Health Benefits of Onion Seeds (Kalonji)

Onion seed, also known as Nigella Sativa and Kalonji in Hindi is a spice that is used for tempering. Besides offering aroma to the food, it offers various health benefits, due to its medicinal properties. Kanji ‘onion seeds’ is an integral part of various traditional healing modalities like Unani, Ayurveda, homeopathy etc. 

Onion seed is a plant that bears white or blue flowers. The fruit of Nigella is a large seed capsule with seven follicles containing small, white seeds. These seeds add a beautiful aroma to the food and also a hint of flavour. The nigella seeds are either used as a whole or are ground into powder.


Nutritional Value of Kalonji Seeds

Nigella contains abundant fiber, protein, amino acids, fat, alkaloids, carbohydrate, iron, saponin, potassium, calcium, and sodium. It also contains fatty acids such as oleic, linolenic acids, and volatile oils. It contains two components melatin and nigella which possess high medicinal properties.

As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 100 gm of kalonji seeds, contains 375 calories, 17.8 gm of proteins, 44.2 gm of carbohydrates, 22.2 gm of fat, 10.5 gm of fibre, 66.3 mg of iron, 931 mg of calcium, 499 mg of phosphorous, 1788 mg of potassium, 168 mg of sodium, 7.7 mg of vitamin C, 3.3 mg of vitamin E, and 5.4 mcg of vitamin K.


Potential Health Benefits of Kalonji…

1/5. Prevents cancer

1. The high content of antioxidants in Kalonji neutralises the harmful free radicals which contribute towards the development of cancer.

2. There are few components of onion seeds which are beneficial against certain types of cancer such as skin, pancreatic, breast, cervical, blood, lung, brain, prostate, and colon cancers. 

3. The thymoquinone content of onion seeds causes cell death in breast cancer cells thus, arresting the growth of tumors.


2/5. Nourishes the skin

1. The anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic properties of kalonji helps in nourishing the skin. 

2. The vitamins and antioxidants content of onion seeds boost the immune system and prevent drying of the skin.

3. Kalonji is beneficial in treating acne, eczema, and psoriasis.


3/5. Protects the liver

The compounds present in Kalonji seeds protect the liver from toxicity by regularising its functions. Onion seeds protect the liver from damage and injury.


4/5. Prevents diabetes

1. Onion seeds prevent a sudden spike in blood sugar levels and also avert other symptoms caused due to diabetes.

2. Kalonji balances insulin levels and improves levels of fasting and average blood sugar.


5/5. Other possible Benefits…

Onion seeds produce numerous health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces few more such as prevents hair loss, helps in digestion, cures fever, heals wounds, clears the respiratory tract of infections, relieves cold and cough, gets rid of pain, 

Kalonji soothes the nerves, increases memory, alleviates asthma, treats headaches, aids weight loss,  eases joint pain, controls blood pressure, protects the kidney, makes teeth stronger, strengthens immunity, lowers cholesterol, alleviates inflammation, prevents stomach ulcers, lowers blood pressure, improves oral hygiene, improves bone health, keeps the hair healthy,boosts memory, lubricates joints, heals hemorrhoids, clears cracked heels, improves vision, improve sperm movement, increase sperm count and semen volume.

No data to support BUT a random media clippings suggest kalonjig to be a powerhouse of anti malaria compound hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), in natural form.


How to use Nigella seeds for cooking?

Onion seeds can be either used as a whole or in the ground form. There are several ways to add onion seeds to your diet, some of them are as follows…

  • Used in salad dressings.
  • Sprinkled on egg dishes. 
  • Used in pilafs, and pickles. 
  • Added to bakery products, bread
  • As a topping for Indian naan breads.
  • In dal, curries, or stir-fried vegetables.
  • Added to yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies.

How to prepare Kalonji Pulao?

Heat 1 tsp ghee in a kadhai in a pan and add 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, 1 piece of cinnamon, 2 crushed cardamom, and 2 cloves.

Fry it well. Add finely sliced 6 garlic cloves and fry till it turns brown.

Add 2 cups of water and allow it to boil. Then, add salt to taste.

Take 1 cup of soaked Basmati rice and add it to the water. Allow it to cook.

Sprinkle 1 tsp Kalonji seeds and ½ tsp jeera. Close the lid. Allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.

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