Seeds of Ancient Glory
Black seed has been used since ancient Egyptian times as a rescue remedy for just about every ailment. TIANNA NADALIN chats to Hab Shifa founder Azam Kassim about the benefits of this all natural wonder drug.
Tell us a little about Hab Shifa.
The words hab shifa originates from the Arabic language and are derived from the words habba sauda one of the earliest descriptions of black seed. Black seed can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where it was famously used by Cleopatra as part of her beauty regime, and found in Pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb the seeds were thought to be so valuable they were presumably to accompany him to the next life! We chose the name Hab Shifa as testament to the roots of the product.
Tell us a little about yourselves...
We are a family-run business and are backed by more than 30 years' experience in dealing with black seed across the world.
How did you come across black seeds?
I have grown up Estening to stories of the diversity of the black seed (also known as Nigella seeds, Nigella sativa and black cumin) and its extensive therapeutic properties. My research took me on a rich historical journey that started with the use of the black seed in early Egyptian civilisations. I was particularly intrigued to learn that since then, it also has documented uses across ancient Europe, Asia, and is also mentioned in Ayurvedic medicine.
How do they work?
The black seed is thought to contain over 100 naturally occurring constituents including an array of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. A component of its essential oil. thymoquinone, is unique to black seed and has been a focal point of research in scientific studies. It is thought that thymoquinone is a potent antioxidant and is responsible for a lot of the therapeutic function of the black seed.
What inspired you to start selling it?
The sheer level of documented evidence. There are very few products that have such an extensive history of traditional use but are also backed by scientifically valid research. The fact that the black seed has been used for thousands of years, across civilisations, and with modern science only just catching up to its endless benefits was what intrigued me most, and made me confident that this is a product that the Australian market would embrace.
What are some of your favourite ways to use them?
I take black seed capsules daily; however, whenever I feel 8 tickle in my throat or the beginnings of a cold, I mix some black seed oil in with some fresh lemon and good quality manuka honey. Works like a charm!
Do you have a favourite black seed recipe?
It's such a versatile seed use it in salads, smoothies and juices. It also goes really nicely in a naan-style flat bread (2 cups wholemeal flour, 1 cup water, Himalayan salt, 1 tsp black seed oil and a sprinkling of black seeds.) This particular recipe adds a nice, zesty spin on the usual flat bread, is very wholesome and extremely delicious!
Black seeds are also a great beauty product why is this?
Black seed is rich in essential fatty acids (EFA3), making it an excellent moisturiser for dry skin. It also has great anti-inflammatory action, is highly absorbent and doesn't leave an oily residue on the skin.
Do you have an easy black seed beauty tip?
My wife uses a couple of drops on her face at night as a rich moisturiser, and use a few drops in my hair for dry scalp. It works really well as a beard oil, too.
How has black seed changed your life, personally?
I have been suffering from a range of respiratory conditions since childhood. Black seed oil has greatly alleviated these breathing difficulties and has assisted me in strengthening my immune system.
What is your vision for Hab Shifa in the future?
First and foremost, we would like to make ourselves a household name in Australia. We have also started our export operations and hope, eventually, to take our brand globally.
Where can we find you?
Major health food stores and retailers across Australia. Visit habshifa.com.au for
information and stockists. NH