Also known as black cumin, nigella or by its scientific name Nigella sativa, kalonji belongs to the buttercup family of flowering plants.
It grows up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall and produces a fruit with seeds that are used as a flavorful spice in many cuisines.
In addition to its culinary use, kalonji is known for its medicinal properties.
In fact, its use can be traced back several centuries as a natural remedy for everything from bronchitis to diarrhea.
Kalonji seeds are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize harmful free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to cells.
Research shows that antioxidants can have a powerful effect on health and disease.
In fact, some studies indicate that antioxidants may protect against several types of chronic conditions, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Several compounds found in kalonji, such as thymoquinone, carvacrol, t-anethole and 4-terpineol, are responsible for its potent antioxidant properties.
One test-tube study found that kalonji essential oil also acted as an antioxidant.