Despite being the commonest of spices, used regularly to flavor our daily foods, we are hardly aware about the high-medicinal value of cumin, which always scores high on the popularity chart of spices.
Cumin is the dried fruit of a small aromatic astringent herb, native to Egypt, but also cultivated in India, Middle East, China and Mediterranean countries for ages. Cumin was popular as a digestive food flabour for ceremonial feasting, even during the Biblical times. Cumin is the most popular spice all over Asia, apart from Latin America to North African continents.
Cumin has been well-known as a food and medicine. It is said that ancient Egyptians, apart from using it for culinary purposes, also used it as an ingredient to mummify pharaohs.
Cumin seeds are a good source of iron and magnesium. Iron is vital in transporting oxygen from lungs to all body cells, and is also a part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Iron is instrumental in keeping the immune system healthy. It is particularly vital for menstruating, pregnant or lactating women, as for growing children and adolescents.
Cumin seeds have been noted to aid digestion. Now scientific researches have further strengthened this popular belief. It is beneficial for relief from flatulence, diarrhea, morning sickness, nausea, indigestion and atonic dyspepsia. In such cases a teaspoon of seeds could just be boiled in a glass of water, mixed with salt and a teaspoon of coriander leaf juice. It is also helpful in nutrient assimilation, healing of stitches and in pain.
Cumin stimulates the ability of liver to detoxify human body, and is also a good antiseptic. Hence it is helpful in getting rid of the common cold. Just boil the seeds in tea and drink a couple of times a day, and add some dry ginger to it, if required. Cumin can also be applied topically for boils. Make a cumin paste by grinding the seeds with water and applying it on the affected area.
Recent studies have revealed that cumin seeds contain anti-carcinogenic properties, as this powerful little seed reduced the risk of stomach and liver tumors in animals.
Even if you dont have any specific ailment to cure, Cumin is a great tonic for the body. It is a powerful kidney and liver herb that helps boost immunity. It is even believed to be effective in treating Asthma and Arthritis, thought there are no appropriate studies to confirm its effect.