What are Black Seeds?

Black Seed Oil: History, Origins and Uses

All your questions about this unique product explained

Black Seeds, Nigella Sativa, Black Cumin, Kalonji, Blessed Seeds, Habbt Baraka. Sounds exotic, doesn’t it? You’ve probably heard some people talking about it, especially if you’ve been to a health food, supplement or vitamin store. You’ve also probably seen more ads popping up for Black Seed Oil or BSO. Maybe you’ve even heard someone raving about its health benefits.

Like most people, you’ve been intrigued about Black Seed Oil, but it may be hard to figure out just what it is. In this article, we’ll give you all the background information you need to understand what it is.

Nigella what?

Nigella Savita. That’s the scientific name for the plant that produces the seeds where the oil is drawn from. Sometimes it’s written as just N. sativa. It also goes by many other names across the world: nigella seeds, black cumin seeds, black caraway seeds, Roman coriander seeds. Of course, the most common and well-known name is black seeds.


Let’s take a quick walk down history to learn more about Nigella Sativa and the Black Seed Oil that come from it.
Like many other medicinal plants, the Nigella Sativa has been known as a healing herb for centuries in many areas of the world. It’s native to:

  • Middle East
  • North Africa

As early traders learned about the black cumin seeds, it spread throughout the Eastern Mediterranean area and as far away as India and Pakistan. The Nigella Sativa seeds were even found in numerous sites at archeological digs in Egypt, including the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (King Tut), who died around 1325 B.C.

So, Black cumin seeds have been around long before humans arrived on this world and is probably one of the oldest plants used for cooking and native medicine. It’s hard to pinpoint when people first started making Black Seed Oil. But, the blessed seeds are mentioned by the Prophet Muhammad (SAS) and are mentioned in The Bible.

Nowadays, there are total of 12 countries where Nigella Sativa flowers are cultivating but not all of them are doing it in a large quantity for oil extraction.

Main 7 countries that grow black seeds in large quantities for oil extraction:

  • Ethiopia
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Pakistan
  • India
  • Bangladesh

Why these areas? This is where the flower can grow and create a big basket of seeds. Most countries in the world who tried to create a farms of Nigella Sativa flowers were not lucky to get the flowers, or they got the flowers but there were no seed baskets created.

Even at all 7 regions there are different quantity and quality of harvested seeds. Unfortunately, for the world consumers the biggest quantity producers of the black seeds are not of the best potency due to the geographical position and climate conditions.

What is it?

To look at it, you might think it’s just a very pretty flower with blue, or red, or mainly white petals. The Nigella Sativa is a sun-loving plant that grows well on hillsides where it can get the right amount of rain and son. As the plant matures, the petals open up to reveal a small pod with the black seeds. As the name Black Seed Oil says, the seeds are black. You might even mistake the seeds for the poppy seeds you see on your morning bagel or other breads.

The Black Seed Oil is collected when the seeds are crushed in a special pressing machine. In early cultures, it was just a matter of grinding the seeds with stones and collecting the oil. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of plants making these very small seeds to get even a small amount of oil.

What’s in the oil?

The Black Seed Oil accounts for about 23% of each N. sativa seeds. It’s the oil, that’s the prize here. It contains about 250 components where 50 of them by 2020 still had no scientific names. Also, a number of chemicals, but the really important ones are:

  • Linoleic Acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid and is one of two essential fatty acids for humans)
  • Oleic Acid (a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid)
  • Trans-Anethole (a naturally occurring flavoring compound)

Extremally important active minerals (phytochemical compounds) for human immune system:

  • Thymoquinone
  • Hydrothymoquinone
  • Thymol

The black seeds also have various other compounds in small amounts, including proteins and alkaloids.

Main component THYMOQUINONE

It’s the Thymoquinone (TQ) that really counts. As far as any health benefits BSO may have, it’s what scientists around the world have been studying in Black Seed Oil. The seeds and the oil extract have been used in traditional Indian, Egyptian, Syrian, Saudi Arabian medicine. It also has a great following in Muslim countries and is used extensively throughout Africa, the Mediterranean region and the Middle East.

Whatever Nigella Sativa products you use, the level or percent of the Thymoquinone in the product makes a huge difference. The higher the level, the more effective it is. For example, Black Cumin Oil, which is the most common product from the Nigella Sativa plant, can range from as little as 0.15% to up to 4.64% that was officially confirmed by BioNatal LLC Investigations that you can find in the PlayList on our YouTube channel. It’s important to ask sellers for certificate of the analyses and never trust the labels.

Another thing to know about the TQ is where the plant comes from. As we said earlier, some places produce the best Nigella Sativa. For example, Ethiopia has the best land and location for cultivating the plant. As a result, it produces seeds with the highest potency of Thymoquinone.

For more information about Black Seed Oil, see our other information on this website.