Black cumin seeds on a wooden spoon

Widely grown in India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, kali jeeri seeds have long been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to quell fevers, calm coughs and help stop bouts of diarrhea. On the weight loss front, however, there is little evidence that it works.


While kali jeeri has diuretic, antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, there hasn’t been any significant research conducted that indicates that it is good for weight loss.

What Is Kali Jeeri?

Kali jeeri is sometimes referred to as black cumin or bitter cumin, due to its outward color and astringent, sharp taste. Part of the Asteraceae family of flowering plants, kali jeeri is also known by its botanical name Centratherum anthelminticum.

According to the National Agricultural Library, Centratherum anthelminticum is used as both a diuretic and stimulant in India. It also exhibits properties of anthelmintic medicine, making consumption of kali jeeri an effective contender in destroying parasitic worms in the digestive tract.

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Kali jeeri should not, however, be confused with two other types of black cumin that are also used in Ayurvedic remedies and cooking: Nigella seeds (Nigella sativa), which also go by the name of kalonji in India and black caraway seeds (Bunium persicum), commonly referred to as shahi jeera in Hindi. Although kali jeeri has impressive health benefits, backed by the medical community, there is little evidence to suggest that it helps if you’re trying to lose weight.

Benefits of Kali Jeeri

In a study published in the February 2013 issue of PLOS One, researchers found that kali jeeri seed extracts were not just responsible for treating fevers, quelling coughs and alleviating the symptoms of diarrhea. Kali jeeri seeds were also successful in killing breast cancer cells by preventing their mechanism of regeneration and proliferation.

And that’s not all. According to the authors of a study in the February 2012 edition of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, certain extracts of kali jeeri seeds — like methanolic, ether and alcohol extracts — possess antiviral and antimicrobial properties. The seeds have also been found to exhibit antioxidant properties, slowing down damage to cells and improving one’s overall health, as explained by the study in the February 2013 issue of PLOS.

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Findings in a study published in the November 2012 issue of Polish Pharmaceutical Society discovered that kali jeeri seeds also possess antifungal properties. Different concentrations of the kali jeeri seed extracts were able to exhibit signs of inhibition of three different strains of fungi, including Candida albicans, which, as per the CDC, is responsible for yeast infections and thrush in humans.

Kali Jeeri and Weight Loss

Being able to keep the body’s blood sugar levels constant is important if you’re trying to lose weight. Diets high in carbohydrates are responsible for increasing blood sugar levels, leaving you with the dreaded sugar rush, along with hunger pangs and an increase in appetite. Over time, this can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance and eventually, Type 2 diabetes.

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Adding kali jeeri to one’s diet has the potential to affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Although a study in the October 2012 issue of Journal of Ethnopharmacology was conducted on rats rather than humans, its findings are worth mentioning, because kali jeeri was responsible for increasing glucose uptake and enhancing insulin secretion in rats with Type 2 diabetes.

While this led to an overall decrease in blood sugar levels in the rats with diabetes, more research is required to see if kali jeeri seeds can elicit the same effects in people.