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Cumin is an Apiaceae plant family member native to the eastern Mediterranean and India. The powdered and whole seeds from the Cumin fruit are used in many types of traditional Indian dishes most notably, Curry. Cumin seeds are mentioned in the Bible, have been unearthed at ancient Egyptian tombs, and show up in multiple mythologies and folk tales dating back over 5,000 years. Cumin seed was thought to enhance fidelity, and is mentioned as a part of an ancient aphrodisiac potion along with cayenne pepper and honey.


The pungent, peppery flavors of Cumin add to its value as a culinary spice as well as its function for helping ease digestive complaints.* The property of this flavor known as a carminative is to help ease the formation and to dispel gas from the digestive tract.* There are some studies almost exclusively done in vitro, indicating some promise for the essential oil extract of Cumin seeds as an antibacterial agent, but no studies done in humans or using the whole powdered seed as it would be given in food or medicine.*

Uses of Cumin


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Essential oils, vitamins B2,3,6,12, vitamin c, vitamin e, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.

Parts Used

  • Seed

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Additional Resources

Safoura Derakhshan, Morteza Sattari, Mohsen Bigdeli; Effect of cumin (Cuminum cyminum) seed essential oil on biofilm formation and plasmid Integrity of Klebsiella pneumonia, Pharmacogn Mag. 2010 Jan-Mar; 6(21): 57-61.

Daniel Zohary and Maria Hopf, Domestication of plants in the Old World, third edition (Oxford: University Press, 2000), p. 206

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