In Arabo-Islamic culture, black cumin uses are many. The herb has been prescribed for various ailments, including fever, asthma, chronic headaches, diabetes, digestion, back pain, infections, and rheumatism. In Arabic culture, black cumin is known as Habbatul barakah, the seed of blessing. In fact, since its rise in popularity in the seventh century, it is still regarded as important family medicine and the oil most often used medicinally. According to hadith, the Prophet Muhammad is believed to have said: “In the black seed is healing for every disease except death” (Sahih Bukhari).

Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna (980–1037 AD), mentions it in his Canon of Medicine: “that which stimulates the body’s energy and helps recover from fatigue or dispiritedness.” Other black cumin uses include the spice is good for purification and detoxification of the body; reduction of mucous and improved lung function; fever, coughs, and colds; toothache; headache; skin diseases and wound treatments; intestinal parasites and worms; and poisonous bites and stings.

Egyptian papyri show physicians frequently prescribed the herb after extravagant feasts to calm upset stomachs. Other black cumin uses are treating headaches, toothaches, colds, and infections. Black cumin uses by Assyrians, including using its seeds to treat stomach ailments and skin conditions like itching, rashes, sores, and herpes. They used it externally on the eyes, ears, and mouth. It was used as a culinary spice too. The use and importance of black cumin also called fitches in the ancient Mediterranean and Western Asia, is apparent from Isaiah 28:27 and Ezekiel 4:9 in the Bible.

While researching my book on Natural Solutions for Diabetes, I studied all the major herbs to treat diabetes in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Black cumin is not considered to help lower blood sugar in Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese medicine. Black cumin is an important medicinal herb, but scientific evidence does not support the historical claims behind the anti-diabetic properties of this herb.

Additional reading:

Natural Solutions for Diabetes

My books on herbs

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