Cumin: A spice or a drug?

Author : Anshul Bansal, Vaibhav Bansal, Rajeshwar Singh

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum), an aromatic plant is originally from the mediterranean region. It is a popular spice, for which the whole or ground dried ripe fruit, commonly called seed used. It is a major ingredient in both chili powder and curry, and is added to meat sauces, rice, bread, pickles, soups and other foods. Roman caraway is another common name for this member of the parsley family (Apiaceae). The only species in its genus, cumin exhibits a variety of plant types depending on the seed source. A small annual herb about 1-2 ft (0.3-0.6 m) tall, cumin grows upright as a single slender stem with many branches. Cumin seeds are rich sources of essential oils and have been actively researched for their chemical composition and biological activities. The strong, pungent green-spicy odor and flavor of cumin is attributable largely to cuminaldehyde, the main constituent of the essential oil, and other aldehydes. The prominent medicinal properties of cumin include anti-oxidant, antimicrobial, anti-carcinogenic/anti-mutagenic, anti-diabetic, immunomodulatory, anti-epileptic, estrogenic/anti-osteoporotic, anti-tussive, anti-aggregatory. So in the above light, we have made an attempt to compile up all the facts about cumin.

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