Cumin

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  • Botanical: Cuminum cyminum
  • Family: Apiaceae
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Cumin

Botanical

Cuminum cyminum

Family

Apiaceae

Known as

Cumin Acre, Sweet Cumin, Anise Acre.

Old Use

culinary; medicinal

Collection Times

Late Summer

Parts Used

herb, leaves, seed

Aroma

balsamic, spicy

Medicinal

abdominal pain, bronchitis, bronchitis, cancer, colds, coughs, cramps, cramps stomach, digestion, fever, flatulence, indigestion, menstrual cramps, respiratory

Heart & Circulation

circulation

Hormone & Sexual Organs

menstrual cramps

Infection & Inflammation

fever

Mind & Nerves

anorexia, colic, dizziness

Respiratory System

bronchitis, cough, difficulty breathing, lung weakness

Stomach & Intestinal

abdominal pain, constipation, flatulence, liver weakness, indigestion, stomach weakness

Properties

antibacterial, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, aphrodisiac, carminative, diuretic, galactagogue, relaxant, stimulant, tonic

Description

Its stem is slender and branched, rarely exceeding 1 foot in height and somewhat angular. The leaves are divided into long, narrow segments like Fennel, but much smaller and are of a deep green colour, generally turned back at the ends. The upper leaves are nearly stalkless, but the lower ones have longer leaf-stalks.

The flowers are small, rose-coloured or white, in stalked umbels with only four to six rays, each of which are only about 1/3 inch long, and bloom in June and July, being succeeded by fruit - the so-called seeds - which constitute the Cumin of pharmacy.

They are oblong in shape, thicker in the middle, compressed laterally about 5 inch long, resembling Caraway seeds, but lighter in colour and bristly instead of smooth, almost straight, instead of being curved. They have nine fine ridges, overlapping as many oil channels, or vittae. The odour and taste are somewhat like caraway, but less agreeable.

Properties & Uses

Cumin is an aromatic, astringent herb that benefits the digestive system and acts as a stimulant to the sexual organs. It has been used in the treatment of minor digestive complaints, chest conditions and coughs, as a pain killer and to treat rotten teeth. Cumin is seldom used in Western herbal medicine, having been superseded by caraway which has similar properties but a more pleasant flavour. It is still widely used in India, however where it is said to promote the assimilation of other herbs and to improve liver function. The seed is antispasmodic, carminative, galactogogue, stimulant and stomachic. A general tonic to the whole digestive system, it is used in the treatment of flatulence and bloating, reducing intestinal gas and relaxing the gut as a whole. In India it is also used in the treatment of insomnia, colds and fevers and to improve milk production in nursing mothers. Ground into a powder and mixed into a paste with onion juice, it has been applied to scorpion stings. The herb has been used externally as a poultice to relieve stitch and pains in the side. The essential oil obtained from the seed is antibacterial and larvicidal. 

Other Uses

The seed contains about 2.5% essential oil. It is used in perfumery and for flavouring beverages

Cautions

 May cause hypoglycaemia. Caution need for diabetics. Avoid if taking barbiturates

Distribution

Europe to North Africa and South West Asia. Original habitat is obscure.

Constituents

Carving, Carvone