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Real black cumin (raw, organic?)

Black cumin (raw) is known as a spice and medicinal product. It aids digestion and gives dishes a spicy flavor. Organic quality?
The information we compiled for this ingredient complies with the standards ofthe USDA database.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 4.21%
Macronutrient proteins 30.53%
Macronutrient fats 65.26%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, 8g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, 0.4g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 20:1

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Here, essential linolenic acid (LA) 8 g to essential alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) 0.4 g = 20:1.
Ratio Total omega-6 = 8 g to omega-3 fatty acids Total = 0.4 g = 20:1.
On average, we need about 2 g of LA and ALA per day from which a healthy body also produces EPA and DHA, etc.

The seeds of black cumin ( Nigella sativa ) are an aromatic oriental spice and a traditional folk medicinal remedy. Available raw and in organic quality .

Black cumin: Use in the kitchen

The taste of black cumin is slightly spicy, with a hint of pepper, oregano and/or thyme. Some say it has a slightly nutty note, sometimes it is reminiscent of anise or camphor. Black cumin seeds play an important role in Indian, North African and Turkish cuisine. The plant is not related to caraway or cumin .

Black cumin is a component of the spice mixture Panch Phoron (India, Bengal, Nepal), which usually also contains fennel seeds , fenugreek seeds , black mustard seeds and cumin seeds. These are used, for example, for Alu Gobhi (Aloo Gobi), a dish with potatoes and cauliflower .

Black cumin is also traditionally used in many vegetable curries, vegan dals and baked goods (especially on flatbread), as well as in tea or to flavor coffee.

Spices such as sesame , thyme , mint , ginger , garlic and coriander harmonize well with black cumin seeds.

Some suppliers emphasize that ground black cumin seeds mixed with water can be used as a vegan egg white substitute. However, aquafaba is probably better suited for this.

Black cumin seeds can be eaten raw. Because the dry roasted spice has a fuller aroma, this variant is used in many recipes. However, because important ingredients are destroyed when heated to high temperatures, it is better to eat them raw. If you want, you can crush the seeds in a mortar or grind them freshly just before use to release the essential oils.

Black cumin oil (often cold-pressed) is obtained from the seeds, which can be combined with rocket or cucumber , e.g. in a raw salad. However, we recommend using natural ingredients such as nuts and seeds instead of oils (see the link in the box below).

Vegan recipe for Alu Gobhi with black cumin:

Ingredients (for 4 people): 2 onions , 3 garlic cloves , 30 g ginger (raw), 2 tomatoes , 500 g cauliflower , 400 g waxy potatoes , 1 tbsp rapeseed oil , 3 tsp Panch Phoron spice mix (black cumin (raw, organic), cumin seeds , fennel seeds , fenugreek seeds , black mustard seeds ), salt, 1.5 dl water.

Preparation: For this Indian dish, peel the onions and garlic and chop both finely. Peel the raw ginger and grate finely. Dice the tomatoes. Cut the cauliflower into florets. Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Heat the rapeseed oil in a frying pan. Gently heat the onions, garlic and ginger. Add the tomatoes, cauliflower and potatoes and stir fry gently for approx. 5 minutes. Add the spice mixture, salt and water, cover and simmer for approx. 20 minutes until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked. Many recipes call for dry roasting the spices; we do not recommend this (see above). You can briefly crush the mixture in a mortar to release the flavor.

Vegan black cumin recipes can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Shopping - where to buy real black cumin?

You can buy black cumin (organic) ground or as whole seeds. It is usually found in organic shops, health food stores and online. Major retailers such as Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer , Billa do not have black cumin in their range, and we also looked in vain for it at the organic supermarkets Alnatura or Denn's Biomarkt (as of 2022). The harvest time for black cumin is between September and October. 1 It is available in stores all year round, also under the Indian name Kalonji or as " Nigella sativa , seeds".

The gentle processing or drying and raw food quality (raw quality) depend heavily on the producer or the retailer. Some seeds are subjected to disinfection, although this is mostly not necessary in local organic farming. 20

Found in the wild:

Wild black cumin is found in Turkey, Iran and Iraq, and partly in South Asia. In Europe, black cumin is rarely found in the wild. In southern Europe, including Greece and Italy, it is occasionally found near river banks or near agricultural areas. 2


Black cumin is best stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.

Black cumin: ingredients - nutritional values - calories

Here we realistically show you the ingredients of spices and herbs per 1 g (instead of per 100 g as usual).

Black cumin contains 5.24 kcal/1g. The fiber content is good at 0.29 g/1g. Proteins are also well represented at 0.2 g/1g. 3 The manganese, tryptophan and calcium content is high, but is not significant when consumed in normal quantities.

Manganese is contained at 2.5 mg/100g (<0.03 mg/1g). Consuming 1 g therefore covers 1.25% of the daily requirement. Flaxseed 23 and lupine flour 3 have a similar manganese value (both 2.5 mg/100g).

The tryptophan content is comparable to linseed and lupine flour (0.3 g/100g and 0.003 g/1g respectively). 1 g of black cumin seeds corresponds to 1.19% of the daily requirement. 3

A consumption of 1 g covers 1.19% of the daily calcium requirement. Black sesame and cumin seeds provide a similar amount of calcium, around 9.75 mg and 9.31 mg per 1 g respectively. 3.23

The ratio of LA to ALA is 20:1 3 , similar to that of caraway seeds 23 (21:1). Since the Federal Nutrition Commission recommends a ratio of <5:1, black cumin does not have optimal values.

The complete ingredients of black cumin, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients can be found in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic. CLICK FOR under the ingredient image.

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects:

Only the seeds are used in cooking. The other parts of the plant are slightly poisonous 1 - in science, the toxic effect of seed extracts is considered to be weak. 18

Excessive consumption of black cumin can lead to nausea and stomach upset. Black cumin seeds are safe to consume in normal amounts. Allergies and other side effects occur primarily when black cumin oil is used. 18

Health aspects - effects:

Black cumin seeds are considered to be a good antioxidant. 14,18,21 The best studied effect is on lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hyperlipidemia (elevated blood fats) and hypertension (high blood pressure). 21 Controlled clinical studies with black cumin seeds are rather rare, but are becoming more frequent.

The main active ingredient in black seed is thymoquinone. The effects of thymoquinone have been demonstrated in individual studies on humans and animals. 4 However, further research is needed to make it a pharmaceutical preparation ready for clinical trials.

Thymoquinone is anti-inflammatory and has antibacterial and antiviral effects. 5,6,7 It has the potential to have a preventive effect against cancer. Studies have described that it inhibits the proliferation, migration and invasion of cancer cells. 8 It has also been shown that thymoquinone increases the effectiveness of cancer drugs. 9 Studies support a positive effect of thymoquinone against asthma and other respiratory diseases. 10 Among other things, the effect on mild COVID-19 courses has also been investigated. 11

Animal studies have shown that black cumin protects against ischemia-reperfusion damage to the liver 12 and kidneys 13. This type of damage is common in trauma surgery and transplants and is considered to be a major cause of acute liver and kidney damage. The tissue suffering from reduced blood flow (ischemia) suffers damage after blood flow is restored (reperfusion), which can lead to rejection reactions and even organ failure. This seemingly paradoxical reaction is attributed to the consequences of the lack of oxygen and nutrients, which may arise when blood circulation is restored due to cell-damaging oxygen products and which cannot be prevented to date. 25

Folk medicine - natural medicine:

Black cumin has been used in medicine since ancient times. In folk medicine it is considered to aid digestion and traditionally helps with a variety of ailments: especially against diseases of the respiratory system, digestion, cardiovascular system - and to support the kidneys and liver as well as the immune system. 14

Occurrence - Origin of Black Cumin:

The black cumin plant originates in southern Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. It is now widespread and cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region, in Iran, Pakistan, India, Syria, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. 14

Commercial cultivation takes place mainly in India and the Middle East. 1 In international trade, statistics do not usually distinguish between caraway, black cumin and black seed ( Bunium persicum or Elwendia persica ), and all spices are often considered as one category. Therefore, no exact data on the global production of black cumin is available. India leads the production of spices, 24 and, according to a Dutch source, also that of black cumin seeds. 15 Other producing countries are Turkey, Egypt and Ethiopia. 15,24

Growing in the garden or as a potted plant:

Black cumin is easy to grow in the garden. Since the plant multiplies rapidly, it should be provided with root barriers. Black cumin can be sown directly in the garden bed or in a pot of at least 5 l in March to April 16 and the plants do not need to be pre-grown. Loose, permeable, humus-rich soil is important to avoid waterlogging. A sunny location is important. Due to the long ripening period, sowing should take place as early as possible when the soil temperature is 5° C or more. When sowing, a distance of 20-30 cm is ideal. Place the seeds 1-2 cm deep in the soil and press down lightly. 1

As soon as the plant is ready to harvest, it slowly dies from the bottom up and the fruit capsules turn a brownish color. 16 A sure sign that the capsules are ripe is the rustling sound of the seeds inside when you shake them gently. Cut off the seed heads and lay them out to dry at room temperature for a few days. Then remove the seeds and dry them. 1

Cultivation - Harvest:

For large-scale cultivation, sow between September and the end of October 19 (in Central Europe from March to April 22 ). When the seeds are ripe, the plants are mown and left to dry on cotton or linen sheets. The black cumin seeds are then threshed and prepared for sale or pressed to make oil. 19 Alternatively, harvesting is done with a combine harvester and gentle drying to 9% residual moisture is done mechanically. 22

Risk of confusion and possibilities:

At first glance, the seeds of black cumin look similar to black sesame ( Sesamum indicum ). However, black sesame has a flat, drop-shaped shape. Black cumin seeds, on the other hand, have three edges. The two taste very different. Confusion with the seeds of thorn apple ( Datura stramonium ), which contain a high alkaloid content, can also happen. 19

Black cumin looks very similar to the maidenhair plant ( Nigella damascena ) in terms of growth and seed shape. 1,17 The latter is an annual garden plant with white to dark blue flowers and is also a member of the buttercup family. When rubbed, the seeds of the maidenhair plant give off a scent reminiscent of pineapple or strawberries. 19 Due to the alkaloid damascenine 17 it is not recommended to use Nigella damascena seeds regularly in cooking (although toxicity is controversial).

Black cumin ( Bunium persicum or Elwendia persica ) is sometimes called black cumin, which can cause confusion.

General information:

Black cumin ( Nigella sativa ) belongs to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). It is therefore not closely related to caraway ( Carum carvi ) or cumin ( Cuminum cyminum ), as these belong to the umbelliferous family ( Apiaceae ) . Black cumin is an annual plant with milky white (with a greenish or bluish discoloration at the tip 19 ) or slightly bluish flowers. When fully grown, the plant is 30 to 60 cm tall. Its leaves are arranged in two rows along the leaf spindle and the stem can have multiple branches. The seeds are in seed capsules, one of which develops per star-shaped flower. 16

Alternative names:

Black cumin is also known as Roman coriander, nigella seed or breadroot.

In English, black cumin is known as Roman coriander, black cumin, black caraway, black seed (seeds) or nigella seeds.

In India, black cumin seeds are called Kalonji and in Asia they are often mistakenly referred to as black onion seeds.

Literature - Sources:

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