The black seed and its oil are recognised for their medicinal properties throughout the world. Black seed has been particularly popular in traditional systems of medicine from the Middle East, North Africa, the Asian Sub-continent and the Far East.
References to black seed can also be found in some of the oldest religions. In Islamic literature, it is considered as one of the greatest forms of healing. Mention can also be found in the Old Testament which refers to the cultivation of the black cumin plant and its harvest.
The Book of Isaiah (8th Century BC)
Reference to the black cumin seed is made in the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 28:25,27 nkjv). This would appear to be the earliest written reference to black seed.
In the verses The Prophet Isaiah (AS) describes the reaping of black cumin. The exact word used is the Hebrew: ketsah which has been clarified to refer without doubt the nigella sativa seed (Easton’s bible dictionary).
Ancient Egyptian use of Black seed (13th Century BC )
Records from ancient Egypt indicate Cleopatra used black seed oil in her bath and Nefertiti as part of her skin care regimen. The personal physician of the pharaoh Tutankhamen used the black seed to alleviate his patients’ coughing and it was also found in Tutankhamen’s tomb – It clearly played an important role in ancient Egyptian life.