Whole or powdered
Cumin; sometimes spelled cummin; Cuminum cyminum), also known as Jeera, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to India. Its seeds (each one contained within a fruit, which is dried) are used in the cuisines of many different cultures, in both whole and ground form. In addition, it is also used as a medicinal plant, serving as adigestant, as well as being used to treat anemia and the common cold.
The English "cumin" derives from the Old English, from Latin cuminum, which is the Latinisation of the Greek (kyminon),cognate with Hebrew (kammon) and Arabic (kammūn) The earliest attested form of the word in Greek is the Mycenaean ,ku-mi-no, written in Linear B syllabic script. Forms of this word are attested in several ancient Semitic languages, including kamūnuin Akkadian. The ultimate source is thought to be the Sumerian word gamun.
Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. The cumin plant grows to (12–20 in) tall and is harvested by hand. It is an annual herbaceous plant, with a slender, glabrous, branched stem which is (8–12 in) tall and has a diameter of (1 1⁄4–2 in) Each branch has two to three sub-branches. All the branches attain the same height, therefore the plant has a uniform canopy The stem is colored grey or dark green. The leaves are (2–4 in) long,pinnate or bipinnate, with thread-
like leaflets. The flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels. Each
umbel has five to seven umbellts. The fruit is a lateral fusiform orovoid
achene (1⁄6–1⁄5 in) long, containing two mericarps with a single seed.
Cumin seeds have eight ridges with oil canals. They resemble caraway seeds
, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in color, like
other members of the umbelliferae family such as caraway, parsley and dill.
Cumin has been in use since ancient times. Seeds excavated in India have been dated to the second millennium BC. They have
also been reported from several New Kingdom levels of ancient Egyptian archaeological site. In the ancient Egyptian civilization cumin was used as spice and as preservative in mummification.
Originally cultivated in Iran and the Mediterranean region, cumin is mentioned in the Bible in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The ancient Greeks kept cumin at the dining table in its own container (much as pepper is frequently kept today), and this practice continues in Morocco. Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine. In India, it has been used for millennia as a traditional ingredient of innumerable kormas, masalas, and soups, and forms the basis of many other spice blends.
Cumin was introduced to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese colonists. There are several different types of cumin but the most famous ones are black and green cumin, both of which are used in Persian cuisine.
Today, the plant is mostly grown in China, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Mexico, Chile and India. Since cumin is often used as part of birdseed and exported to many countries, the plant can occur as a rare casual in many territories including Britain. Cumin occurs as a rare casual in the British Isles, mainly in So. England; but the frequency of its occurrence has declined greatly. According to the Botanical Society of the British Isles' most recent Atlas, only one record has been confirmed since 2000.
Cumin seeds are used as a spice for their distinctive flavor and aroma. It is globally popular and an essential flavoring in many cuisines, particularly South Asian, Northern African and Latin American cuisines. Cumin can be found in some cheeses, such as Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France. It is commonly used in traditional Brazilian cuisine. Cumin can be an ingredient in chili powder (often Tex-Mex or Mexican-style), and is found in achiote blends, adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, and bahaarat. In Myanmar, cumin is known as ( zi yar ) and used as a spice. Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. It helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to food, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as spiced gravies such as chili. It is also used as an ingredient in some pickles and pastries.
In Sanskrit, Cumin is known as Jira. Jira means “that which helps digestion". In Ayurvedic system of medicine, dried Cumin seeds are used for medicinal purposes. The dried cumin seeds are powdered and used in different forms like kashaya(decoction), arishta (fermented decoction), vati(tablet/pills), and processed with ghee (a semi-fluid clarified butter). It is used internally and sometimes for external application also. It is known for its actions like enhancing appetite, taste perception, digestion, vision, strength, and lactation. It is used to treat diseases like fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal distension, edema and puerperal disorders.
A popular drink in southern India such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu is called jira water, made by boiling cumin seeds in water. It is believed that cumin is beneficial for heart disease, swellings, tastelessness, vomiting, poor digestion and chronic fever.
Ahmad Reza Gohari and Soodabeh Saeidnia have reviewed the phytochemistry of Cuminum cyminum seeds and its standards. They have reported many pharmacological effects such as anti-diabetic, immunologic, anti-epileptic, anti-tumour and antimicrobial activities. A study by researchers at Mysore University in India reports the potential anti-diabetic properties of cumin. Efraim Lev and Zohar Amar have reported several medicinal properties and health benefits of cumin seeds. According to the authors, cumin seeds and warm jeera water is believed to improve saliva secretion, provide relief in digestive disorders.
Aldehydes, Pinene, Alpha-terpineol. Flavanoids