Nigella sativa , more commonly known as black cumin, has been considered for millennia as one of the most valuable herbal herbs.
It is endowed with graceful and fragrant flowers , white as soon as they bloom but that turn to blue after only one day from flowering. Once withered, they produce pods in which the seeds are contained.
The maturation of the pods also determines the death of the plant, which thus completes its life cycle. The seeds, small and black, can be collected easily when the pod takes on a brown color: it is enough to crush it to free them from their casing.
It is a plant native to North Africa , but also thrives in other areas with a hot-dry climate , such as Turkey and other eastern areas .
Nigella is a plant very rich in nutritional principles; in fact, it contains eight of the nine essential amino acids and over a hundred precious components, including vitamins and minerals , so much so that it can be defined as a “symphony of vital substances”.
In addition to a high quantity of precious polyunsaturated fatty acids ( Omega 3 and Omega 6) that the human body is unable to produce independently and which boast strong anti-inflammatory properties , it also contains ascorbic and glutamic acids, minerals such as calcium, zinc , magnesium and potassium and vitamins A, B1, B2 and C.
The most important active component is undoubtedly Thymoquinone , an antioxidant molecule that inhibits, in addition to free radicals, the formation of unwanted prostaglandins; has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, thus decreasing the pain and unpleasant sensations associated with inflammatory processes. It also metabolizes fats as it stimulates bile production and aids in liver detoxification .
However, this substance performs the greatest activity at the respiratory level : it boasts a dilating effect on the bronchi, which is useful for preventing asthma attacks, and inhibits the secretion of natural histamine : it could therefore prove to be an alternative for therapies to cortisone base for chronic allergy sufferers.
Another component present in this plant with a broncho-dilating and antispastic action, very useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders such as asthma and pertussis, is Nigellina .
Properties of Nigella sativa oil
Soothing for the skin: the active substances contained in the oil obtained from the seeds of this plant are a real panacea for irritated, reactive and hypersensitive skin because they perform an important soothing and anti-inflammatory action, especially in case of dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions. Constant use visibly reduces redness and symptoms related to these ailments, such as itching and flaking. Furthermore, thanks to the presence of fatty acids it also has an excellent nourishing power, suitable for dry and dry skin or skin afflicted by sunburn .
Antibacterial and antifungal : Nigella oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties: therefore it can be very useful for fighting some skin diseases such as acne and mycoses, including candida. In these cases, you can use pure oil or combined with specific essential oils for acne skin and fungal infections, such as lavender, lemon and tea tree essential oils .
Anti- dandruff : Nigella oil is also useful for preventing and treating the problem of dandruff. In fact, it acts effectively against peeling, itching and irritation of the skin. Furthermore, if used to carry out compresses, it exerts a regenerating action on the hair fiber, giving softness and shine to the hair.
Expectorant and sedative : if massaged with energy in the area of the bronchi until completely absorbed (especially if conveyed in a carrier oil capable of penetrating deeply into the tissues, such as sesame oil) and then covered with a warm cloth, it is able to relieve tension and inflammation and to thin the secretions of the respiratory tract. To calm the cough, it is also possible to add 1 teaspoon of oil to boiling water and carry out fumigations.
A bit of history
The history relating to the use of the plant is very rich and dates back to very ancient times: it was in fact one of the most used species both in Asia and in Ancient Egypt .
In the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun , archaeologists have found seeds of Nigella and amphorae which, according to the analyzes carried out, at the time they were placed there were full of oil obtained from the seeds of the plant. In fact, it is believed that some doctors of Ancient Egypt used this plant to treat colds, headaches , respiratory disorders , toothaches, infections, inflammatory disorders and allergies.
Based on some historical evidence it seems that even the queens Cleopatra and Nefertiti used the oil obtained from Nigella seeds to give shine and beauty to nails and hair and for the nourishing and emollient properties it had on the skin .
In Anglo-Saxon countries it is also called " love in a mist ", love in the fog , due to the color of its flowers, or also " devil in the bush ", the devil in the bush , due to the conformation of the plant that creates dense bushes and veiled.
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