Nigella sativa

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Negro and its color variations

Elegant ornamental flower from the buttercup family. Behind this description, the drug and few people were looking for a traditional spice herb. However, black people in our country are mainly known to gardeners its ornamental value, but as a spice few. Which is a shame - from antiquity to the times our grandmothers were respected by people for its beneficial effects on the entire digestive system and for hers delicate but interesting taste.

Blackthorn is an annual plant that grows to a height of about 35 cm. On the upright stem we find multiple divided leaves with linear segments, which are somewhat similar to dill leaves. The flower has five false petals. The color of the flowers is white, only in the middle are the yellow stamens. The fruit is a capsule with rough, dark brown to blackish seeds. It blooms from June to the end of August.

Blackberry comes from southwest Asia, came to Europe thousands of years ago and has been grown here ever since. It was found in the tombs of ancient Egypt, and ancient and Islamic scholars included it in their medical books - the famous Avicenna also mentioned it in its Canon of Medicine. In Mathioli Herbariums or herbalists it says that "Sniffing a battered seed tied into a silk nodule, heals feverfew (rhinitis). Smoking drives him away and seas snakes, flies and mosquitoes. "

In southern and south-eastern Europe, other species of blacks, such as the Damascus Blackbird (Nigella damascena), which is often grown in our country as an ornamental flower in gardens due to its azure flowers. In our country, only the blackthorn is native (Nigella arvensis), which has bright, violet-white to yellow-green flowers. It grows in warm areas, but due to the use of herbicides only very rarely. All species of blacks are therapeutically equivalent.

Of this plant, we are most interested in seeds. After ripening, they are black, which is why they are called black cumin (attention, this name is also used for the seeds of tuberous bulbs, plants from the family of gooseberries) or black onions. They have a mildly spicy taste and are a popular spice mainly due to the fact that they do not irritate the digestive system, as is the case with pepper, ginger or hot pepper. On the contrary, they act against intestinal cramps and bloating and support the activity of the liver and pancreas.

They also act in dyspepsia and regulate metabolism in general, especially in the elderly. They are valued mainly as a remedy for enzymatic disorders of the pancreas. Chernucha is an important ingredient in Indian Ayurvedic and European homeopathic medicine. The tincture of the seeds heals the liver, stomach and pancreas, as well as the urinary tract and prostate. In the past, it was often used against various parasites or for respiratory problems. Of interest is the use of oil or seed infusion to combat the nipples of lactating women. It improves lactation, is a natural disinfectant and also heals minor injuries.

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Therapeutically, blackberries are used in the form of powder, tincture or infusion, which is prepared from a teaspoon of crushed seed poured with a quarter of a liter of boiling water. Historically, the infusion in red wine was also used, which has much stronger effects - which is why it is not recommended today. If we use blackberry for digestive problems, it is good to combine it with other herbs with similar effects, such as fennel, cumin or butterbur.

The seeds contain up to 35 % fats, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3, omega 6, omega 9), essential oils, saponin glycoside melanthin, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, copper, vitamins A, E and D, amino acids, flavonoids , phytosterols, tannins and enzymes. Currently, high hopes, especially in the treatment of liver and colon cancer, are placed in thymoquinone. Bitter nigellin, which also occurs only in black seeds, alleviates bronchial spasms, significantly counteracts allergies, hay fever, asthma, eczema, bloating, relieves bronchial diseases and digestive and intestinal problems.

Oil pressed from seeds is becoming more and more popular today. It strengthens the immune system, in particular, it has been found that its use increases the number of T-lymphocytes. Further studies have shown a reduction in allergic reactions to black oil by up to 70 %. It can prevent the release of histamine. It also has a bactericidal effect against various types of pathogens, in which it even surpasses certain types of antibiotics. Unlike them, however, it does not eliminate the favorable intestinal microflora.

Oil and tincture can also be used externally. They have bactericidal, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and antifungal effects, so they are suitable for the treatment of acne, eczema, hives, psoriasis and other dermatoses. They are also recommended as an aid for muscle and joint pain.

As a spice, the black man is called kalonji popular mainly in Indian and Arabic cuisine. It is suitable for vegetable and legume dishes such as curry, fresh salads, savory and sweet pastries and various dips. It is part of the spice mixture of Panch Phoron. We often find it in Indian pancakes naan and also in Armenian cheese majdouleh, which resembles Slovak korbáčků.

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