Medicinal Properties of Cumin

Cumin Seeds

Botanical Name :- uminum cyminum
Indian Name :- Jeera

Other names: Zeera (Persian), Zireh (Turkish), Kimyon (China), al-kamuwn (الكمون) - Arabic, Kemun (Ethiopia), Duru (Sri Lanka)

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Cumin is an annual herb with a smooth surface and long slender root. It grows up to the height of 356 to 40 cm.
It produces a stem with many branches. The dried seed forms an essential ingredient of curry powder. Cumin is a native of Egypt, Syria, Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean region. It was one of the common spices used in the middle ages. The analysis of cumin seeds shows them to consist of moisture 6.2 %, protein 17.7% , fat 23.8 % , fibre 9.1% , carbohydrates 35.5 and mineral matter 7.7% per 100 gms. Their minerals and vitamin contains are calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium , Vitamins C & vitamin A.

Cumin has been in use since ancient times. Seeds, excavated at the Syrian site Tell ed-Der, have been dated to the second millennium BC. They have also been reported from several New Kingdom levels of ancient Egyptian archaeological sites.

Originally cultivated in Iran and Mediterranean region, cumin is mentioned in the Bible in both the Old Testament (Isaiah 28:27) and the New Testament (Matthew 23:23). It was also known in ancient Greece and Rome. The Greeks kept cumin at the dining table in its own container (much as pepper is frequently kept today), and this practice continues in Morocco. Cumin fell out of favour in Europe except in Spain and Malta during the Middle Ages. It was introduced to the Americas by Spanish colonists.

Since returned to favour in parts of Europe, today it is mostly grown in Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, India, Syria, Mexico, and Chile.

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The fruit is a rich source of thymol. Thymol is used as an anthelmintic against hookworm infections and also as an antiseptic in many proporietary preparations. It is a stimulant, which increases the secretion and discharge of urine and relieves flatulence.

Cumin seed is considered to be an herb in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is commonly referred to as zi ran (孜然) or an xi hui xiang (安息茴香). An xi (安息) is the Chinese name for the Arsacid Dynasty of Parthia, so it is also called Arab hui xiang (阿拉伯茴香). Cumin is not to be confused with fennel seed or xiao hui xiang (小茴香). In herbal medicine, cumin is classified as stimulant, carminative, and antimicrobial.

Cumin Recipes - Zalabya (Jordanian Breakfast)

  • Directions:
    4 cups flour
    1 cup of sesame
    1/4 cup black cumin
    1 cup olive oil, for the dough
    1 tablespoon granule yeast
    Salt to taste
    Olive oil for frying

    Method :

    1. Dissolve the yeast into 1/4 cup of warm water
    2. Combine flour, sesame, black cumin, olive oil, salt and water in a bowl mixing all together to make a dough, add more water if required
    3. Add the dissolve yeast to the dough and mix well together until tender, cover the bowl for nearly 30 minutes or to rise dough
    4. When the dough is ready cut it into small ball shapes. Prepare a tray wiped with Olive oil
    5. Place oil in a circular frying pan and place it over heat. Add the dough to the pan and figure it into a circle-shape
    6. Increase the heat of and fry the first side of zalabya until it turns into a golden brown then flip it to the other side and let it fry until it turns to golden brown too
    7. Put the zalabya into the serving plate and serve hot.

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