When I lived in Istanbul years ago, I regularly ate blackseeds sprinkled on flatbread. I didn’t know what they were or anything about their healing properties, but I relished their nutty flavor. Years later when I was trying to figure out how to heal my migraines I came across many people extolling the benefits of blackseed, aka nigella sativa or “blessed seed.” This blessed blackseed has been use throughout millenia for headache and a host of other ailments. For our purposes, blackseed is appealing because it is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and peroxynitrites implicated in migraine pain (Source).
The primary bioactive constituent of blackseed is Thymoquinone, but as with all plant helpers, its valuabe to realize its dynamic medicinal properties in whole food form.
I had read that nigella can be especially good for bladder infections so I told a friend about it. She had been suffering from recurring monthly UTI infections and was taking antibiotics to manage them. The blackseeds were very effective for her and allowed her to get off the antibiotics.
Blackseeds were found in King Tut’s tomb, and were revered by the ancient Egyptians. They have historically been used for a wide variety of ailments from India to Persia to Eastern Africa.
In the traditional system of medicine practised in the Arabian Gulf region, Black Seed is recommended for a wide range of ailments, including fever, cough, bronchitis, asthma, chronic headache, migraine, dizziness, chest congestion, dysmenorrhea, obesity, diabetes, paralysis, hemiplagia, back pain, infection, inflammation, rheumatism, hypertension, and gastrointestinal problems such as dyspepsia, flatulence, dysentery, and diarrhea. It has been used as a stimulant, diuretic, emmenagogue, lactagogue, anthelmintic, and carminative. Black Seed has also been used externally where it is applied directly to abscesses, nasal ulcers, orchitis, eczema, and swollen joints. (Source)
How to Make Blackseed “Milk”
This milk has an exquisite nutty flavor similar to sesame seeds, but its color and medicinal properties go far beyond your common sesame seed. The nutty flavor comes in part from roasting the seeds prior to making milk, which is really the only complicated part of this job. This recipe is otherwise very simple.
For this recipe, you will need:
1 Quart water
1 cup of organic Blackseeds (I buy mine from Natural Grocers)
pinch of salt
honey or maple syrup to taste
1 nutmilk bag for straining out the milk
First, roast the blackseeds in a pan on medium heat. I wait until the pan has reached desired heat before adding the seeds. You don’t want the seeds to burn or pop like popcorn. If you hear them starting to pop you need to lower the heat and keep stirring. The medicinal properties of these seeds is activated through heating. The seeds can cause stomach upset if eaten raw, so this step is crucial.
After the seeds have been roasted, ideally soak them in 1 Qt of water for about an hour. Once this has been done, pour off the soaking water and refill the quart jar, then add to the blender. Blend the seeds and water on high for a few minutes to make sure that the creamy contents have been fully dispersed in the water. Add salt and honey to taste, then drain through the nutmilk bag. The color remains a unique grey color you won’t see anywhere else!
This milk stays fresh for 3-4 days in the fridge. Blackseeds can also be consumed in tea or sprinkled over a wide variety of other foods. And the blue flower is just stunning. Other varieties of nigella are grown for their decorative flowers, known as as Persian Jewels or Love-in-the-Mist.
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The information in this article is for educational purposes only and not meant to replace diagnosis, treatment, or prescription by a qualified medical professional.