Cumin is also known by its plant name Cuminum cyminum and it belongs to the plant family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae, which is also known as the parsley, celery, or carrot family. Cumin seeds are also called jeera. The history of the herb dates back 5,000 years, and it was highly regarded by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
Besides its culinary uses, this aromatic spice is known for its medicinal properties since ancient times. Being an excellent source of iron, it aids in digestion, boosts the immune system and has anti-carcinogenic properties.
Black cumin seeds contain about 100 chemical compounds including vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and fatty acids. They are known for their healing qualities. The Islam culture believes that these can heal any type of disease except death while in Bible they are referred to as the curative black seeds. Thus, this spice has a rich history and was particularly favored by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. In ancient times, it was even used as a method for payment of taxes and debts.
Nutrition Chart for Cumin Seeds —
Cumin seeds are loaded with iron and dietary fiber. Other important nutrients in cumin seeds include manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Cumin seeds also contain small amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, and folate. Cumin seeds are a rich source of beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Let’s take look at most prominent health benefits of cumin seeds:
Beneficial for digestion — The active ingredients in cumin seeds may help digestion and improve gut motility by augmenting the secretion of gastrointestinal enzymes. The thymol and other essential oils in cumin seeds also help stimulate the salivary glands that help you digest food.
Lowers cholesterol — The antioxidant activity in cumin helps lower cholesterol
Effective for diabetes — Cumin helps to lower blood sugar levels and thus helps in maintaining proper blood content levels in the body. This is a great boon for people suffering from Diabetes
Boosts immunity — This is achieved by its anti-oxidant characteristics that fight against impurities and free radicals. This helps in making the body’s immunity better in combating diseases.
Helps fight cancer — Cumin is helpful in treating colon and breast cancer. The seeds contain thymoquinone, dithymoquinone, thymohydroquinone and thymol which are anti-carcinogenic agents
Helps treat asthma — Cumin seeds contain Thymoquinone, which reduces inflammatory processes and other mediators that cause asthma. They also act as a bronchodilator
Improves cognitive function — Cumin seeds are also thought to increase cognitive performance and improve memory-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Stress is also known to causes forgetfulness and confusion.
Treatment of Boils — Boils are outlet for the elimination of toxic substances and foreign matters such as microbes etc. Occurrence of boils indicates the accumulation of toxic substances in the body. Regular usage of cumin in your food helps in keeping your skin free from boils, rashes, pimples etc. This is because it has components such as Cuminaldehyde, Thymol and phosphorus which are good detoxifying agents. They help in facilitating regular removal of toxins from the body through the excretory system and not through boils.
Treatment of Skin Disorders — Cumin has a high content of vitamin E which keeps your skin healthy and glowing. Besides, the essential oils, cumin have disinfectant and anti-fungal properties which protect your skin from fungal and microbial infections. Topical application of cumin paste on boils, pimples, eczema, psoriasis and other skin disorders facilitates quick healing. A dash of ground cumin powder can also be added to your face pack to treat skin issues. Cumin is also a good source of dietary fiber which helps in the cleaning process and removes toxins.
Anti-Ageing Benefits — Vitamin E present in cumin triggers the anti-ageing processes within the body, thus preventing pre mature ageing symptoms. It acts as an antioxidant to combat the free radicals that attack the skin and cause signs of ageing like wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin. This combination of antioxidant effect and antibacterial capacity of cumin provides you with a healthy, beautiful skin that lasts far into your old age
Treatment of Hair Loss — Nigella sativa or black cumin is known to combat thinning of hair, baldness and falling hair
• You can mix equal quantities of black cumin oil and olive oil.
• After a bath, apply this on your hair or on the bald part of your head.
• This will promote hair growth as well as treat hair loss.
Long and Shiny Hair — Black cumin seeds can give you those long and lustrous tresses.
• For this purpose, boil 1.5 tablespoons of black cumin seeds in ¾ cup of water for 10 minutes.
• When the mixture cools down, use a strainer to separate the seeds from the water.
• Add a raw egg yolk to the black cumin water and mix well to get a homogeneous creamy solution.
• If you want, you can add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to the mixture.
• Massage it on your scalp and allow it to stay for 30 minutes to an hour.
• Wash off with water.
• This should be done every week or every alternate week for best results.
Treatment of Dandruff — Oil extract from cumin is a great stimulant, carminative, antioxidant and diuretic. It is often used for massage in aroma therapy and scalp treatments to get rid of dandruff
Helps to treat Anemia — Cumin seeds are very rich in iron, which makes it an essential natural health ingredient. This iron content helps to treat anemia, makes blood rich in haemoglobin content and helps in acting as a carrier of oxygen to the cells in the body
Piles — The main cause behind piles (hemorrhoids) is constipation added with infections in the wound in the anal tract, which are also caused by constipation. Cumin, because of its dietary fiber content and carminative, stimulating, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, acts as a natural laxative in powdered form. These characteristics are due to the presence of essential oils composed mainly of Cuminaldehyde and certain pyrazines. Adding cumin to your diet also helps in healing up of infections or wounds in the digestive and excretory system and speeds up digestion as well. That pretty much means that it clears up all the symptoms and causes of hemorrhoids, so keep that it mind when you start itching!
Insomnia — This is a very peculiar property of cumin. It is a stimulant as well as a relaxant at the same time. This property cannot be attributed to a single part alone, just as causes of insomnia cannot be attributed to a single cause. However, studies show that the proper intake of vitamins (particularly B-complex) and good digestion help to induce a sound sleep. It helps in both of these factors.
Prevents from Acidity — Soak a tsp of jeera in a glass of water for the entire night and drink it in morning, it facilitates the bile production by the liver which relieves from the bloating, acidity, abdominal gas and etc.
Disadvantages and Side Effects of Jeera/Cumin —
- Jeera has property to lower the blood sugar levels hence during or after the surgery it may interfere with the blood sugar control. Thus it should be avoided 2 weeks before going to the surgery.
- It should be avoided while going on medications for diabetes as it may interact with the cumin.
With these benefits, how could you say no? Add some cumin to your diet as soon as you can.
I’m Dr. Malini Bhat MD (Ayu); an Ayurvedic Doctor and a health blogger. Follow me on social media to get daily health tips which you can easily adapt to a healthy lifestyle.