Niger Seed (Guizotia abyssinica)

Annual
G. oleifera.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Niger Seed
Guizotia abyssinica
Compositae

A drying oil is obtained from the seed[1, 2, 17, 46, 171]. It is used for burning, in making soap, paints etc[57, 132, 269].

The plant can be used as a green manure[61]. It is usually dug in when the plants are about to come into flower[269].

  • Medicinal Use

    The oil from the seeds is used in the treatment of rheumatism[240, 243, 269]. It is also applied to treat burns[272].

    A paste of the seeds is applied as a poultice in the treatment of scabies[272].

  • Edible Use

    The seed is eaten fried, used as a condiment or dried then ground into a powder and mixed with flour etc to make sweet cakes[22, 46, 177, 183]. Average seed yields in India range from 100 – 200 kg/ha when grown with ragi, and 300 – 400 kg/ha when grown in pure stands[269]. In Kenya, monocultural yields average 600 kg/ha[269]. Seed yields of 1,000 to 1,200 kg/ha have been obtained on fertile Himalayan soils[269]. Oil yields range about 235 kg/ha[269].

    The seeds yield about 30% of a clear, excellent, slow-drying edible oil[269]. It is used as a substitute for olive oil, can be mixed with linseed oil, and is used as an adulterant for rape oil, sesame oil etc[269]. The oil is used in cooking as a ghee substitute and can be used in salad dressings etc[183, 269]. A pleasant nutty taste[142].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Make sure the soil does not dry out because this would delay germination. In warm weather, germination should take place within 3 – 4 days of sowing the seed. When sowing larger areas, the seed may be broadcast at rate of 10 kg/ha or sown in rows 40 to 50 cm apart at rate of 5 kg/ha[269].
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any rich soil[1]. The plant is adapted to a wide range of soils, from sandy to heavy, growth being poor on light sandy or gravelly soils[269]. Niger is often cultivated on very poor acid soils, on hilly slopes, where fertility is low due to leaching and washing away of the plant nutrients by erosion[269]. Niger seed is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 66 to 179cm, an annual temperature range of 13.6 to 27.5¡C and a pH in the range of 5.5 to 7.5[269]. Niger is often cultivated, especially in Africa, as an oil seed crop[2, 46, 51, 269], it has also been cultivated in Germany[61]. The flowers are very attractive to bees[269]. Several factors lend credence to fears that niger might become a pest if introduced into warm temperate areas – grazing animals do not relish it, the plant tolerates poor soil and drought, it has few serious pests or diseases especially outside its native range, the seeds store for a year or more without deterioration, and the seeds mature 3 – 4.5 months after planting[269]. Arguing against its weed potential are the facts that it is a short day plant and therefore does not flower or set seed until daylight hours average 13 hours or less, it is self-sterile, and requires bees for pollination[269].
Africa – Tropics. An infrequent casual in Britain.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.