Introduction/ Herb Description
Kalonji/ Shooneez (Nigella sativa Linn.) commonly known as black caraway, black cumin, nigella, and kalonji) is a widely used medicinal plant throughout the world. It is an annual flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae. It is a annual small flowering plant, 20- 30 cm tall, originating in the Middle East, South and South West Asia and is found abundantly, growing wild in Asiatic Turkey, Egypt and the Balkan states.
The plant has tapering, finely divided, linear green leaves and rosaceous, delicate, white, yellow, pink, pale blue or purplish flowers with 5-10 petals. The large ripe fruit (capsule: 3-7 united follicles) contains numerous tiny seeds, dark black in colour, which are used as spice, sometimes as a replacement for black cumin.
The seed and oil of Kalonji/ Shooneez (Nigella sativa Linn.) was frequently used in ancient Unani remedy in Asian countries and in the Middle- East.
The use of Nigella plant seeds had been mentioned by Ibn-e- Sina in his famous book Al- Qanoon fit- Tibb. It has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. In Northern Africa, it has been used traditionally for thousands of years to treat headache, asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism, fever, cough, influenza and eczema.
Temperament of the Drug: Unani medicine Scholars have mentioned different views regarding its temperament (Mizaj)
Scientific Name/ Botanical Name
Nigella sativa Linn.
Seeds and Oil
Actions/ Therapeutic Uses
Afa’al (Actions): Unani Scholars have mentioned its different actions in their texts and classical books are, Mudirr-e- Haiz (Emmenagogues), Mowallid-e- Labn (Galactagogue), Mudirr-e- Baul (Diuretic), Muqawwi-e- Me’dah (Stomachic), Mulayyin-e- Shikam (Laxative), Kasir-e- Riyah (Carminative), Mushtahi (Appetizer), Qatil-e- Deedan-e- Am’a (Antihelminthic), Mohallil-e- Waram (Anti-inflammatory), Daf-e- Kharish (Anti-pruritic), Mu’arriq (Diaphoretic), Mukhaddir (Anaesthetic), Mujaffif (Dessicant), Mufriz-e- Sheer wa Musqit-e- Janeen (Abortifacient), Muharrik (Stimulant), Daf’e Jaraaseem (Antibacterial), Antispasmodic, Naf’e Ziabetus (Antidiabetic), Daf'e sartaan (Anticarcinogenic), Antioxidant, Musakkin (Sedative), Musakkine Alam (Analgesic), Antifungal, Muqawwi-e- Kabid (Hepatoprotective), Immunomodulatory, Muqaww-e- Kuliya (Nephroprotective), Neuroprotective (Muqawwi-e- Aa’sab), Naf’e Kasrat-e- shahm-ud- Dam (Anti-hyperlipidemic), Mufatteh Sudud (Deobstruent), Daf’e Siman mufrit (Anti- obesity), Daf’e Humma (Anti- pyretic), Dafe Su’al (Anti tussive), Mufattite Hasaat (Lithotryptic), Daf'e Zeeq-un- Nafas (Anti- asthamatic), Munzij-e- Balgham (Concoctive) and Anti- Hypertensive (Naf’e Zaght-ud- Dam)
Istemalat (Therapeutic Uses)
It is maily used in Istisqaa (ascites), Yarqaan (Jaundice), Nafakh-e- Shikam (flatulence), Qoolanj (Intestinal colic), Hydrophobia, Tertian fever, Waja-ul- Qutn (Backache), Faalij (Paralysis) and Eyesores, Suda’a (Headache), Su’al (cough) and used to expe kidney stones.
Unani physicians have also used it in skin eruption like Bahaq, Bars (Vitiligo), Sartaan (Cancer), Ziabetus (Diabetes), Qillat-e- Labn, Hasaat-e- Kuliya (Renal Calculus), Siman-e- Mufrit (Obesity), Zo’f-e- Me’da (Gastric upset), Waja-ul- Mafaasil (Arthritis), Rheumatism and related inflammatory diseases, Tukhma (Indigestion), dropsy, dysmenorrhoea. Ehtabas-e- Haiz (Amenorrhoea), Kirm-e- Shikam (Intestinal worms), Balghami Amraaz (Phlegmatic diseases), Nisyaan, Yarqaan (Jaundice), Zo’f-e- Bah, Humma, Zo’f-e- Ishteha (Loss of appetite), Zo’f-e- A’saab, and Bawaseer (Piles), Usr-e- Tanaffus (Dyspnoea), Nazla wa zukam (Cold and Catarrh), Ishaal (Diarrhoea), Gastric pain (Abdominal pain) and dyslipidemia.
Prophet Mohammad’s (SAW) companion, Abu Hurairah (Radi Allaho Anho) narrates,''I have heard from Prophet that there is cure for every disease in black seeds except death and black seeds are shooneez (Kalonji).
Doses: 1- 3 gms