Cumin is one of the common spices used as ingredient to recipes or as flavoring component in Asian kitchens. Its aromatic properties have made it to be used as a flavouring spice in India, Mediterranean, Middle East and China. In Egypt cumin was used for mummification process. It has few synonyms which portray its qualities like Dipaka that means good for digestion and Medhyam that means wholesome for mind. Cumin has beneficial effects for indigestion, stomach ache, Anaemia, Arthritis, aids in cold, fever and sore throat. There are findings that it has anti-carcinogenic properties which helps to prevent cancer too.
Cumin is a wonderful herb that has been all around the globe for ages. Cumin can help in indigestion, flatulence, diarrhoea, morning sickness and nausea. Daily intake of cumin is a certain health benefit as it will make you healthier by increasing your haemoglobin, increasing immunity and making your skin healthy and glowing. Cumin also makes your digestive system strong and keeps many gastric ailments at bay. It also improves metabolism of the body.
According to Ayurveda, cumin is said to be safe when taken during pregnancy. It helps to increase milk secretion in mother and makes the child healthy too. It also helps in the smooth delivery. The increased secretion of milk in lactating mothers is due to presence of thymol which tends to increase secretion from mammary glands
Instruction: Tonic in pregnancy
Take one tablespoon of cumin; mix it with one or two tablespoons of honey and one cup of cow’s milk. If cow’s milk is not available than buffalo’s milk can also be used. Consume the tonic once in a day during pregnancy period.
Cumin is an herb that has many medicinal uses and health benefits which are listed as follows.
- To prevent relapsing of intestinal worms: Black cumin is potent anthelmintic. If it is taken 2 gram twice daily with honey twice daily it prevents relapsing of intestinal worms.
- Anaemia: Cumin is a rich source of Iron, there is 66 mg iron in each 100 gm iron which is approximately five times the daily requirement of iron. Cumin consumed daily helps increase your haemoglobin and cure anaemia.
- Common cold: Cumin is believed to be good cure for common cold. Cumin seeds with Jaggery used as digestive and also relieves burning sensation.
- Diarrhoea: Cumin seeds with curd are the first aid home ready for diarrhoea.
- Acute indigestion and diarrhoea: Two tablespoon cumin taken along with warm water 10-15 minutes before meals provides relief in acute indigestion and diarrhoea.
- Hyperacidity and gastric distension of stomach: Two gram cumin powder taken with coriander juice, cardamom and salt provides relief in hyperacidity common cold when it is taken as decoction. It is prepared by boiling cumin seeds, ginger and basil leaves in a cup of water. You can also add honey to it.
- Insomnia: If you experience insomnia than you can have cumin powder with mashed banana. It relieves insomnia if it is taken before going to bed.
- Skin: Cumin is a rich source of vitamin C and E and essential oil. Consume it daily to have a healthy glowing skin.
- Pregnancy induced vomiting: Cumin plus lemon juice is one of the best and safest home remedy for morning sickness and pregnancy induced vomiting.
- Galactogogue for nursing mothers: Cumin powder plus Gud (jaggery) or honey is best for nursing mothers.
- Irregular Fever: Cumin combined with jaggery alleviates irregular fever. It also improves digestion and destroys disease caused by Vattaj dosha. Cumin has remarkable amount of calcium which is an important constituent of milk. Hence it is very good for nursing mothers.
- Amlapitta (Acidity): 640gm ghee should be cooked with paste of cumin and coriander. This also checks vomiting.
- Scorpion bite: Paste of cumin seeds mixed with Ghee and rock salt when applied relieves pain of scorpion sting.
- Bad breath: Cumin can help to treat your bad breath, for that 1 gm of cumin seeds should be chewed before food.
- Immunity: Cumin seeds have abundant iron, essential oils, vitamin C, vitamin A and calcium that boost up our immune system.
- Renal Colic: Caraway, cumin and black salt taken together are quite beneficial in renal colic.
Cumin is safe when taken in small doses. Caution should be exercised in diabetic patients as cumin is believed to lower blood sugar levels. At any given time cumin should not be taken in doses higher than 6 gm as it can aggravate pitta dosha and causes hyperacidity.
- Parts Used: Seed
- Dose: 3-6gm
- Formulations: powder, arishtha and oils.
- Sanskrit Name: Jiraka (जीरक)
- Hindi Name: Jira/Jeera (जीरा)
- Ras (रस): Katu (कटु)
- Virya (वीर्य): Usn (उष्ण)
- Guna (गुण): Laghu (लघु), Tiksan (तीक्ष्ण), Ruksh (रुक्ष)
- Vipaka (विपाक): Katu कटु
- Doshkarm (Pharmacological Action)
- Stimulates Digestion
Modern scientific explanation
- Botanical Name: Cuminum cyminum
- Family: Umbelliferae
Chemical Constitution: Cumin contains iron, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin b, Magnesium and some essential oils.
- Cumin aldehyde and thymol are main aromatic organic compounds of cumin. Essential oil of cumin seeds stimulate acids, bile, digestive enzymes secretion which leads to good digestion of food. Therefore, good digestion and proper intake of vitamin A (especially B-complex) helps to induce a sound sleep and some of components of essential oil have tranquilizing effect. Therefore, helps in insomnia.
- Animal study shows that it protects from stomach and liver tumour.
- Active principles in the cumin may augment the motility of GIT as well as aid in the digestive power by increasing gut enzyme secretion. Therefore boosts the power of liver’s ability to detoxify the human body.
- Cumaldehyde (anti-microbial and anti-fungal) is effective against E.coli and penicillium chrysogenum.
- Seeds are excellent source of dietary fibre.
- The aromatic taste and smell of cumin can be attributed to the presence of volatile oils and aldehyde.
- Cumin seeds are a rich source of volatile non-volatile oils which finds its use in Ayurvedic medicines.
- Cumin is a rich source of iron. Iron is an important constituent of haemoglobin and many other important enzymes. Since cumin is a rich source of iron. It is vital in maintaining health and immunity.
- Cumin is also believed to have antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. It is also proven to be anticarcinogenic.
- Cumin is also believed to lower blood sugar levels.
- Therefore concisely it can be said that it is an antimicrobial, antifungal, antiasthmatic, antiflatulent/carminative, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic.