What is Nigella?
Nigella has been used since antiquity by Asian herbalists and pharmacists and was used for culinary purposes by the Romans. The seeds are known to repel certain insects and can be used like moth balls. The name nigella derives from the Latin nigellus, or niger, meaning black.
Smell: The seeds have little bouquet, though when they are rubbed they give off an aroma reminiscent of oregano.
Flavour: Slightly bitter and peppery with a crunchy texture.
Hotness Scale: 3 Preparation and Storage The seeds may be used whole or ground and are usually fried or roasted before use The are easily crushed in a mortar and pestle.
Health Benefits of Nigella
Nigella is used in Indian medicine as a carminative and stimulant and is used against indigestion and bowel complaints. In India it is used to induce post-natal uterine contraction and promote lactation. The seed yields a volatile oil containing melanthin, nigilline, damascene and tannin. Melanthin is toxic in large dosages and Niugelline is paralytic, so this spice must be used in moderation.
Black Caraway, Black Cumin, Black Seed, Damascena, Devil in-the-bush, Fennel flower, Melanthion, Nutmeg Flower, Roman Coriander, Wild Onion Seed
French: cheveux de Venus, nigell, poivrette
German: Scharzkummel (black caraway)
Indian: kala zeera (lit, ‘black cumin’), kalonji, krishnajiraka