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Halim seeds: Uses, Benefits, Side effects and More By Dr. Rajeev Singh

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction: 

Recently, there has been a shift in the universal trend from modern synthetic medicines to Herbal medicines, the “return to earth concept.” Lepidium sativum is an edible herb belonging to the family Brassicaceae. The plant originated in Egypt but is now grown worldwide for its seeds. In India, it is mainly cultivated in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. The plant bears light pink or white flowers and tiny seed pods. These are locally known as Halim seeds, Holan, chandrasura, aliv seeds and garden cress. These seeds are small, reddish-brown in colour. Halim seeds are loaded with nutrition and several health benefits. Let us find out more about these tiny treasures of nutrients.1 

Did you know?


  • Halim seeds contain antioxidants that help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Halim seeds are gluten-free, making them suitable for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Halim seeds have been used in traditional medicine to promote lactation in breastfeeding women. source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • Halim seeds have been used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve skin health and treat skin conditions. source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • Halim seeds have been used in traditional medicine to improve memory and cognitive function. source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Nutritional Value of Halim seeds: 

Halim seeds are packed with the goodness of carbohydrates, proteins, fibers and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, zinc, etc. and phytochemicals like flavonoids, phenols, lectins, tannins, glycosides, etc. The nutritional components and bioactive components of Halim seeds are mentioned in the tables below: 

Nutritional components Value per 100 g 
Fibre 40.37 g 
Carbohydrates 36.1 g 
Fat 24.18 g 
Protein 22.40 g 
Potassium 1.21 g 
Phosphorus  0.78 g 
Calcium 0.39 g 
Sodium 0.019 g 
Niacin 0.014 g 
Vitamin C 0.010 g 
Zinc 0.007 
Iron 0.005 g 
Vitamin A 10 mcg 

Table 1: Nutritional value of Halim seeds2,3 

Bioactive components Value per 100 g 
Total phenols 92.67 g 
Total flavonoids 11.73 g 

Table 2: Bioactive components of Halim seeds2 

Based on my experience, I have found that the extract from halim seeds shows promising potential as an antifungal agent. It has been observed to effectively inhibit the growth of various fungal species. Halim seeds may possess strong antifungal properties, which could be beneficial in the management of fungal infections.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Properties of Halim seeds: 

Scientifically proven properties of Halim seeds include: 

  • It may have the properties to reduce pain.1 
  • It may have antioxidant properties.1 
  • It may have the potential to manage inflammation.1 
  • It may exert a protective effect on the liver.1  
  • It may help manage diarrhea.1 
  • It may have the potential to reduce or relieve muscle spasms (anti-spasmodic).1 
  • It may reduce blood pressure.3 
  • It may be able to reduce elevated cholesterol levels.3 
  • It may have the potential to manage blood glucose.3 
  • It may have anti-tumor properties.3 

Potential Uses of Halim seeds for Overall Health 

Some of the potential benefits of Halim seeds are described as under:  

Potential uses of Halim seeds in Type 2 diabetes 

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycaemia (increase in blood glucose levels) with reduced or total loss of insulin (a hormone that regulates blood glucose in the body) function. Qusti et al. conducted a study in 2016 to assess the effects of Halim seeds in diabetic rats. The study showed that Halim seeds showed a significant decrease in blood glucose levels. This effect was attributed to the inhibition of molecules which inhibit the insulin pathway. This indicates that Halim seeds may help in managing diabetes. However, we need more studies to support these claims in humans.4 

Potential uses of Halim seeds in bone health 

Strong bones reduce the risk of fractures and protect vital organs like the brain and heart from damage. To build strong bones and promote bone healing in fractures, calcium and Vitamin D play an important role. Dixit et al. conducted a study in rats in 2020, stating Halim seeds may positively impact bone health and promote bone healing in case of fractures due to the presence of calcium and phosphorus in high amounts. This indicates that Halim seed consumption may have a positive impact on bone fractures, provided more human studies are done to support these claims.1 

Potential uses of Halim seeds on obesity 

Obesity is defined as an excessive or abnormal accumulation of fat in the body. A Body Mass Index >25 kg/m2 is defined as overweight and >30 kg/m2 is considered obese. Reducing body weight may help in managing obesity. Dixit et al. conducted a study in 2020 to assess the effect of Halim seeds on obese rats; the study findings supported the use of Halim seeds for weight loss. This indicates that Halim seeds consumption may help manage obesity by reducing weight. However, we need more studies to support these claims in humans.4 

Potential uses of Halim seeds on breast cancer 

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide. Literature reviews support the use of dietary agents and a reduced risk of breast cancer. Mahassni et al. conducted a literature review in 2013, stating Halim seeds contain phytochemicals like organo-sulfur compounds and phytosterols, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effect and may inhibit cell multiplication, arrests the cancer cell cycle and causes apoptosis (cell death of cancer cells). This indicates that Halim seeds may exert an anti-cancer effect on breast cancer. However, there is limited evidence, and we need more studies to support these claims in humans.5 

Potential uses of Halim seeds on hyperlipidemia 

Hyperlipidemia or hyperlipoproteinemia is defined as an increase in total cholesterol, a reduction in low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol and an increase in high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol. Yousef et al. conducted a study in 2014 to assess the effects of Halim seeds on hyperlipidemia; this study states that Halim seeds positively impacted lipid profile. This effect is attributed to the inhibition of an enzyme, which aids the formation of cholesterol. This indicates that the consumption of Halim seeds may help manage hyperlipidemia. However, more studies should be conducted to claim these effects with more reliability.6 

In my practice, I have observed that halim seeds may exhibit significant antidiarrhoeal properties. It is believed to achieve this by inhibiting gastrointestinal propulsion and fluid secretion, resulting in a decreased frequency of bowel movements and reduced fluid loss.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Other potential uses of Halim seeds:7 

  • Halim seeds, due to their high iron content, may help in managing iron-deficiency anemia. 
  • They contain phytoestrogen, which is similar to estrogen hormone, which regulates menstruation. Thus, the consumption of Halim seeds may help in managing menstruation-related issues. 
  • They are a rich source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals and may help improve nutritional status. 
  • Halim seeds exert an anti-inflammatory effect due to the presence of phytochemicals like alkaloids and thus can be used to manage osteoarthritis. 
  • Due to the presence of antioxidants in Halim seeds, the liver is protected against damage from free radicals.  
  • Due to their high fiber content, Halim seeds may help manage constipation. 
  • Halim seeds contain goitrogenic substances that inhibit the absorption of iodine by the thyroid gland, which may reduce thyroid hormones and help manage hyperthyroidism.  
  • Due to the presence of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, Halim seeds may positively impact the skin. 
  • Halim seeds contain arachidonic and linoleic acid, which may improve brain function. 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of Halim seeds in various conditions, but these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of Halim seeds on human health.  

How to Use Halim seeds? 

  • Halim seeds due to their tangy taste can be added to soups, salads and smoothies. 
  • Hilam seeds can be roasted or sprouted for snacks.1 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

Side Effects of Halim seeds: 

Jain et al. conducted a study in 2018 that stated that in addition to the nutritional components, Halim seeds also contain anti-nutrients like phytates and oxalates which may interfere with the absorption of nutrients.  

However, if you experience any adverse reactions to Halim seeds, it is advised to discontinue its intake and immediately contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it. They will be able to guide you appropriately.8 

Precautions to take with Halim seeds: 

Consuming Halim seeds is okay if taken in moderate amounts. However, general precautions must be followed in the following conditions:9 

  • The safety data regarding the use of Halim seeds in pregnant and breastfeeding women, the elderly and infants is limited; therefore, it is advised to take necessary cautions if you plan to add this herb to your dietary routine. It is advised to follow precautions and consume it in moderate amounts. 

Consuming Halim seeds is contraindicated in the following situations: 

  • The consumption of Halim seeds can reduce blood pressure; it is advised to avoid their intake prior to surgeries. 
  • The consumption of Halim seeds causes a drop in levels of thyroid hormones, and thus, their use is contraindicated in hypothyroidism.7 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

  • Halim seeds are known to cause a reduction in blood pressure. If you’re on antihypertensive medicines, using Halim seeds along with your medications can cause your blood pressure to drop too low.  
  • Halim seeds can reduce the excretion/removal of theophylline (used for managing chronic obstructive airway disease) by the liver; thus increasing the concentration of theophylline in blood and resulting in side effects like chest pain, vomiting and irregular heartbeat. 

However, you must always seek the advice of your Ayurvedic physician about the possible interaction of Halim seeds with other drugs and follow the prescription thoroughly, as they will know your health condition and other medications you are taking.9 

Also Read: Lectin Free Foods: Research-Based Benefits and Lists to Consider

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What is the scientific name of Halim seeds? 

The scientific name of Halim seeds is Lepidium sativum.1 

2) What are the local names of Halim seeds? 

Halim seeds are locally known as Halim seeds, Holan, chandrasura, aliv seeds and garden cress.1 

3) Can you use aliv seeds for weight loss? 

Yes, animal studies show that Halim seeds may aid in weight loss.  However, we need more studies to support these claims in humans. Therefore, it is advised to consult a doctor for a proper treatment in case you have any-weight related issues.3 

4) Can Halim seeds be used in pregnancy? 

The safety data regarding the use of Halim seeds in pregnancy is limited; therefore it is advised to take necessary cautions if you plan to add this herb to your dietary routine. It is advised to consult a doctor for proper advice. 

5) Can Halim seeds be used to manage anaemia? 

Yes, Halim seeds, due to their high iron content, may help in managing iron-deficiency anemia. 

References: 

  1. Dixit Jr Iii, Vinti et al. “Lepidium sativum: Bone healer in traditional medicine, an experimental validation study in rats.” Journal of family medicine and primary care vol. 9,2 812-818. 28 Feb. 2020, doi:10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_761_19. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7113932/ 
  1. AL Sayed et al. Utilization of garden cress seeds (lepidium sativum L.) as natural source of protein ‎and dietary fiber in noodles – pharmaceutical research and Allied Sciences. Available at: https://ijpras.com/article/utilization-of-garden-cress-seeds-lepidium-sativum-l-as-natural-source-of-protein-and-dietary-fiber-in-noodles (Accessed: December 13, 2022).  
  1. Azene, M., Habte, K. & Tkuwab, H. Nutritional, health benefits and toxicity of underutilized garden cress seeds and its functional food products: a review. Food Prod Process and Nutr 4, 33 (2022). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/s43014-022-00114-z.  
  1. Qusti, Safaa et al. “The Hypoglycemic and Antioxidant Activity of Cress Seed and Cinnamon on Streptozotocin Induced Diabetes in Male Rats.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2016 (2016): 5614564. doi:10.1155/2016/5614564. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4972928/ 
  1. Mahassni, Sawsan Hassan, and Roaa Mahdi Al-Reemi. “Apoptosis and necrosis of human breast cancer cells by an aqueous extract of garden cress (Lepidium sativum) seeds.” Saudi journal of biological sciences vol. 20,2 (2013): 131-9. doi:10.1016/j.sjbs.2012.12.002. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3730895/ 
  1. El-Gindy, Yassmine M et al. “Reproductive performance and milk yield of rabbits fed diets supplemented with garden cress (Lepidium sativum) seed.” Scientific reports vol. 12,1 17083. 12 Oct. 2022, doi:10.1038/s41598-022-21449-0. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9556594/ 
  1. Saliyal: Halim Seeds: Alsi Seeds (சாலியல் அரிசி) | Halim Seeds | Alsi Seeds 100g (சாலியல் அரிசி) online in Chennai at www.Pachaa.in. Available at: https://www.pachaa.in/Buy-Saliyal-Halim-Seeds-Alsi-Seeds-100g (Accessed: December 13, 2022).  
  1. Jain, T., Grover, K. A Comprehensive Review on the Nutritional and Nutraceutical Aspects of Garden Cress (Lepidium sativum Linn.). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., India, Sect. B Biol. Sci. 88, 829–836 (2018). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40011-016-0775-2 
  1. GARDEN CRESS: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews (no date) WebMD. WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-453/garden-cress (Accessed: December 13, 2022).  

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