mixed with any hot drink daily in the morning this will liquefy the fats & widen the veins & arteries. Avoid fatty foods.
  • Hypertension:
    Take ˝ teaspoon of kalonji oil with only hot drink at any time and take 2 lobes of garlic on empty stomach.
  • Indigestion:
    Take 1 glass apple juices, add 10 drops kalonji oil & black pepper & zeera one pinch
  • Inflammation of nose and throat:
    Put 10 drops of kalonji oil in a cup of boiling water & inhale the vapour.
    Take ˝ teaspoon of kalonji oil with lemon juice daily.
  • Joint Pain and Arthritis:
    take 1 spoon of vinegar, add half teaspoon of kalonji oil & two spoon of honey before break-fast & after dinner.
  • Piles, blood in stools and constipation:
    Take half teaspoon of Kalonji oil mixed with 1 cup black tea twice a day before breakfast & after dinner. Avoid hot & spicy items.
  • Period Pain (leucorrhoea, white discharge, menses discharges 2 to 4 times a month, stomach pain, back pain) Take two glass of water & boil with mint (pudina leaves) add teaspoon kalonji oil. Drink before breakfast & after dinner for 40 days. Avoid pickle, brinjal egg & fish.
  • Pimples & Acne:
    Take one cup sweet lime (mosambi) juice or pineapple juice add half teaspoon of kalonji oil twice daily. before breakfast & after dinner for 4 weeks.
  • Tooth Ache & Swelling Gums:
    Mix ˝ teaspoon of kalonji oil with warm water & gargle the mouth & apply kalonji oil an the affected tooth, it will alleviate pain quickly.
  • Obesity:
    Mix 2 spoons of honey ˝ teaspoon of kalonji oil in Luke warm water and take twice a day. Avoid eating rice.  
  • Skin Disease: one cup of vinegar add ˝ teaspoon kalonji oil & apply on the effected areas before going to sleep & take bath in morning & continue until you get relief.
  • Soriasis:
    Mix juice of six limes with 50 gms. Kalonji oil together, rub on the affected areas.
  • Stammering:
    Mix half spoon of kalonji oil in 2 spoons of honey and keep it on the tongue twice a day.
  • Tumours:
    Rub the kalonji oil on the effected part & drink half teaspoon of kalonji oil once daily for 15 days.
  • Vomiting:
    Take ˝ teaspoon of fresh ginger juice mix with equal amount of kalonji oil, twice a day.
  • Worms of the Stomach:
    Mix 1 spoon vinegar with half teaspoon kalonji oil twice daily before breakfast afternoon & night for 10 days & avoid sweets.

Dr Harish asks; Can we use Kalongi Oil in chronic renal failure?"
I couldn't find any reference in Ayurvedic Megabooks for Internal/ external use of Kalongi oil in Chronic Renal Failure. But the above description can be used as a guideline to use this oil in case of Chronic Renal Failure; say for boosting Immune system. Dr. Satish Kulkarni

For further information, please read our site section on Ayurveda and/or visit India Herbs For Ayurvedic Medicines and Nutritional Supplements.

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