The cumin plant was already used as seasoning or medicine by ancient Egyptians, as deduced from the fruits found in some tombs. In later centuries, its fruit has been substituted by the caraway, with similar properties though a milder flavor. However, cumin is still an excellent medicine and seasoning. Salads dressed with cumin have an exquisite aroma and can satisfy the most discriminate taste.
They are indispensable ingredients in traditional confectionery, which, besides acquiring their delicious flavor, become more digestible.
Cumin Plant Scientific Facts
- French: Cumin de Malte.
- Spanish: Comino.
- Environment: Native to western Asia, it has spread all over the Mediterranean regions. It’s cultivated in some American countries.
- Description: Annual herbaceous plant of the Umbelliferae family, which grows up to 50 cm high, with very fine leaves. Its fruits, 5-6 mm large, grow on the tip of the umbels radi and have marked rough-haired stretches.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The fruits.
Healing Properties and Warning
Cumin contain 10 percent of ethereal oil and an essence whose most crucial active component is cuminic aldehyde or cuminal. They have appetizer, digestive, and carminative (eliminate intestinal gas) properties.
Cumin also has a mild galactogenic effect, which means they promote the secretion of milk for breastfeeding women.
All properties are common to the fruit of other Umbelliferae species, such as caraway, coriander, and anise. The main difference with cumin is its peculiar flavor.
WARNING! Cumin essence must not be given to children since it can produce convulsions.
How to use Cumin
- Infusion with 2g of whole or slightly ground cumins (the tip of a teaspoonful) per cup of water. Drink a cup after lunch and another after supper. Babies can have two or three spoonfuls of this infusion after each meal.
- Power: The recommended dose is one gram after each meal, dissolved in water or milk.
- Essence: Take from one to three drops three times a day.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 449. Print. [cumin plant]