Nigella sativa (black cumin) grows predominantly in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions of Syria, India, Africa and Turkey. It has a slightly bitter, earthy taste and a warming effect. The cumin plant flowers around May or June, depending upon the climate where it is grown. When seeds are ready to harvest, they are collected and pressed to release a concentrated amount of Nigella sativa oil, also known as black seed oil.
The percentage of active ingredients in black seed oil, Thymoquinone(TQ), Thymohydroquinone (THQ), and Thymol varies according to the region and climate where it is grown. Essentially, the greater the level of the active ingredients, the greater the therapeutic benefits to assist the body. There are also differences in flavor and bitterness. The four main regions black seed oil is produced are Syria, India, Africa and Turkey. Syrian black seed oil has a low TQ percentage, a mild taste and gentle effect on the body African black seed oil grows faster due to high exposure to sunlight and heat, which raises the TQ, but is more bitter and burns the tongue and throat when swallowed. Turkish nigella sativa plants produce larger seeds than the African variety, with a lighter oil color than the African, is higher in TQ, and is harsh on the tongue, yet smooth in the throat. The Indian black seed oil combines the benefits of higher TQ, with higher levels of Thymol, retains its mild taste, yet provides a wide range of therapeutic benefits. Specifically, Indian and Turkish black seed oil are the most flavorful and therapeutic varieties.
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