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Uchellu (niger seeds) are the seeds of Guizotia abyssinica. This plant is a stout, erect, branched annual herb, grown for its seeds and edible oil. Its cultivation originated in the Eritrean and Ethiopian highlands and has spread to other parts of Ethiopia.

The shape of niger seeds are similar to that of sunflower seeds, but they are smaller and black. They have a thick seed coat and may be stored for up to a year without going bad. Niger seeds contain oil, proteins, and soluble sugars. Besides their various culinary uses, they are also used as bird feed.

Nutritional Facts

Serving Size 100g
Energy 515 KJ
Moisture 4 g
Protein 24 g
Fat 39 g
Mineral 5 g
Carbohydrate 17 g
Fiber 11 g
Calcium 300 mg
Iron 57 mg
Phosphorus 224 mg

Health Benefits:

  • The benefits of uchellu are less well documented, but tribal wisdom says their health benefits are similar to those of black sesame seeds.
  • Uchellu has been shown to have certain antioxidant and anti-parasitic qualities that can benefit the body when consumed.
  • When included in your diet, it may help prevent various infections and strengthen the overall immune system.
  • Good for Heart Health
  • Immune booster
  • Heals wounds and inflammation


Uchellu is commonly consumed in southern parts of India. In Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. Uchellu is used to make masalas by the people of Karnataka. It is an essential ingredient in some gravies and particularly in the masala used to prepare ennegayi—a stuffed brinjal dish.

Uchellu is used to make a dry chutney which is used as an accompaniment to flatbreads such as chapati, naan, and roti. They are also used as a spice in some curries. In Ethiopia, an infusion made from roasted and ground uchellu, sugar, and water is used to treat common colds.

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