Spice Rack Remedies
Healing Qualities of Cumin
Cumin is an annual plant called Cuminum Cyminum and is a member of the parsley family. Cumin seeds, also known as Jeera, are used in cuisines from around the world, offering a slightly sweet, nutty and peppery flavour. The seeds are oblong in shape, ridged and yellow-brown in colour and are used in cooking whole in form, ground as a powder or as an extracted oil for flavouring.
The uses of cumin date back over 5,000 years and was highly regarded by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans not only for its culinary purposes, but also for its medicinal uses. Traditionally cumin was used as a diuretic, as an aphrodisiac, to reduce food-borne illnesses, to stimulate healthy digestion and to stimulate menstruation.
Today science has validated some of these traditional beliefs as well has found that cumin has many other medicinal benefits. Recent studies have found that cumin can be used to lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels, improve cognitive function, increase bone density, reduce symptoms of IBS, boost immunity, relieve the symptoms of the common cold, can be used as a detox for drug addiction, can help respiratory disorders, can be used to relieve insomnia, can promote lactation in women who are breastfeeding, provide antioxidant protection and may also prevent some cancers.
Cumin seeds are high in iron and dietary fiber as well a good source for many other essential nutrients like manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin B1. Iron plays many vital roles in the body including the promotion of healthy blood, energy production, metabolism and immune support. Iron deficiencies effect 20% of the world’s population and can lead to serious conditions like anemia. One teaspoon of cumin powder contains almost 18% of an adults daily value in Iron.
The dietary fiber and chemical properties of cumin benefit the digestive system by stimulating the secretion of pancreatic enzymes and proteins that assist in digestion and nutrient assimilation. A study published in the Middle East Journal of Digestive Disease concluded that an extract of cumin taken daily for 2 to 4 weeks greatly reduced symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Antioxidant compounds found in cumin like flavonoids and alkaloids provide protection from free radical damage that cause inflammation and damage to DNA. The antioxidant protection in cumin can improve inflammatory conditions like asthma, improve cognitive function, boost immunity, detox the body, relieve symptoms of the common cold, respiratory disorders and insomnia, as well provide protection against cancer.
Cumin has been found to improve blood sugar control, in one study, by reducing advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which are produced in the bloodstream when blood sugar levels are high. AGEs are believed to be responsible for damage to eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels in people with diabetes.
Multiple clinical studies have found that cumin improved blood cholesterol levels by decreasing unhealthy blood triglycerides. LDL cholesterol levels were decreased by 10% in patients that took a cumin extract for one and a half months.
In a study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine in 2008, researchers found that a cumin extract taken regularly had a similar effect in anti-osteoporotic to that of Estradiol, a drug taken by menopausal women, as well improved bone density.
A different study published in the journal Neuroscience Letters in 2008 suggests that cumin seed oil reduced the tolerance and dependance of drug addiction and reduced the symptoms of withdrawal.
Antimicrobial properties in cumin have long been used to reduce the risk of food-borne infections and reduce the growth of certain kinds of infectious fungi. Cumin seeds have also been suggested to improve skin conditions including boils, rashes, eczema and psoriasis.
Cumin taken with milk and honey on a regular basis is also said to help breast-feeding women increase their milk supply.
The health benefits of cumin are far-reaching, known throughout ancient times and proven today in many evidence-based studies. Cumin can be enjoyed as a spice in Asian, Middle-Eastern and Spanish cooking but can also be taken as a supplement. When cooking with cumin it is best to use whole cumin seeds or to grind them yourself with a mortar and pestle for optimum potency.
Written by: J. Marshall
• Authority Nutrition: An Evidence-based Approach / 9 Powerful Health Benefit of Cumin: https://authoritynutrition.com/9-benefits-of-cumin/
• The World’s Healthiest Foods / Cumin Seeds: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=91
• Organic Facts / 13 Surprising Benefits of Cumin: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/health-benefits-of-cumin.html
• Herb Wisdom / Cumin: http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-cumin.html
• Doctors Health Press / Top 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Cumin Seeds: http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/food-and-nutrition-articles/top-10-amazing-health-benefits-of-cumin-seeds
• Wellness Mama / Cumin Herb Profile: https://wellnessmama.com/5607/cumin-herb-profile/
• Wikipedia / Cumin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumin
• NCBI / Cumin extract for symptom control in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24829694
• Neuroscience Letters: The rapid communication journal for the neurosciences: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/neuroscience-letters/
• Experimental Biology and Medicine: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/ebm