Since ancient times, early civilizations recognized and valued honey as a healing compound. The Egyptians, the Greeks, the Persians, the Asians, and the Romans all used honey in different traditional healing preparations.
The black seed also goes way back in history and was used for both culinary and medicinal purposes by the same ancient people. They learned to combine most herbal remedies involving black seed with honey in some form or other.
What Is Black Seed Honey?
Black seed honey is made when black seeds, also known as black cumin or black caraway, are mixed into honey to make a paste. The seeds, sometimes mixed whole or ground into powder are infused into honey. Black seed honey is a powerful elixir of natural ingredients, of great benefit to human health and general well-being.
We now know what black seed honey is. But there is so much more to this ancient combination that modern research has uncovered that is simply amazing about the possible benefits of this gift of nature to mankind. Stay with me as we explore and delve into what is an in-depth look at the wonders of black seed honey.
What Are the Black Seeds in Black Seed Honey?
As already mentioned, the black seeds in honey are simply black cumin or black caraway seeds mixed into honey.
Black seed is also known by other names such as; Kalonji and Baraka. Black seed is an annual flowering plant in the buttercup family, native to Southwest Asia and the Mediterranean. It is cultivated and naturalized in Europe and North Africa. Black Seed (Nigella Sativa) is used as a spice and condiment in Indian and Mediterranean cuisine.
Why Are Black Seeds Put In Honey?
Black seeds have a super nutrient profile. For many centuries, honey has been infused with black seeds because the resulting combination has been touted to have many health benefits. Putting black cumin into honey enhances the medicinal properties and potency of black seed honey, as well as making it more palatable.
Black seeds are rich in numerous amino acids including glutamate, arginine, and aspartate. You also get substantial amounts of vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins from the black cumin seeds.
Raw honey has had a reputation, since time immemorial, for being a great healing compound. In order to help us fully understand how the benefits of either complement black seed honey, let’s highlight each on its own merit based on properties and benefits that each abundantly possesses.
Traditionally, raw honey has been used in herbal remedies for centuries, and through modern research, many of its medicinal benefits have come to light. Some important qualities of honey are as follows:
Antibacterial and antifungal properties;
Research has shown that raw honey can kill unwanted bacteria and fungus. A natural antiseptic called hydrogen peroxide is found in honey. Depending on the botanical source (the plants that the honey bees derived nectar from) of the honey, effectiveness as an antibacterial or antifungal may vary, but it’s clearly effective for these kinds of infection.
Healing of wounds
Honey is an effective germ killer and also aids in tissue regeneration. This is especially true of Manuka honey that is used in medical settings and it has been shown to boost healing time and reduce infection. It is important to note that the honey used in the medical setting is inspected and sterile (medical grade). Do not treat cuts with honey you buy from a store.
Phytonutrients are compounds that protect plants from harm. For example, keeping insects away or shielding the plants from ultraviolet radiation. The antibacterial and antifungal effects found in raw honey are all thanks to the phytonutrients.
Heavy processing destroys these really valuable nutrients. Immune- boosting and anti-cancer benefits are known to be present in honey.
How Can You Know/Recognize Natural Honey?
For the most part, natural honey can be ascertained through laboratory analysis. However, such an option is not available to the ordinary consumer. This fact only serves to reinforce the truth that recognizing natural honey is not often easy.
That said, there are some helpful suggestions below that will suffice in the absence of laboratory analysis for the average consumer.
- Rub a small amount of honey between your fingers. Natural honey will be absorbed by the skin which will remain” wet”. Fake honey will become too sticky between your fingers and forms threads when you try to unstick them.
- Add a teaspoon of honey to a glass of water. Natural honey will sink and heap at the bottom of the glass. Fake honey will immediately start to dissolve.
- Spread some honey on a slice of bread. If the slice hardens in a few minutes, the honey is good. If the bread gets wet, it’s an indicator that the honey has high moisture content. But this could be influenced by other factors (which could be misleading) such as how much time has passed since honey extraction, whether it was completely ripe during extraction. Also, different varieties /kinds of honey have naturally different standards for moisture content.
Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) is the bacteria that commonly cause stomach ulcers. Studies have shown raw honey to be an effective inhibitor of this bacterium. Diarrhea too is sometimes treated using honey, although there isn’t much research to show that it is effective. But more importantly, honey is prebiotic.
This means it nourishes the good bacteria that live in the intestines. These bacteria are very important not only for digestion but for the overall well-being of the gut.
According to research published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, there is compelling evidence to show that black seed honey is effective in reducing the symptoms associated with H.pylori infection.
Soothing a Sore Throat
Honey is an old sore throat remedy and it is quite effective when added to hot tea with lemon. It does a good job of managing flu and common cold symptoms like a sore throat. Honey also helps suppress coughs. A spoonful or two taken straight will do the trick.
Antioxidants are substances that neutralize harmful free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to cells. These substances include amino acids found in honey. This brings us to another question.
What Sort Of Honey Should Be Used To Make Black Seed Honey?
Raw honey is the best to make black seed honey. That’s because raw honey is the least processed; minimally treated and unfiltered. The National Honey Board describes raw honey “as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction”.
Raw honey does not undergo any heat processing, it is also unstrained. The benefit is that this honey retains many of its natural health properties and is regarded as superior to heat processed or filtered honey.
If the honey does not come directly from a farmer or beekeeper who can confirm that it’s raw, or if the manufacturer does not include the word” raw” on the label, the product most likely has been pasteurized.
Raw honey bypasses commercial processing methods thereby retaining most of the oxidants and enzymes, amino acids, minerals and vitamins.
Below is a shortlist of some of the vitamins and minerals naturally found in honey as trace elements? It is worth noting that this shortlist is not exhaustive as there are more than 30 minerals to be found in honey. They include;
- Ascorbic acid
- Pantothenic acid
So, if you are looking to make your own black seed honey, be sure to use raw honey. We shall explain how to make your own black seed honey further down in this post.
Black Seed (Nigella Sativa)
Black seeds, like honey, also have an impressive nutrient profile. They possess a healthy dosage of naturally occurring nutrients such as;
- Folic Acid
- Linoleic acid
- Palmitic acid
The main active compound in the black seed is called Thymoquinone which is known for its anti-cancer and antiepileptic properties. Black seeds, as well as the oil derived from them, have been commonly used for the treatment of conditions such as;
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory diseases
- Digestive diseases
Black seed has many biological effects and has been hailed by numerous research and studies to be helpful in conditions like infertility, hay fever, and mastalgia amongst many others.
There is a long list of other conditions such as eczema, long-term kidney disease, and cognitive function improvement in which black seed has shown great potential during the early stages of research. But human trials are still minimal in the said areas to prove black seed’s degree of efficacy on these conditions.
What Are The Benefits Of Black Seed Honey?
Black seed and raw honey on their own individual merits are exceptional reservoirs of important nutrients that bear vital medicinal properties.
As such, when put together to form black seed honey, these two items have many overlapping benefits that complement each other and therefore form a portent mixture for managing a wide range of conditions as highlighted above. Benefits of this elixir include;
- Anti-cancer properties
- Suppression of growth tumors
- Contains thymoquinone, a potential cancer drug for cancer therapy
- Good for digestion
- Helps wounds heal faster
Now you can see why there is such buzz surrounding black seed honey and the benefit of adding it to your arsenal of home remedies. It is however important to remember to consult proper medical advice before considering Black Seed honey for medicinal purposes.
How Do You Make Black Seed Honey?
Guess what? With the pointers below, you can be able to make your own black seed honey right in the comfort of your home.
In order to get the purest possible form of black seeds, it works better if you process your own seeds. That way, you are relatively sure that there are no unnecessary or harmful additives. Black seeds can be used whole or can be crushed into powder.
In case you are wondering where you can get high-quality black seeds, worry not. Most Indian stores near you will have whole black seed for sale. Black seeds and black seed oil can often be found at Middle Eastern and Mediterranean stores.
Buy raw honey directly from a beekeeper or store. If you purchase from a store, make sure the label has the word “raw” on it.
Mix the black seeds into the honey and put in a clean dry glass jar. You can also use recommended food grade plastic containers as they are readily available. Do not use metal containers.
What Does Black Seed Honey Taste Like?
Black cumin seeds have a pungent, bitter, taste, and smell like a combination of onions, black pepper, and oregano. Raw honey will usually have a distinct taste and aroma of its own depending on the botanical origin.
When the two are mixed, the resulting combination is a blend of unique tasting ambrosia that captures the different strong characteristics of Kalonji and soothing undertones of honey. The taste is also natural and fresh with a slight tangy after-taste because of the acids contained in the two ingredients.
The taste will most likely not be the same for processed commercial kinds of honey that sometimes contain added sugar or syrup additives.
Is Black Seed Honey Seasonal Or Available All Year Round?
The main geographical regions that grow Nigella sativa experience sunny weather virtually all year round. The plant grows throughout the year, though as in most other plants, flowering precedes seasons that determine peak nectar flow durations.
The diverse geographical regions that grow Nigella sativa in Europe, Asia, Egypt, or the Mediterranean and Northern Africa regions produce honey at different times of the year depending on flowering patterns.
Does Black Seed Honey Crystalize In Winter?
During those cold winter months, honey will crystallize (granulate) in your containers if stored in a cold cabinet. Black seed honey is no exception. The fact that black seed honey contains whole or powdered seeds may accelerate crystallization.
Where Can I Buy Black Seed Honey And How Much Does It Cost?
Black seed honey is mostly available online on amazon.com and will approximately cost about $28 for a 1.1pound (500gram) jar. Other online platforms that sell black seed honey include eBay and Alibaba.
You just might be lucky enough to have Indian or Mediterranean stores around your geography. These are good places to start from as they most likely stock black seed honey.
The Wrap Up
Black seed honey is readily available in the Indian, Asian and Mediterranean regions. That’s because the inhabitants from these regions already know, from old tradition, the proven curative benefits, and natural goodness to be found in this elixir.
Modern medical research agrees on the benefits and application of black seed honey on a wide range of medical conditions. However, it is always advisable to check with your doctor in case you want to try black seed honey for a specific ailment or are in doubt what the reaction would be with other prescription drugs that you may be taking.