NIGELLA SATIVA L.

Family: Ranunculaceae

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Kalojira, Kalijira, Mugrela.

English Name: Black Cumin, Small Fennel.

Description of the Plant:
A pretty herb, 30-60 cm high. Leaves 2.5-5 cm long, 2-3 pinnatisect, segments linear-lanceolate. Flowers pale blue, 2-2.5 cm across, on solitary long peduncles. Fruit inflated, beaked at the top.

Using Information:
The seeds are stimulant, diuretic, carminative, anthelmintic, stomachic, emmenagogue, galactagogue, hypocholesterolaemic and are an excellent adjunct to purgative drugs; good in ascites, cough, jaundice and piles; used in the treatment of mild cases of fever. Powdered seeds mixed with seasame oil are much used as an external application in eruptions of the skin; also useful in pain of the body and in catarrh (Yusuf et al. 2009).

The volatile oil of the seeds possesses antibacterial activity against multiple drug-resistant bacteria including Vibrio cholerae. It also possesses antifungal properties (Ghani, 2003). Essential oil protected guinea pig against histamine-induced bronchospasms. Ether extract when injected into lactating rats on a balanced diet showed more powerful galactagogue action than estrogen (Rastogi & Mehrotra 1990 & 93). Aqueous extract of the seeds showed distinguished antidiarrhoeal effect on experimental animals induced by serotonin and possesses anti-emetic activity (Khan et al., 1999).

The extract also causes mild to moderate dose-dependent relaxation effects on the isolated guinea-pig ileum. It also increases sensitivity of the ileum to the Acetylcholine (Chakma et al., 2001). It also relaxes isolated rat uterine tissue preparation in a dose-dependent manner (Gafur et al., 1999). Acetone extract of the seeds showed good antimicrobial activity against gram +ve as well as gram –ve micro-organisms (Al-Bashan, 2006).


NIGELLA SATIVA
NIGELLA SATIVA L.


Chemical Constituents:
Seeds contain 40% fixed oil and fatty acids like linoleic, oleic, stearic, linolenic and palmitic acids, proteins and amino acids such as glutamic acid, arginine, aspartic acid, cystine and methionine. They also contain up to 1.4% of essential oil containing a crystalline active principle, nigellone and the terpenes, carvone and carvene. Seeds have also been found to contain 2-methyl-4-isopropyl-p-quinone, nigellone, toxic glycosidal saponins, melanthin and hederagenin derivatives and the sapogenin, melanthigenin. The seeds are rich in elements like K, P, Na, Fe, Zn, Ca, Mg, Mn and Cu (Ghani, 2003). Cholesterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol and α-spinasterol have also been isolated from seed oil (Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1993).

Distribution:
Cultivated in different districts.


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