Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena L.) is a very delicate annual herbaceous plant with beautiful flowers, which grows spontaneously in fields and barren land. It is cultivated both for its use in gardens and once it has dried, in flower arrangements.
The use of Love-in-a-Mist dates back to ancient times. The much valued black cumin oil obtained from its seeds was used in cooking, medicine and cosmetics. Legend has it that there was a container with this oil on top of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb and that Cleopatra used it for health and aesthetic purposes. Dioscorides and Hippocrates highlighted its importance for treating numerous conditions and illnesses and the Muslim doctor IbnSina (Avicena) recommended its use as a tonic and as a body defence stimulant. Its cultivation spread to Al-Andalus, where it was known as habbat al baraka, habbasawda.