Kalonji is a flowering plant of the buttercup family. It is scientifically Nigella sativa, but people many a time call it nigella or black cumin. It never grows tall, with 30 cm being its full height at full maturity. Its seeds are used to flavor foods.
Many recipes can call for nigella, and you may wonder why it must be included. Well, choosing to include it or not to will be determined by reading this article through to the last word. Besides being used for culinary purposes, kalonji can benefit your health in many ways. In ancient times, kalonji was used to manage several health problems, including digestive issues and respiratory conditions. This article will discuss the health benefits that come with using kalonji.
1. Is High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are stable substances that help reverse cellular damages caused by oxidative stress. When free radicals are produced in large numbers and exceed antioxidants, oxidative state sets in, which causes damage to cells and can lead to chronic diseases like heart disease. Studies indicate that antioxidants can help improve your health and prevent diseases. In fact, antioxidants can reduce the risk of many types of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and obesity. The potent antioxidant properties of kalonji are due to the high content of compounds like carvacrol, thymoquinone, t-anethole, and 4-terpineol. Plus, kalonji contains essential oils which add to its antioxidant effects.
2. May Lower Cholesterol
Cholesterol, which is found all over your body when at low levels, is virtually harmless. They have a tendency of building up very fast, and when they reach some levels in the blood, they are considered harmful and increase your risk of heart disease. Well, you can never go wrong with kalonji when it comes to protecting your heart. Studies indicate that it can effectively lower cholesterol levels. They can reduce triglycerides and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. Additionally, the powder made from kalonji seeds can lead to a significant increase in “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. By reducing both total and “bad” LDL cholesterol, kalonji protects your heart health.
3. Can Help Prevent Cancer
Cancer is a chronic disease caused by oxidative stress and is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells. Kalonji contains powerful antioxidants which can help reduce free radicals that are key in the development of cancer cells. Thymoquinone is one potent and active antioxidant in kalonji. For example, thymoquinone can initiate apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cancer cells. Kalonji and its compounds have also shown promising effects against different types of cancers, including lung, stomach, prostate, pancreatic, skin, and colon cancers. However, there is no scientific backing on the anticancer effects of kalonji on humans. Therefore, more human studies should be done in this area.
4. May Help Fight Bacteria
Bacteria can be good or bad. For example, healthy gut bacteria are good, while disease-causing are bad as they are associated with many dangerous infections, including pneumonia. Studies suggest that kalonji may have antibacterial properties which may help fight certain strains of bacteria. It can be used as a standard antibiotic in the treatment of staphylococcal skin infections and other bacterial skin infections. Additionally, studies have shown that kalonji can significantly treat as well as preventing the growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is a type of bacteria that have grown resistant to many antibiotics.
5. May Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a defense mechanism that your body initiates to protect itself against infection and injury. However, chronic inflammation can do more harm than the anticipated good. This is because it can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and many other related diseases. Fortunately, studies have shown that kalonji may have anti-inflammatory properties in the body. Taking at least 1,000 mg of kalonji oil every day can help reduce markers of inflammation like C-reactive protein (CRP), as well as reducing oxidative stress. Similarly, thymoquinone, a compound in kalonji, can reduce pancreatic inflammation. Even though these results may be promising, they are only based on mice studies. Therefore, more human studies should be done to confirm the anti-inflammatory effects of kalonji in humans.
6. Can Help Improve Liver Functionality
Your liver is a very vital organ in your body. In fact, it is the second-largest organ after the skin. It is responsible for the metabolism of drugs, elimination of toxins, synthesizes nutrients and substances that are vital to health. It is said that kalonji and its components may help protect the liver from injury and damage. It can reduce the toxicity of chemicals, thus protecting the liver and kidney from damage. Additionally, the antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory abilities of kalonji can reduce oxidative stress that would have rather damaged the liver.
7. Can Improve Blood Sugar Control
A high sugar level in the blood is tied to several negative symptoms, including weight loss, poor concentration, fatigue, and increased thirst. If not attended to promptly, high blood sugar can lead to more complications such as nerve damage, poor healing of wounds, and vision changes. Studies indicate that kalonji can help put blood sugar in check and prevent many side effects associated with it.
8. May Prevent Gastric Ulcers
Gastric or stomach ulcers are sores that develop along the lining of your stomach and or intestines when digestive acids corrode the protective mucus layer. Research shows that kalonji could help protect this protective mucus layer and prevent the formation of ulcers. They can may exert effects that are as effective as the conventional medications used to treat gastric ulcers like omeprazole. Additionally, kalonji can also protect the stomach lining against the effects produced by alcohol which could have aggravated the development of ulcers.
Kalonji is a short plant that but produces seeds that can benefit humans in many ways in terms of health. Many people refer to it as nigella or black cumin. Studies show that with its antioxidant effects, anti-inflammatory properties, and antibacterial abilities, kalonji can help improve your health. It can reduce inflammation, prevent gastric ulcers, and manage infections. If you have never tried it, then it’s high time your searched for it.