Kalonji is considered a natural gout remedy, but why –and what is it? Learn about kalonji and gout, keep reading!
What is Kalonji?
Kalonji, also known as nigella seeds belongs to the long list of natural remedies for gout. It was mainly cultivated in the Mediterranean region and later spread throughout Egypt, India, in some parts of South and West Asia, Southern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
It blooms from the flower plant (Ranunculaceae) starting out as white seeds which eventually turn black once exposed to air. Once it matures after a few months, they are harvested, and dried before packaged to be sold at markets.
Commonly referred to as black cumin or black seed, it’s frequently used as a spice in Indian, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines. However, nigella seeds can do more than add flavor to a meal. It also possesses health beneficial properties that may help with gout-related symptoms.
In traditional medicine of many centuries ago, it was used to treat a variety of illnesses such as respiratory problems, kidney and liver function, digestive issues, rheumatism, and immune system support. It even had the ability to heal fatigue and bring back energy to one’s body. When consumed, it was found to enhance the immune system of humans.
The earliest reference to the seed is in the Christian bible’s Old Testament where it was called “ketzah” and would often be used as a spice for breads and cakes. More evidence of its ancient use can be found in relics from Tutankhamun’s tomb in ancient Egypt. Egyptian people used it in their daily life applying the oil topically on their skin so as to nourish it as well as using it to treat digestive problems.
The Prophet Muhammad himself claimed that the kalonji had healing powers. In another part of the world, Turkey, they found the seed inside a Hittite’s flask from the second millennium BCE. When the seed spread in India, they made it a part of Ayurvedic medicine because it had the ability to treat anorexia, nervous disorders, and gynecological issues. It also helped improve one’s mood and stimulate the metabolism.
The Benefits of Kalonji for Gout
So why its many uses? Its benefits can largely attributed to its high antioxidant content. You probably already know that antioxidants play a big role in fighting free radicals responsible for today’s most life-threatening diseases.
It acts on antioxidant processes such as increasing liver antioxidant enzymes, lowering homocysteine, and protecting certain tissues from oxidative injury. The specific antioxidant compounds found in kalonji include:
Thymoquinone in particular has been found to reduce inflammation and protect the liver. Other compounds found in kalonji include:
- Fatty acids
- Saturated fatty acids
- Vitamin B1
Kalonji also has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation and swelling are one of the symptoms of gout attacks. By taking this seed, you may reduce your risk for flares. One study followed 42 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. They were asked to take kalonji oil daily for two months. By the end of the experiment, the patients had reduced oxidative stress as well as inflammation markets in their body.
Another study shows that kalonji not only suppresses inflammation, but it also protects against it. So, if you are just starting to have gout, kalonji may help reduce the severity of your gout attacks.
Kalonji can also help regulate blood sugar keeping it steady. If you’re familiar with gout and its comorbidities, you will know that keeping your blood sugar under control is important. People with gout and diabetes are advised to minimize sugar intake. It raises the uric acid of the former, and the blood sugar levels of the latter. Too much sugar also contributes to inflammation.
With the help of kalonji, you can keep your blood sugar stable. There was a study showing that people who took kalonji every day for three months had reduced their blood sugar and insulin resistance.
As mentioned earlier, kalonji may also help prevent kidney stones. If you suffer from gout, your kidney function may be affected because of uric acid crystals that go through it. Several studies have shown that kalonji helps protect against kidney damage, scars, and injury. You can combine the powdered kalonji powder along with honey and hot water as a remedy for kidney stones.
How to Use Kalonji?
This wonder seed can be consumed in many different ways. You can add it to your dishes; you can add it to your salads, sauces, curries, pickles, and vegetable dishes. It possesses this savory scent with a taste that’s slightly bitter and a toasted onion flavor. When added to the dough, it can greatly enhance the texture of your baked pastries. Sprinkle them on your dish just before serving or use it as a replacement if you don’t have sesame seeds in your pantry.
Kalonji seeds are available at grocery stores. Just don’t confuse it with other seeds that look similar to it like onion seeds, black carraway, and fennel flower. If you’re into the holistic diet, you may want to consider experimenting taking kalonji oil with garlic oil to combat parasites and high cholesterol.
The seed can also be used in essential oil form. Dilute it first with a carrier oil and apply it on your skin. It not only helps with inflammation; it can also help grow hair faster and treat certain skin conditions. Kalonji can also be taken in supplement or powder form.
Before taking kalonji, you’ll want to talk to your doctor first about it. While it is a great ancient medicine that’s been around for a long time, certain precautions need to be taken. Certain people may not react well to it when applied topically on the skin. Before using the oil, do a patch test first and if there’s no reaction, use it on the rest of your body.
Kalonji may also interfere with blood clotting. Patients who are already taking meds for blood clotting need to get a proper prescription from their doctor before taking it together with kalonji.
Have you tried kalonji as a remedy for your gout? Share your thoughts in the comments.