Seed - raw or cooked. Normally used as a flavouring on bread, cakes, curries, pickles etc
. There is a belief that eating the seed will make a woman's breasts plumper
. The seed is a very popular spice from the Mediterranean to India. It has a pungent flavour according to one report
whilst another says that it has a spicy fruity taste
and a third that the scent is somewhat like nutmeg
. The immature seed is bitter, but when fully ripe it is aromatic
. It is also used as a pepper substitute
The aromatic seed contains about 1.5% essential oil
. It is placed amongst clothes etc to repel moths
. The seeds can also be put in muslin bags and hung near a fire when they will fill the room with their delicious scent
. They need to be changed about every three weeks
The seed contains 35% of a fatty oil
Like many aromatic culinary herbs, the seeds of black cumin are beneficial for the digestive system, soothing stomach pains and spasms and easing wind, bloating and colic
The ripe seed is anthelmintic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, laxative and stimulant
. An infusion is used in the treatment of digestive and menstrual disorders, insufficient lactation and bronchial complaints
. The seeds are much used in India to increase the flow of milk in nursing mothers and they can also be used to treat intestinal worms, especially in children
. Externally, the seed is ground into a powder, mixed with sesame oil and used to treat abscesses, haemorrhoids and orchitis
. The powdered seed has been used to remove lice from the hair
Seed - sow spring or early autumn in situ
. The autumn sowing might not be successful in harsh winters. Plants can be transplanted if necessary
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Nigella sativa. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Easily grown in any good garden soil, preferring a sunny position
. Prefers a light soil in a warm position
This species is often cultivated, especially in western Asia and India, for its edible seed.
The seed is aromatic with a nutmeg scent.
A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Nigella sativa. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Nigella sativa.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
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? 2.02.12.22.32.42.5 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
? 3.03.13.23.33.4 Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
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? 7.07.17.27.3 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
? 8.08.18.28.38.48.5 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
? 9.09.19.29.39.49.5 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
? 10.010.110.2 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
? 11.011.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? International Bee Research Association. Garden Plants Valuable to Bees. International Bee Research Association. (1981-00-00)
? Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
? Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
? Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds. Frederick Muller Ltd ISBN 0-584-10141-4 (1977-00-00)
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