Cumin – the coolant

Introducing the coolant herb- Cumin:

Cumin, scientifically known as Cuminum Cyminum, belongs to family Apiaceae. It is called ‘Jeera’ in common language. It has a pungent, sharp, and slightly sweet taste and is greenish brown in appearance. It can be used in form of either as whole seeds or as jeera powder [1,2]. From the same family Apiaceae are other beneficial herbs black cumin (shahi jeera), nigella (onion seeds), fennel seeds, caraway (Persian cumin) and ajwain which are unique herbs by themselves and are not to be confused with cumin/jeera

History:

Dating back to 5000 years ago ‘Cumin’ the healing spice ingredient was well known among the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Mexican and the Indians. While the Egyptians used them in the mummification process, the Greeks, Romans and Indians considered it an essential ingredient in their cuisines. Instances of its purity can be seen by their usages during the Middle Ages when attendees at weddings carried them as a sign to promote love and as an auspicious symbol by the soldiers who carried cumin spiced bread loaf when they left home for battle. According to the Bible, cumin could be used as a currency used to pay tithes to the priests; this instance upholds the value of cumin from long ago in the lives of people. These aspects can be linked to its scientific healing properties that have made it valuable and widely used world wide in the present ages [1,2].

Functional metabolites [4,5]:

α-Thujene, α-Pinene, Myrcene, α-Phellandrene, α-Terpinene, β-Phellandrene, 1,8-Cineole, cis-Sabinene hydrate, trans-Sabinene hydrate, trans-Sabinol, Terpinene-4-ol, cis-dihydro Carvone, ρ-Mentha-1,4-dien-7-ol, β-Acoradiene, β-pinene, ρ-Cymene γ-Terpinene, Cumin aldehyde, α-Terpinene-7-al, γ-Terpinene-7-al, Carotene, Zeaxanthin, Lutein, Caffeine.

Metabolites in toasted cumin:
Pyrazine, 2-ethoxy-3-isopropylpyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-sec-butylpyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-methylpyrazine

Nutrition value [5]:

Jeera is an excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium. It also contains very good amounts of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, and other vital anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Therapeutic applications [3]:

Disease conditionResponsible metabolite/nutrient in cumin
Anti-inflammatory on uterus
Analgesic
Stimulates digestionCuminaldehyde and thymol
Gastric issues
GalactagogueThymol
Aphrodisiac
Anti-microbialCuminaldehyde and pyrazines
Anti-fungalCuminaldehyde and pyrazines
Anti-oxidantCarotene, zeaxanthin, lutein
Anti-congestiveCaffeine
Natural laxative
Anti-carcinogenic
Anti-thrombotic

Pharmacological applications [3]:

Disease conditionApplication / Metabolite
Skin diseasesVitamin E content; Helps in depigmentation
HemorrhoidCuminaldehyde and pyrazines
Scorpion sting
Renal colic
Gonorrhea
Calculi
Leucorrhoea
AsthmaCaffeine
BronchitisCaffeine
InsomniaB-complex nutrition
Common coldVitamin C
Diabetes
AnemiaIron content
Scientific evidences:

Anti-oxidant activity: The flavonoid contents of cumin significantly decreased the OxLDL level and increased the activities of both paraoxonase and arylesterase; paraoxanase 1 (PON1) hydrolyzes lipid peroxides and plays a protective role against human atherosclerotic lesions [10].

Anti-thrombotic: Ethereal extract of cumin was observed to inhibit thromboxane B2 production in arachidonate-induced human platelet aggregation. [11]

Anti-bacterial activity: A study comparing the antibacterial activity of cumin extracts and selected standard antibiotics showed significant activity of chloroform and isoamyl alcohol extracts of C. cyminum against P. aeruginosa, S. marcesnces and S. pyogenes [12]

Anti-cancer activity: Study on use of cumin for treating cancer shows that cumin negatively impacts the cell survival of Hep3B hepatoma and MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells. This is stimulated by the inhibition of HIF-1α, HIF-1β and HIF-2α transcription and translational activity, as increased levels of HIF-1 is a critical mediator of tumor cell survival under hypoxic response [13].

Diabetes: A study conducted in rats proved the action of cuminaldehyde and cuminol metabolites of cumin to be responsible for increase in insulin levels without causing hypoglycaemia or β-cell burn out [8].

Anti-inflammatory: The cumialdehyde component of cumin has shown the scope of being a 15-LOX inhibitor making it a potential candidate in developing a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) [9].

Side effects of excessive jeera consumption [7]:

  • Blood sugar levels should be monitored in diabetic people on medications as cumin decrease blood sugar and this could result in hypoglycemia in some people.
  • Avoid cumin intake at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery and for a few weeks after surgery as studies have shown that cumin decreases blood clotting time along with decreasing blood sugar.
When cumin intervenes!!!

Certain medications prescribed for treating diabetes interacts with cumin consumed and further brings down blood sugar leading to hypoglycemic conditions. Some such medications are as listed below [7].

Glimepiride (Amaryl)
Glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase)
Insulin
Pioglitazone (Actos)
Rosiglitazone (Avandia)
Chlorpropamide (Diabinese)
Glipizide (Glucotrol)
Tolbutamide (Orinase)

Cumin supplements:

Product nameDetailsBuy at
Cumin capsulesCumin Capsules (100% Pure Grounded Cumin), 500mg Per Capsule, Weight for 100ct Capsule: 2.3 oz per bottleShop at eBay
Now Curcumin60 vcapsLuckyVitamin.com
Cardiovascular Research Curcumin with Zingerone & Saffron 60 Capsules, Suggested Use: Take 1-2 capsules daily, or as directed by a physician.PureFormulas.com
Jarrow Formulas Curcumin 95500 mg, 120 Capsules, Usage: Take 1 capsule per day with food or as directed by your qualified healthcare professional.Swansonsvitamins.com
Effective Dosage [6]:

Cumin seed powder is taken in dosage of 3-6 gms.

Cumin in your platter:

The cumin herb has been used as flavoring agent in cuisines around the globe. What more could be blessing if your taste buds could be happy and your body healthy as you feast. Known by the Asian name jeera, ones in love with Asian cuisines might be familiar with dishes like jeera rice and jal-jeera, a very overwhelming drink during the summers. Jeera can be used to flavor any kind of breads too, be it the indian flat breads to the western breads and buns that stimulates your taste buds for more. Jeera can be also used to enhance the essence of the roasted vegetables.

Growing cumin:

Cumin requires a sunny weather to grow well and does best on well-drained fertile soil. You can buy good quality seeds for one of the links below if you plan for a herb garden of your own.

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