Cumin is considered the second most popular spice in the world after black pepper. This aromatic spice with a distinctive bitter flavor and strong, warm aroma has been known since ancient times. Cumin seeds have been found in excavations that date back to 2000 BC. The Ancient Egyptians had culinary uses for it as well as medicinal uses and they also used it in their mummification process. Even the Bible mentions this precious spice and its medicinal properties.
Cumin is the seeds of annual plant (Cuminum cyminum) from parsley family. The plant grows to 25cm height and has small white or pink flowers. It is harvested about 4 months after planting when the seeds are brownish.
Cumin is sold as whole seeds or grounded. It is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern, Asian, Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines, and is one of the main ingredients in curry and chilli powders.
Can be used with almost any dish from chicken and lamp to beans, lentils, soaps and stews.
Cumin has a long medicinal history. Mostly used in Eastern medicine, cumin is said to be a great tonic and can help the liver in its detoxifying process as well as help the kidneys. It is a warming herb, helping the metabolic process. Known for its ability to heal digestive ailments such as morning sickness, diarrhea, flatulence and other digestive ailments, it is also great to take as a tea to help with the common cold. Cumin has a high content of iron, but not enough to be used as supplement. It can also be applied topically to help heal boils and other skin problems. Black cumin is said to be able to help treat asthma and arthritis. Recent studies also show that this healthy herb may have a role in reducing the risk of some cancers.