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Sowing Seeds

Source:Ringier     Date:2011-11-12
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IN A MARKET dominated by 'new' products and 'scientific breakthroughs', Hab Shifa is an anomaly, bringing a product to market that was documented by the Greeks in the 1st century. In 2009, Hab Shifa, a Melbourne-based company, launched Black Seed Oil onto the Australian market. Black Seed Oil is derived from Nigella sativa, a small herb that was recognised as a remedy by the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Early proponents of Black Seed Oil recommended it as a cure for headaches and toothaches and as a dietary supplement. Today Black Seed Oil is also being used in connection with treating ailments such as asthma, skin allergies, high blood pressure and colds and flu.Over the past three years, growing demand for the product suggests that Black Seed Oil is as popular now as it was 3,000 years ago.

Over 100 stockists across Australia currently carry Hab Shifa's Black Seed Oil. And demand is such that the company is now beginning to explore export opportunities in Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Africa and the Middle East. For business development manager, Shakira Salahudeen, coming to work with Hab Shifa offered the opportunity to not only put a newly acquired postgraduate degree to good use, but also to allow her to reconnect with a product that she had strong personal ties to.

Shakira Salahudeen Business Development Manager, Hab Shifa

What was your introduction to black seed products?

My very first introduction to Black Seed was actually as a teen when I suffered from bad acne. I tried a number of different topical applications to prevent the acne and treat the resulting scars, till a family member suggested Black Seed Oil. A few weeks of topical application were enough to give me the results that I sought – a severe reduction in the occurrence of acne, and a significant improvement in the appearance of the resulting scars. As an adult, and prior to starting with Hab Shifa, I began taking Black Seed as a daily supplement to reduce the severity of my allergies.

What was it about the product that convinced your company to take on commercial production of Black Seed Oil?

Interestingly, and unlike many other ancient remedies, the use of Black Seed has been mentioned in religious texts, such as the Bible, and in Islamic scriptures. The Muslims in particular have a very strong conviction of the healing properties of the Black Seed due to a saying by the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), who said, 'The Black Seed is a cure for every illness except death'. The name 'Hab Shifa' means 'seed of cure' in Arabic. An Arabic name was chosen to maintain the authenticity of the origins of the product. 

The longevity of the use of Black Seed Oil, an array of personal testimonials, coupled with the mounting scientific evidence of how beneficial the oil is for an array of diseases and conditions is what convinced us to introduce Black Seed Oil into the Australian market.

Whilst Black Seeds have been used for centuries, the product seems to have gained commercial popularity only recently. What has inspired the renewed interest?

There are a number of factors that have contributed to a renewed following of Black Seed Oil across the globe; however, the leading factor is the validation of the healing properties of Nigella sativa by scientific research, which has resulted in a mass following of Nigella sativa world-wide.

In particular, the popularity of the use of Nigella sativa soared in Europe after leading immunologist, Peter Schleicher, found it cured his racehorse of respiratory problems.  The prized racehorse was experiencing severe respiratory problems, which impaired its performance; however, Dr Schleicher was reluctant to administer the traditional cortisone-based therapy to thNew Arrivals

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