Narrated Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him): I heard Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) saying:
“There is healing in Black Seed (Black Cumin) for all diseases except death.” (Sahih Bukhari 7:71:592)
Ibn Hajar (May Allah have mercy on him) said,
“The logic behind the black seed being healing for all diseases is not necessarily that it is to be used on its own for every ailment; rather it may be used on its own or it may be used with other things; it may be used ground up or otherwise; it may be used in food or drink or nose drops or in a compress and otherwise. And it was said that the words every disease mean that every disease is treatable with it.”
Sheikh Abu Muhammad Ibn Abi Hamzah once stated,
“The people are debating this Hadith and interpreting its general wording in a specific manner, in the light of the notes of doctors and those with experience. No doubt this statement is mistaken, because if we believe the doctors whose knowledge in most cases is based on experience, which is founded on what they think is most likely to be the case, then believing the one who does not speak on the basis of whims and desires (i.e., the Prophet) is more appropriate than accepting their statements.” (Fat‘h Al-Bari, 10/144)
Benefits of Black Seed in the Light of Hadith and Science
The Fundamentals of Black Seed
Black Seed is an herb that is cultivated for food purposes. It nurtures by itself among other plants as a parasite, especially in woody areas. Black seed is produced around the Mediterranean basin and in Iran and Asia Minor, as well as the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Initially, it was cultivated in India and then the Arabs took it to their lands and then it was moved to Africa, especially in Ethiopia and Nigeria. It is used a great deal as a spice in Southern Europe, Palestine, and Syria.
Its plant grows to a height of 10 to 40cm, with rigid, granular stems covered with hairs. It has bluish-green and feathery leaves in a small threadlike shape; while its massive flowers are sky blue in color with a tip in green.
The ripened fruit of Black Seed has three follicles, and its seeds are ragged and tuberous, black in color and have the shape of an egg.
The Black Seed and Science
The plant which produces the black seed is called Nigella and it belongs to the plant family “Ranunculaceae” which has more than 20 species worldwide. The most famous species, commonly used in medicine are:
1). Cultivated Black Seed: Nigella sativa which is also called black cumin and Indian cumin. The English generally call it Fennel.
2). Wild Black Seed: Nigella Arvensis – Small Fennel.
3). Syrian or Damascene Black Seed: Nigella Damascena, which is also called Turkish Black Seed. The English named it Wild Fennel.
Chemical Composition of Black Seed
Since 1959, black seed has been tested in more than 200 different studies at universities and laboratories. German research has shown that 70% of patients with allergy conditions, including dust and pollen allergies, benefit by using black seed oil.
Studies have shown that more than 100 chemical compounds are there in the Black seed, including some yet to be identified. In addition to what is believed to be the primary active ingredient, crystalline Nigellone, black seeds contain Beta Sitosterol, Thymoquinone, Palmitic acid, Myristic acid, Palmitoleic acid, Oleic acid, Linoleic acid, Stearic acid, Linolenic acid, Proteins, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, Arachidonic acid, Calcium, Iron, Copper, Folic acid, Phosphorous and Zinc. The Black seed is comprised of approximately 35% plant fats and oils, 38% carbohydrates, and 21% proteins.
The Uses of Black Seed in History
Black Seed has a rich history of over 1400 years of use. Many ancient books and prescriptions depict the traditional uses of Black Seed. But please be aware that these should not be taken as cures or treatments for any disease or ailment.
Black seed, especially the cultivated form Nigella sativa, is regarded as one of the oldest plants to be used medicinally. Ibn Sina prescribed it for the treatment of migraines, headaches, cataracts, and paralysis of facial nerves. He prescribed that crushed black seed should be mixed with honey and drunk in hot water to treat and break bladder stones and kidney stones etc and as a diuretic. He also prescribed it to be used in the form of nose drops after soaking it in vinegar, to treat the common cold and other sicknesses, migraines, and headaches. Ibn Al-Qayyim mentioned that it is essential to boost the flow of milk in nursing mothers, and may be used to control the menstrual cycle.
In traditional Arabic medicine, the Black seed is taken with raisins to brighten the face, reduce its pallor, and to strengthen the body. They use to extract its oil from the seeds, which they use to take as medicine for asthma by adding a few drops and to treat chronic coughs. They also used it to treat bowel pains and stomach aches.
In Central Asia, black seed is used as a remedy. Many European medical dictionaries have also enlisted its name in them since ancient times.
Scientists from the erstwhile Soviet Union, and Uzbek sources in particular, mentioned many significant medicinal uses for cultivated black seed. They verified that a tincture extracted from the seeds has comforting properties and gives excellent results as a mouthwash to treat toothache and when used for the stomach disease. It is also used to treat stomach aches, as a laxative, and to relieve gas because of the essential oil that it contains. (Sahabidiniov, Khalmatov, Ogomovites, and others).
The aforementioned sources also confirm the benefits of the tincture extracted from black seed by mixing it with vinegar, as a treatment to get rid of worms, especially tapeworms. It also gives excellent results as a cure for throat infections, common colds, and flu, etc. Researchers agree that this tincture acts as a gentle soporific, as it may be used in children for this purpose.
A German researcher, Gessner, endorses the benefits of black seed as a diuretic and for increasing the production of milk and bile. It can also be used to bring on menstruation in young girls and in cases of dense periods. Black seed is also prescribed in veterinary medicines.
Disclaimer: The author and the publishing site strictly prohibit to use of this article as a medical prescription or home remedy etc. As these remedies have to be followed with proper care and quantity plus additives. For further details please consult the book, “The Islamic Medicine” and “Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet (PBUH)” published by Darussalam Publishers.