Cumin, Caraway, Black Cumin, And Nigella – What’s The Difference?

You may have noticed that Complete Biotin Plus contains something called black cumin seed oil. And you may have even caught my previous article on the benefits of this seed’s oil.

If you missed it – you can click here to read it now!

This may have also caused some confusion. You see, there are other different types of seeds that are similar to black cumin seeds in name and/or appearance. These include cumin seeds, caraway seeds, black cumin seeds, and nigella seeds. 

Below, I’ll go over each so you can learn a bit more about all of them, including their similarities and differences!

Let’s get started…

Cumin seeds

A first cousin to carrot and parsley, cumin seeds most resemble caraway seeds, though their name is close to black cumin seeds. Already, you can see why people get mixed up!

Cumin has been well known since ancient times, having first been cultivated in the Mediterranean and in Iran. The Romans used it as a spice and medicinal plant, while the Indians have been using it for culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. So, it’s certainly a popular seed!

Whether ground into a powder or consumed whole, the seed provides a warm and earthly taste, which is why it’s commonly added to cuisines like masalas. In addition to its taste, it has natural preservative properties, so can often be found in sausages and preserved meats. In Europe, it can be found in savory pastries and pickle jars. 

Medicinally, cumin seeds have plenty of uses. In Sanskrit, cumin means “that which helps digestion”. This is because cumin seeds stimulate appetite, the stomach, along with biliary and pancreatic secretion. Plus, it soothes spasms and removes gasses from the intestine. 

Traditional Indian medicine boils cumin seeds in water to create a drink which is believed to prevent heart disease, swelling, vomiting, poor digestion, and chronic fever.    

Many of the benefits of cumin seeds, along with its unique taste, can be attributed to the seed’s main compound called cuminaldehyde. This is an important phytochemical with many known health benefits. 

Caraway seeds

Caraway seeds look quite similar to cumin seeds, though they’re a bit darker and more curved. They also have their own distinct taste, completely separate from cumin seeds. Caraway seeds have licorice and citrus notes which makes them great for teas and dishes.

Like cumin seeds, caraway has also been used since ancient times. But today, it’s commonly used in both sweet and savory dishes such as breads, pastries, curries, and stews. It’s also sometimes infused into spirits and liqueurs too! 

But that’s not all. Caraway is also used as a supplement, both orally and topically. 

Benefits of caraway include reducing inflammation, encouraging healthy digestion, promoting weight loss, and more!

Black cumin seeds

Black cumin is known scientifically as Bunium bulbocastanum. It’s native to Northern Africa, Southeastern Europe, and Southern Asia where its plant stands about two feet tall and is topped with white flowers. 

These seeds taste like coconuts or chestnuts and are known to have many health benefits. These include being an antibacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetes. 

Nigella seeds

This is where a lot of the confusion sets in most. From the Nigella sativa plant, these seeds are commonly referred to as black cumin seeds. However, as you read above, black cumin seeds are technically Bunium bulbocastanum. 

Because Nigella seeds have become so commonly known as black cumin seeds, it may actually become confusing to NOT call them black cumin seeds. 

For thousands of years, black cumin seed oil has been used medicinally to treat a wide range of conditions. In fact, black cumin seed oil is so ancient that black cumin seeds were found in King Tut’s tomb, and they even got a mention in the Old Testament as being able to cure anything but death!

With a slightly bitter taste, these seeds offer a wide range of health benefits, including digestive health, managing weight, soothing joints, and supporting healthy skin and hair.

That last point is actually why I added Nigella to Complete Biotin Plus – just another ingredient fighting for your health and beauty!

(If you want to read more details about the benefits of Nigella seeds, click here!)

And if you want to learn what else is in Complete Biotin Plus and how they can benefit YOU, click here!

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