Genuine black cumin seed (Nigella sativa (L.)) belongs to the family of (Ranunculaceae), whereas the name "black cumin seed" is botanically incorrect, because this plant is neither related to caraway nor cumin.
During the ripening season genuine black cumin seed forms fruit capsules containing tiny, triangular, matt-black seeds consisting of at least 0,5 to 1,5 percent of essential and up to 40 percent of fatty oil.
The Nigella-species distinguishes about 20 different kinds of black cumin seed. A related kind is for instance the field black cumin (Nigella arvensis; also known as wild black cumin), which once had been a widely-spread wild herb on German acres and fields. Due to industrialization and agricultural reorganization field black cumin has almost vanished completely, resulting in the fact that nowadays it is regarded as a plant threatened with extinction.
Only black cumin seed (Nigella sativa) has established as spice and oil plant because of its excellent characteristics. Due to the fact, that we solely offer genuine black cumin seed there is no special need to use the adjective "genuine", wherefore we have decided to simply speak of "black cumin seed (oil)".
Already the question on which acreage the black cumin seed will be planted determines the degree of quality of the oil to be extracted later on. Our black cumin seed oil is cold-pressed from seeds from certified organic farming in Egypt. Under adherence to the strict German food right these seeds are pressed in Germany and the extracted oil is bottled here as well. As a result of this the costumer receives a black cumin seed oil of finest Bio-quality and maximum freshness.
Archeologic findings prove that already ancient Egyptians about 3.400 years ago acknowledged black cumin seed and its oil. Today, the Egyptian museum in Cairo exhibits a small bottle containing black seed oil, which had been found in the grave of Pharaoh Tut-Anch Amun (approx. 1350 - 1323 B.C.) as one of his burial objects supposed to join the king in his journey to the Afterlife. Even Queen Nofretete, who lived in the 14th century B.C. and who is still known for her remarkable beauty supposedly used black cumin seed oil to preserve her extraordinary complexion, as well as the no less well-known Pharaoh-Queen Cleopatra (69 – 12 B.C.), who is also said to have regularly used the oil to preserve the beauty of her body.
In biblical times it was common to plant black cumin seed. Old and New Testament have explicitly mentioned the plant, but when Martin Luther (1483 – 1546 A.C.) translated the Bible into German, he rendered the old Hebrew word "Kazach", which allegedly means "black cumin seed", simply into the short term "cumin" (see Jesaja 28; 24 -29).
Black cumin seed had once been considered a very highly valuable spice, so that even a tax was levied on it. In the New Testament one can find a sermon by Jesus (see Matthew, 23,23) in which he mentions the plant and criticizes the ongoing tax-practice: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."
The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) said: "In black cumin seed there is cure for every disease, except death." This saying of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has raised an eternal monument to black cumin seed. In many Islamic countries black cumin seed and black cumin seed oil still belong to every common medicine chest.
In the 10th century A.C. the well-known Islamic doctor Ibn Sina (Lat. Avicenna) described in his "Book of Healing" (Arab. Kitab ash-Shifa), which had been a standard work at European universities for over 500 years, many positive characteristics of the black cumin seed. The US-American Historian of Science, George Sarton, called Ibn Sina "the most-famous scientist of Islam or even of all times."
In Europe, black cumin seed was commonly used as herbal ingredient in bread dough. Regarding this fact, the German language even introduced a new term for black cumin seed, namely "Brotwurz" (bread herb). For the last decades, black cumin seed had more and more lost its importance, but just recently it experiences a renaissance.
Black cumin seed oil consists of about 80 percent of unsaturated fatty acids in natural compound, which is a very high concentration of this kind of healthy fatty acid. The content of linoleic (Omega-6-fatty) acid in the seeds amounts to about 55 percent, the one of oleic acid to about 22 percent and the one of alpha-linoleic (Omega-3-fatty) acid to about 1 percent. Those fatty acids are poly-unsaturated and they belong to the kind of fatty acids that are essential for the human organism, which means they are urgently needed for many metabolic processes. But because humans are not able to produce these "good fats" themselves, they have to consume them with their food.
Furthermore, black cumin seed oil contains beta-carotine (provitamin A), vitamin K1 and the amino acids leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalatine, threonine, tryptophan and valine, which are also essential for humans and have therefore to be consumed with the daily food.The amino acids Cysteine and tyrosine, which are essential for children and pregnant women, are also contained in black cumin seed oil.
The essential oil, that by nature is part of black cumin seed oil in very small amounts (about 0,5 to 1 percent), contains among others active substances such as linalool, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, carvacrol, p-cymene, gamma-Terpinene and Thymoquinone.
The ingredients nigellon and nigellin are supposed to be contained in the ethereal oil of the seeds as well. Nigellin is called a bitter substance or alkaloid that is supposed to occur in traces next to other alkaloids such as nigellimin-n-oxide, nigellicin and nigellidin. With absolute certainty tanning agents and saponines are contained, for instance melanthin, that amounts to about 1,5 percent in the seed. Furthermore, different authors claim hederagenine, hederidine, kalosapogenine and melanthigenin to be contained in the ethereal oil of the black cumin seed.
Samen und Öl des Schwarzkümmels gehören heute noch im arabischen Raum zu den wichtigsten Gewürzen.
Durch seine orientalische Würze ist Schwarzkümmel eine Gaumenfreude für Feinschmecker. In Indien ist Schwarzkümmel ein Bestandteil von Curry und anderen Gewürzmischungen. Köstlich schmeckt Schwarzkümmel auch als Brotgewürz. Man kann ihn in den Teig mischen oder vor dem Backen eine Prise oben draufstreuen.
Schwarzkümmelöl kann, wenn es einem pur nicht schmeckt, in Kombination mit Honig verzehrt werden. Auch dem Salatdressing kann man etwas Schwarzkümmel beimischen, wodurch der Salat aromatischer und noch gesünder wird. Gebratene Fleischgerichte bekommen eine besondere Note, wenn man zum herkömmlichen Öl noch zusätzlich etwas Schwarzkümmelöl gibt. Es empfiehlt sich aber, das Schwarzkümmelöl erst am Ende eines Koch- oder Bratvorgang zuzugeben, um seine wertvollen Inhaltstoffe, die hitzeempfindlich sind, zu erhalten.
Auch zur Hautreinigung und -pflege eignet sich Schwarzkümmelöl ausgezeichnet. Es revitalisiert strapazierte Haut, indem man es einige Minuten sanft einmassiert oder als Badezusatz verwendet. Als natürliches Haartonikum aktiviert es die Kopfhaut und die Haarwurzeln. In Kombination mit Arganöl, entsteht ein unschlagbares Duo.