Don't forget to read our new blog post this week titled: How Golden Honey Milk Can Help Relieve Dry Cough
We are often asked about black seed by our customers or if we sell black seed honey so we decided to write an article on the subject. Most herbal remedies using black seed include mixing it with honey in one form or another.
What Is Black Seed?
"Black seed" is the seed of a plant named Nigella sativa which native to the Indian Subcontinent and West Asia. It is a small black seed which is also known as nigella, black cumin, kalonji (Urdu), habbatus-sawdaa' (Arabic and Malay) and kalojeera (Bengali).
The seeds are used as a spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. They have a bitter, pungent taste and odour.
What Is So Special About Black Seed?
The earliest written reference to the black seed is in the Book of Isaiah of the Bible, in which it is referred to as “Ketzah” in Hebrew, a spice for bread and cakes:
"For the black cumin is beaten out with a stick and the cumin with a rod." (Isaiah 28:27)
But it is its use in Islamic medicine that has made black seed famous in traditional remedies all over the world. The origin of its use in traditional medicine can be traced back to a saying of the Prophet Muhammad (s):
"In the black seed is a cure for every illness except death." (Sahih Al-Bukhari 7:71:592)
For this reason, another common name for the black seed in the Arab world is habbatul-barakah (the blessed seed).
It is also reported that Queen Nefertiti of Ancient Egypt used black seeds and there are even reports that black seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun himself.
The Properties Of Black Seeds
The black seed has been extensively researched over several centuries by scientists all over the world.
Traditional herbalists Avicenna and Ibn Al-Qayyim made extensive use of black seeds in their remedies to heal a range of ailments from fevers and common colds to high blood pressure, asthma and respiratory illnesses.
Many of the traditional remedies involving black seed involve taking it with honey in some form or another.
The principal bioactive compound in the black seed is thymoquinone. Since 1960 at least 406 research papers on thymoquinone have been published in the PubMed database.
A 2014 study led by the University of Salzburg, Austria, documented extensively the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of thymoquinone and the black seed.
Interestingly, since President Donald Trump's recent announcement that anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is a cure for coronavirus, rumours have been abound on social media that hydroxychloroquine is derived from the black seed.
There is no truth to the rumours that anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is derived from the black seed.
That said, the bioactive properties of the black seed in its own right are well documented and it continues to be used in traditional herbal remedies all over the world, not just in the Muslim world.
How Is Black Seed Taken In Herbal Remedies?
There are a number of ways in which black seed is taken in herbal remedies:
- Taken orally and swallowed.
- Crushed into a powder then mixed into water, honey or oil.
- Boiled in water to make tea.
- Oil is made from the black seeds and then the oil is drunk or applied onto the skin.
Most, if not all, herbal remedies involving black seed include having it with honey in some form or another.
The powerful antibiotic properties from the living nutrients and enzymes of honey, combined with the bioactive properties of black seeds, make a powerful tonic.
What Is The Best Way To Take Black Seed With Honey?
Based on our research the best way to take black seed with honey is mixed in water. Water activates the living nutrients of raw organic honey and amplifies the effect it has inside the body.
And when the black seeds are taken in their unprocessed, natural state, the body is able to extract all its bioactive compounds easily.
Take a teaspoon of raw organic active honey and mix into a glass of warm water (maximum 37C). Crush seven organic black seeds into powder, add to the mixture then drink it.
If you wish you can also add two tablespoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of organic psyllium husk powder to the mixture.
Taking raw organic honey by the spoon or by any other means does not have the same benefits as taking honey mixed in warm water.
Where Can I Buy Organic Black Seeds?
There are a number of places online where one can buy organic black seeds. Before buying, make sure the product is "certified organic Nigella sativa seed" and make sure you ask the seller the name and code of the body who certified these seeds as organic.
If you get stuck, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp +447534488614 and we can point you to some suppliers.
What About Black Seed Honey?
Black seed honey is simply black seeds mixed into honey to make a paste. Sometimes the seeds are mixed whole. At other times the seeds are crushed into a powder then mixed into the honey.
There are a number of black seed honey products on the market. Most, if not all, of these products are not certified organic. Some do not claim to be organic, others claim to be organic but are unable to mention the name or code of their organic certifier.
We advise against buying any black seed honey product that is not organic certified and unpasteurised.
That is because the integrity and purity of both the honey and the black seed cannot be guaranteed in products that are not organic certified.
For a product to be certified organic, the product label must have the green EU organic symbol and the organic certifier code listed on the product.
If both of these details are missing on the label then the product is not organic, even if it says "organic" in large letters everywhere, even if you trust the seller.
Just like one cannot claim a product is halal or kosher without certification, it is illegal and an offence to market any product as organic without a certification code.
Furthermore, the manufacturer of the product must have a registration number with the organic certifying body.
For example, all Latin Honey Shop organic honeys are certified organic by the UK Organic Food Federation, whose code is GB-ORG-04. Our registration number is 01525.
What this means in layman's terms is that if you wish to verify the organic integrity and purity of our organic honeys you simply have to email or phone the UK Organic Food Federation and ask, "Is the Latin Honey Shop 01525 certified organic with you?" They will verify this for you.
So before you buy any product claiming to be organic, whether honey, oil, cosmetics or anything else, ask the seller two questions:
1. What is the name and code of the organic certifying body who certified this product as organic?
2. What is the organic registration number of the manufacturer of this product?
If the seller cannot provide documentary answers to these questions then their products are not organic.
As described above, based on our research the best way to take black seed with honey is to mix the two in water. Taking raw organic honey by the spoon or by any other means does not have the same benefits as taking honey mixed in warm water.
However, if you wish to take black seed honey then the best way to ensure the purity and integrity of your product is to buy raw certified organic honey and add certified organic Nigella sativa black seeds to it.
What About Black Seed Oil?
We advise against buying or using black seed oil unless it is both certified organic and cold pressed. Heating black seeds or processing them into oil by common processing methods can destroy their bioactive compounds.
There are a number of black seed oil products on the market. Again, most, if not all of these products are not certified organic. Some do not claim to be organic, others claim to be organic but are unable to mention the name or code of their organic certifier.
Some of these products are made by crushing black seeds into processed vegetable or olive oil. Some of these products are a blend of processed oils with no proof of the purity or otherwise of the ingredients.
Again, based on our research the best way to take black seed with honey is to mix the two in water. Taking raw organic honey by the spoon or by any other means does not have the same benefits as taking honey mixed in warm water.
However, if you wish to mix black seed oil into honey then ensure the honey is unpasteurised and certified organic, and ensure the black seed oil is cold pressed and certified organic.
If you are unable to ensure that then it is better to buy your own organic products and mix them yourself, than to take the risk and spend money on a product that may well be fake.
All of our honeys are unpasteurised and certified organic and are suitable to be mixed with organic black seeds into warm water.
However, the two honeys from our range which we recommend for the most powerful bioactive properties when combined with organic black seeds in water are our 20+ Active Raw Organic Coffee Bean Honey From Mexico and our 10+ Active Raw Organic Orange Blossom Honey From Mexico.