Cumin is an herb that is found in Mexican, Spanish, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. The cumin seed comes from a small plant that is a member of the parsley family. The herb has historical uses dating back 5000 years, where it served in the mummification process. (1)
In the Middle Ages the cumin seed promoted love and fidelity and was carried at weddings. Traditionally, it has been used as a diuretic and to calm stomachs. Some cultures have used it to support female health and menstruation. (1)
Cumin stimulates pancreatic enzymes and improves digestion!
Cumin is a good source of iron, manganese and other vitamins and minerals. Research shows that this herb stimulates production of pancreatic enzymes and improves digestion. (1)
One study found that cumin is beneficial for diabetics and is effective in increasing insulin sensitivity.(1)
Cumin found to protect the mind and reduce stress response when taken 1 hour prior to a stressful event!
If you are facing an upcoming stressful event, it may be a good idea to eat foods seasoned with cumin. A 2011 study found that doses of 100, 200, and 300 mg/kg body weight 1 hour prior to a stressful event protected the mind and reduced the stress response. The study concluded that cumin is helpful for stress reduction and memory-enhancement and is a powerful antioxidant.(2)
Cumin has anti-cancer properties and protects against developing stomach and liver cancer!
Cumin is also believed to have anti-cancer properties due to its ability to neutralize free-radicals and enhance the liver’s detoxification enzymes.(3) In one study cumin was found to protect against development of stomach and liver tumors.(4)
If purchasing cumin, its better to buy the seeds and store them in the refrigerator in order to preserve the antioxidant content. One surprising study found that microwaving whole cumin seeds preserved the aromatic and antioxidant compounds better than oven roasting. (5)