10 Top Benefits Of Kalonji Seeds (Karunjeeragam)

kalonji benefits

Kalonji seeds popularly called as Nigella seeds | Black Cumin | Black Seeds in English and Karunjeeragam in Tamil have amazing health benefits. From aiding weight loss and promoting hair growth to treating diabetes, it does have amazing medicinal uses. Kalonji seeds are very popular in India as they are used to season certain dishes and kalonji oil also called Kalonji Ka Tel in Hindi is used extensively for hair and skin care.

What Is Kalonji?

Kalonji are the seeds of Nigella Sativa plant. They look almost like our black sesame seeds but kalonji seeds are more intensively black and the seeds are slightly oval. Kalonji seeds are used in Unani, Siddha & Ayurvedic system of medicines and is quite popular throughout India. It is an annual flowering plant that produces delicate flowers and large fruits.

It is native to North Africa, Southern Europe and Southern parts of Asia. Black seeds have been described in certain religious (Islam) texts like Quran as a miracle ingredient that cures everything except death, this itself signifies it’s medicinal importance.

Kalonji Botanical & Common Names:

The botanical name of kalonji seeds are Nigella Sativa and it belongs to the genus Nigella. It is called Karunjeeragam | Karum Seeragam |கருஞ்சீரகம் in Tamil, Mangraila in Bengali, Karinjeerakam in Malayalam, Nalla Jeelakarra in Telugu, Krishna Jeerige in Kannada, Kalo Jira in Bengali and Kale Til in Marathi.

Kalonji Nutritional Information:

100 grams of kaloji seeds have around 345 calories, 15 grams of fat, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 40 grams of fiber and 16 grams
of protein. It is rich in calcium, iron, vitamin C, magnesium and vitamin B6.

Kalonji Chemical Composition:

The wonderful healing powers of this plant is due to the presence of a bioactive compound called thymoquinone. They have a pungent bitter taste.

kalonji medicinal uses

Kalonji Seeds & Kalonji Oil Use In India:

In India kalonji seeds are used mostly in Northern Indian cuisine and very rarely in South India. It is one of the five spices used in Panch Phoran (meaning a blend of 5 spices) which is used to spice all the curries in Bengali cuisine.

Since it looks very attractive kalonji seeds are usually sprinkled over breads like sesame seeds especially it is usually sprinkled over the Indian bread called Naan. At home, I have a small box of this wonderful seeds for sprinkling when I make naan bread at home.

Kalonji seeds are in use for more than 2000 years so it has been widely used for medicinal purposes for a very long time. Both kalonji oil and the seeds have been used for treating headache, deworming, cold related diseases and diarrhoea.

It is also used for increasing immunity and breast milk production, liver tonic and for fighting off parasitic infections. In addition to below mentioned uses, kalonji also has a positive effect on our thyroid and patients suffering from thyroid problems will benefits consuming kalonji seeds.

Nigella Seeds Dosage:

The general suggested dosage is around half tsp of the seed powder and the duration is around 2 months. If you are taking blood pressure or blood sugar medications, it is best to mention it to your physician and adjust the dosage accordingly.

Nigella Side Effects:

It has anti fertility properties so pregnant women should not consume it. It  also reduces blood sugar levels and blood pressure so people taking blood pressure medications and diabetic medications should monitor their blood and pressure levels closely. It also has drug interactions so if you are on any long term medications please mention about taking kalonji seeds.

Where to Get Kalonji?

We get kalonji seeds in almost all the departmental stores in India. It is available cheaply all over India. But suppose if you don’t get kalonji seeds in you place, you can always order it online. Kalonji oil is not widely available but some health stores stock cold pressed kalonji oil. We don’t get kalonji powder easily too but you can easily powder it at home.

How To Make Kalonji Powder?

To make kalonji powder, sun dry kalonji seeds spread on thin plate till crisp. Once crisp, powder in a dry mixer while still crisp from sun drying, sieve and store in an airtight box. I would suggest storing kalonji powder in the refrigerator, if you want to store it for long duration’s of time.

kalonji seeds side effects10 Top Benefits & Medicinal Use Of Kalonji (Black Seeds):

1. Kalonji Anti Bacterial Properties:

Kalonji seeds have wonderful antibacterial properties. In clinical research both ground kalonji seeds and the crude water extract like how we make an infusion at home with the seeds have shown anti bacterial properties.

Especially the water extract showed inhibition of the growth of staphylococcus aureus very effectively. This is the reason that nigella sativa has been used for treating skin diseases very effectively. You can read the research proving the anti bacterial properties here.

2. Kalonji Anti Fungal Properties:

Kalonji seeds exhibit significant anti fungal properties too. Traditionally kalonji seeds and the oil have been used for external application in the form of poultice for treating fungal infection and this traditional use has been backed by research.

You can read the study supporting this claim here. Two anti fungal defensins have also been isolated from kalonji seeds and they exhibit anti fungal activities against many fungal strains.

3. Anti Diabetic Properties:

Kalonji seeds have been traditionally recommended for type 2 diabetic patients as it was believed to reduce the blood sugar levels and this traditional belief is backed by research. Kalonji was given to 94 patients for a period of 90 days and the dosage was separated into 1mg, 2mg and 3 mg between patients.

Patients who received 2mg showed the best results and 1 mg didn’t give the desired results and also increasing it to 3mg didn’t have any positive change. You can read the study that proves this claim here.

4. Kalonji Anti Oxidant & Anti Cancer Properties:

Another very significant benefit of this magical seed is it’s amazing anti cancer properties. It protects us from so many cancers. Kalonji seeds have many active ingredients and especially TQ (thymoquinone) found in kalonji seeds have anti tumor, anti carcinogenic, anti mutagenic properties.

The list of cancer it is effective against is impressive, it has a protective effect against breast cancer, blood cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic, lung, renal, prostate and renal cancer! You can read the study that proves it here.

5. Kalonji Analgesic &Anti Inflammatory Properties:

Kalonji seeds have been used traditionally for treating joint pain for a very long time. This is due to it’s wonderful anti inflammatory and pain relieving (analgesic) properties.

For treating inflammations kalonji oil is usually rubbed on the joints. We can also make an infused oil by heating the kalonji seeds with any unrefined oil and using it as a massage oil for external application.

6.Kalonji Anti Asthma Properties:

Kalonji has lung protective properties and is wonderful against fighting asthma. A study that was done on 29 patients proving this effect. They were divided into 2 groups of 15 and 14 each and one was the study group taking the kalonji supplements and the other was placebo (not given anything).

Asthma severity, frequency and chest wheezing were measured and in each week the study group taking the kalonji extract improved greatly compared to placebo group who showed no improvement at all. Kalonji seeds also can be taken for treating cough and cold too.

7. Kalonji Nephro & Hepato Protective Properties:

Kalonji has both kidney and liver protective properties. Consuming kalonji seeds protects the liver tissue from toxic exposure to chemicals which is happening all around us all the time now. Kalonji seeds are also great for patients suffering from kidney disorders as it has protective effect and it also reduce serum urea and creatinine levels.

8. Kalonji For Weight Loss:

Kalonji seeds are very effective for weight loss too. Kalonji seeds has lipid lowering properties. Overweight individuals when they combine moderate exercise with kalonji supplementation will get good results. To prove it’s efficiency, 20 overweight women were divided into 2 groups.

One group was given kalonji supplement and the other was not but both groups received moderate physical training. Though both groups had positive impacts on their health due to the physical training, the group the took kalonji seeds experienced higher reduction of LDL and increase in HDL. You can read the study here.

9. Kalonji Benefits For Hair:

Kalonji seeds have been used for hair treatments for centuries. It treats all scalp infections very effectively. Kalonji seeds are especially very effective in treating Telogen Effluvium which is characterized by diffused hair shedding. The main constituent of kalonji seeds, TQ has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties and it greatly lowers the inflammation leading to hair loss….

10. Kalonji For Skin:

Kalonji seeds, due to it’s amazing anti microbial properties and anti inflammatory properties reduces skin inflammation and treats many skin problems including psoriasis. Traditionally, for treating psoriasis the seed paste is applied on the affected area. This traditional method has been proven to be one of the non toxic and safe methods for treating psoriasis. You can read about it here.

Black seed health benefits


  1. sujatha
    March 1, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    Hi.i have a doubt..I thought kalonji seeds are onion seeds and karunjeeragam is different from kalonji..Pls clarify..thanks

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 2, 2017 / 1:37 pm

      Actually in our place also we call Kalonji seeds as Vengaya Vithai and Shah Jeera as Karunjeeragam but the problem is both are referred to as black seeds in English and most books and articles refer to kalonji seeds as karunjeeragam and Shahjeera as Shimayishiragam (I think it is actually seemai seeragam). To avoid this confusion it is best to go by their botanical names. I will also add a note in the article too….

    • Anonymous
      March 11, 2017 / 6:29 pm

      Pls share home remedies and healthy grannie recepies for 1 year old baby

  2. safiya
    March 1, 2017 / 3:42 pm

    hi ramya..very fond of ur work..this post reminds me of a medical advice in islam that kalonji seeds hav cure for everything except death..i would like to suggest u tat if u well space and organize your words with paragraphs and bold fonts in your post it wil be easy to read..i wanted to tel this from a long time..no offense..thanks alot ..proud of u as a tamilian for casting light on our rich heritage.:*

  3. Afifa Kauser
    March 28, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    Can I jus consume the seeds instead of power form on a regular basis?

  4. Lakshmi
    April 2, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    Hi Ramya,.. your blog is really good and informative. I would like to know how to consume kalonji seeds for both weight loss and wheezing (dust allergy) Please let me know how long I should take this medication and how many times in a day I should consume.Thank You! And keep up the great work!

  5. sathiya prem
    June 5, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    Found this article at right time as my aunt is suffering from lung problemOm namashivaya!

  6. Anonymous
    September 22, 2017 / 9:20 pm

    Hi Ramya, I need two clarifications. First regarding Kalonji and garlic boiled in milk…..it's mentioned in your article, That both of them are helpful in milk production for feeding moms. Does that mean it has something to do with female hormones (estrogen) and could not be consumed by boys and men? My son is around 10 years old and has got very bad asthma and is in steroid. Can I give kalonji and garlic boiled in milk to him. Please advice. Thank you.

Leave a Reply