Cumin is related to coriander and is a member of the parsley family. The seed component of the plant is mainly what is used as a spice and it is a key ingredient in chili powder and curry powder. Cumin has a strong, sharp taste and is used extensively in Mexican, Indian, North African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking.
Cumin is a source of iron and manganese. Rich in essential oils such as cuminaldehyde and pyranzines, cumin is associated with blood glucose-lowering effects.
In traditional medicine, cumin helps aid digestion and related problems. Its aromatic essential oils, mainly cuminaldehyde, activate the salivary glands in the mouth, facilitating the primary digestion of food. Thymol, another compound present in cumin, has stimulating properties and helps to trigger the glands which secrete acids, bile and the enzymes responsible for complete digestion of food in the stomach and the intestines, and greater absorption of nutrients. Cumin is also a carminative i.e. it prevents the build-up of gas in the intestine and thereby reduces flatulence, improves digestion and appetite.
Cumin has antibacterial properties and has been known to protect against hookworm infection (a soil-transmitted parasitic infection).
One study showed that rats that were given an extract of black cumin had reduced inflammation attributed to arthritis.
Rats who consumed cumin for six weeks had marked reduction in blood glucose, hemoglobin and triglyceride levels. Researchers also found cumin supplementation to be more effect than glibenclamide (an oral hypoglycemic medication to help control blood glucose) in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
Cumin added to the diets of rats slowed down the formation of colon cancer cells.
Cumin was found to be highly effective at killing H. pylori, a bacteria associated with stomach ulcers.
Tips on Using Cumin
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