Food as Medicine: Close-Up on Cumin


??????????????????If “having a pedigree” is an important factor for you when you’re considering the nutritional or medicinal value of food, it’s difficult to find a food with a longer history than cumin. Cumin (also known as comino, cuminum cyminum, cuminum odorum, jeeraka, svetajiraka, and zira) is an herb whose medicinal qualities are mentioned in the Bible (both Old and New Testaments). Cumin was also part of the medical tradition in ancient Egypt, in India (cumin is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine), in the Muslim world, and in ancient Greece.

Although cumin is commonly used in the preparation of foods from each of these areas, it has also been promoted for its medicinal uses—to treat digestive problems, diarrhea, colic, bloating (cumin is a mild diuretic), to reduce inflammation, and even as an aphrodisiac. In terms of modern research, cumin has been found to have strong antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and…

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