- Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family.
- It was originally cultivated in Iran and the Mediterranean region and has been in use since ancient times.
- It is mentioned in the Bible in both the Old Testament (Isaiah 28:27) and the New Testament (Matthew 23:23).
- Today it is cultivated all over the world.
- Cumin is a half hardy, slender annual with finely divided, ovate leaves, reaching 10cm long.
- Tiny, white to pale pink flowers are produced in umbels, followed by gray-green ovoid-oblong fruits, containing pale brown seeds.
- Cumin is grown from seed sown in spring and prefers full sun, well-drained fertile soil and a long hot summer of three to four months (115 days).
- Daytime temperatures must be around 30 °C - seeds may not ripen in cold climates.
- Seeds must be sown directly in a garden bed and keep clean from weeds – germination will take place in 1 to 3 weeks.
- Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds and helps to add a hot and aromatic flavor to food.
- The seeds are a perfect companion for salad dressings, cheese, pickles, pastries, masala, stews, soups and spiced gravies such as chili.
- Cumin is an ingredient of curry powder and has a distinctive taste associated with ethnic foods of the Mediterranean Basin.
- An essential oil from the seed is used as a food flavoring.
Medicinal Uses. It is said that:
- The seeds are collected by hand when ripe, threshed, dried and stored whole in airtight jars.
For Animals. It is said that:
- Cumin is an astringent herb that benefits the digestive system - it is used in treating inflammation, indigestion, flatulence and as an appetite suppressant.
- Cumin purifies blood, promotes healthy reproductive organs in both male and female, increases milk flow in nursing mothers and acts an aphrodisiac.
- A fine paste of cumin seed powder mixed with water is applied on boils, swellings and itchiness of the skin.
- To prepare a mouth freshener, eliminate foul smell of the mouth and heal mouth ulcers - boil Cumin powder in water, allow cooling down, adding a pinch of cardamom powder, filter and gargle.
- In ancient times it has been used as a pain killer and to treat rotten teeth.
- Massage roasted Cumin powder mixed with sea salt on the gums to treat inflammations, prevent bleeding and to strengthen them.
- To treat indigestion and flatulence - boil 5ml of Cumin seed powder in 250ml of water, allow it to cool down and drink twice daily.
- Using Cumin powder with honey will do the same.
- To treat irritable bowel syndrome - drink pomegranate juice mixed with roasted Cumin powder until the condition subsides.
- In India ground Cumin powder is mixed into a paste with onion juice – to be applied to scorpion stings
- Cumin has a very disagreeable flavor and is nowadays seldom used in Western herbal medicine - having been superseded by caraway which has similar properties and a more pleasant flavor.
- Today Cumin’s medicinal use is confined to veterinary practice where it is used as a carminative.
- Cumin is often used as part of birdseed mixtures.
- Mixed Cumin seeds and sea-salt is an universal remedy for diseases like scabby backs and breasts disease in pigeons.
- Take 113g each of sea salt, common Salt, Dill-seeds, Cumin-seeds, 453g Fennel-seeds and 29ml Assafoetida.
- Mix it with a little wheat flour and some fine-worked clay.
- Mix well and bake in the oven.
- Allow to cool down and put it on the table in the dove-cote for the pigeons