Monday, June 29, 2015

Healing properties of Cumin

Cumin when it is roasting in the kitchen is really irresistible to the appetite. Cumin is an herb that many associate with Mexican and Spanish foods, but it is also widely used in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking.
Cumin is not only a great addition to our kitchen, it is a medicine, a powerful medicine with many uses. Cumin is good for all dosha, specially for Vatta dosha.

History of Use
According to Mountain Rose Herbs: Cumin is the seed of a small plant in the parsley family. Its use goes back 5000 years to the Egyptians, who used it not only as a spice but as an ingredient in the mummification process. The Greeks and Romans also used cumin and highly regarded it as one of the essential spices. In the Middle Ages cumin seed was thought to promote love and fidelity, so it was carried by attendees of weddings, and solders were always sent off to battle with a fresh loaf of cumin seed bread. Pungent, sharp, and slightly sweet, the greenish brown powder of this herb is an essential ingredient in Mexican and Indian cuisine.”

It has been used in herbal medicine: “In traditional herbal medicine, cumin is used as a diuretic and to treat stomach upset and flatulence. It is thought to promote a healthy digestive system. Cumin stimulates menstruation, and also can be added to gargles to treat laryngitis. Poultices of cumin are used to treat swellings of the breasts or testicles. In Ayurvedic medicine, cumin with ghee is smoked to relieve hiccups. According to the Bible, cumin was so valuable that it could be used in the place of money when it came time to tithe in church.”

Cumin is a good source of Iron, Manganese, and other vitamins and minerals. Some research shows that cumin can stimulate the production of pancreatic enzymes and help digestion.
Another study evaluated the antioxidant content of cumin and found it more effective than other common antioxidants including Vitamin C.  

Yet another study found Cumin effective in increasing insulin, thus beneficial for diabetics. Still more  research found ant-asthmatic properties in Cumin. since it works as a bronchodilator and can help asthmatic patients.

Mark’s Daily Apple posted a great article detailing the health benefits of Cumin, here some highlights:
  • In diabetic rats, cumin extract was more effective  at reducing blood glucose and AGE production than glibenclamide, an anti-diabetic drug.
  • Cumin’s anti-glycation properties proved useful in another study , in which diabetic rats were able to stave off cataracts after oral dosing with cumin powder.
  • Another study found that cumin extract reduced  total cholesterol, triglycerides, and pancreatic inflammatory markers in diabetic rats. It also prevented excessive weight loss. Again, it beat out glibenclamide.
  • Oral doses (25, 50, 100, 200 mg/kg) of cumin on consecutive days improved the immune response  of mice with compromised immune systems due to restraint-induced stress. These effects were marked by a reduction in elevated cortisol  and adrenal gland size, an increase in the weight of the thymus and spleen, and replenishment of depleted T cells. There was a dose dependent response, but all doses had beneficial effects.
  • An extract of cumin had anti-osteoporotic effects on rats, similar to estradiol, but without the associated weight gain. Cumin-dosed (orally, 1 mg/kg) osteoporotic rats had increased bone density and improved bone microarchitecture.
  • Cumin protected the livers of rats from ethanol- and rancid sunflower oil-induced toxicity.
  • One study even seems to suggest a role for cumin in weaning addicts off of opiates.

Uses for Cumin
Cumin can either be ground, roasted, added to foods whole or boiled in water to treat many common ailments. It is used alone or in combination with other herbs and or with rock salt or sugar to treat many illnesses. 

Cumin for the Teeth and Mouth

Roasted cumin seeds can be eaten freshen the breath. Chewing roasted cumin seeds can also heal soars in the mouth and reduce excess saliva.

Cumin for the Urinary System

Boiling a teaspoon of cumin in a glass of water to make a tea cures problems in the urinary tract, cleans the bladder and kidneys.

Cumin and fenugreek when combined together also help to keep the prostate healthy and reduce problems in the male and female reproductive organs and urinary systems.

Cumin for Fatigue and General Aches and Pains

A teaspoon of cumin boiled in water reduces pain in the body and acts as a natural sleep aid for those who have difficulty falling asleep.

Cumin for Women

Cumin tea is very useful for pregnant women during the last month of pregnancy as it helps to ready the uterus for labor and makes for an easier delivery. Also,
it increases the capacity of producing milk.

Cumin, fennel and fenugreek help to support the female system during menstruation and menopause.

Cumin for the Common Cold

Cumin tea can be drunk to reduce the symptoms of common cold and sore throat. Cumin helps to remove excess phlegm and is thus good taken during allergy season or at the onset of a cold. 

Cumin for the Digestive and Immune systems

Cumin helps to regulate bowel function and can help to stop diarrhea by eating it with a bit of sugar candy.

Cumin and fennel combined in equal parts and chewed or boiled as a tea help to promote digestion.

Combined with turmeric and peppercorn it becomes a very good digestive aid and immune booster. Cumin can be chewed after a meal to promote digestion and reduce stomachache.

A daily use of handful of cumin seeds, cures night blindness and decreases the level of temperature in the body.

A mixture of powdered coriander seeds, powdered cumin seeds and sugar, cures acidity and inflammation in the chest due to it.

Use of cumin seeds checks hiccups, eliminates colic in stomach, swelling of intestine due to indigestion.

Six grams of powdered cumin seeds mixed with old raw sugar and after making small pills of one gram each, if taken, it cures fever.

A baked mixture of cumin seeds, black pepper and rock salt (all in powdered form), dissolved in butter milk or whey, if taken after lunch, cures diarrhea, piles.

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