Cumin (Jeera /Zeera in Hindi) is a spice indispensable to the Indian kitchen. It is also a popular ingredient in South Asian, North African and Latin American cuisines.
Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum of the Umbelliferae family which includes caraway, parsley, and dill. No wonder then that cumin is often confused with its cousin, caraway.
Seeds excavated at Syrian and Egyptian archaeological sites date the use of cumin to as far back as the second millennium BC. In fact, cumin was used as a preservative in mummification in ancient Egypt. This tiny little seed even finds mention in both the New and Old Testaments of the Holy Bible.
Cumin is not just a ruling ingredient in many kitchens. This tiny seed holds great potential as a health aid in ways mentioned below:
Uses in Aromatherapy:
The main constituents of cumin are the compounds cuminalldyhde and cuminic alcohol which give cumin its distinctive, strong flavor.It’s warm aroma is due to its essential oil content. The essential oil of cumin is extracted from dried and crushed seeds by steam distillation. Cumin oil is not used on its own in aromatherapy because it is so pungent; it mixes well with the essential oils of Angelica, Caraway, Camomile and Coriander and can be used in small doses. The essential oils of cumin are good to allay anxiety and decrease stress. They also tone muscles, tissue, and skin.
Cumin is a very good digestive which stimulates the digestive as well as the excretory systems.It contains Thymol which encourages the secretion of digestive enzymes, bile and stomach acids responsible for the digestion of food in the stomach and the small intestine. Cumin is also a carminative- preventing the gas formation, flatulence, and stomachache.
Useful in Treating Piles or Haemorrhoids:
Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure on the veins of the anus and the rectum. The pressure results in swelling, pain and even bleeding. Hemorrhoids are a common discomfort in almost 75% of people who suffer from them due to varied reasons: constipation, pregnancy, obesity or a low fiber diet. Cumin is high in fiber. As already discussed, it is a good digestive. It is, thus, very useful in the treatment and prevention of piles. Cumin is also used in Ayurveda to treat severe digestive disorders which result in piles.
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