Origin: Cumin has been in use since ancient times. These seeds date back to the second millennium B.C.E. Studies show that these seeds were an integral part of ancient Egyptian archaeological sites (Zohary and Hopf 2000).
These seeds are originally cultivated in Iran and the Mediterranean region. Cumin is also mentioned in the Bible in both the Old Testament (Isaiah 28:27) and the New Testament (Matthew 23:23). It was also very famous in ancient Greece and Rome. The Greeks used to keep cumin at the dining table in its own container like a pepper container and this practice continues in Morocco till date. Cumin was introduced to the Americans by Spanish colonists.
Cumin seeds are mostly grown in Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, India, Syria, Mexico, and Chile.
Scientifically: Cumin is a seed with a sweet- warm fragrance and a slightly bitter taste. These seeds are very flavorful and are a significant part of any kitchen. It is a small, herbaceous annual plant. It is scientifically called Cuminum cyminum. It belongs to the parsley family (Apiaceae), which are characterized by pinnate or bipinnate leaves, which are thread-like leaflets. It has small white or pink flowers and seed-like fruit.
These seeds have a strong, pungent flavor and odor, whether in seed or ground form. It is a staple in many cuisines. It is quite popular in Middle Eastern, Indian, Cuban, and Mexican cuisines. It is used in curry and chili powders. The cumin essential oil is used in perfumes and flavoring liqueurs, and there also are various medicinal values attached to cumin.
Cultivation of cumin requires a long, hot summer of three to four months, with daytime temperatures around 30°C (86°F). These seeds are drought-tolerant and mostly grow in Mediterranean climates. It needs fertile, well-drained soil to grow.
Usage: Cumin is well known as an ingredient of curry powder. Cumin can also be found in some Dutch cheeses like Leyden cheese, and in some traditional bread of France. It is also commonly used in traditional Brazilian cuisine. Apart from culinary benefits, cumin has a plethora of medicinal benefits. It aids in digestive problems and promotes weight loss. Cumin seeds are a great source of different vitamins and minerals, especially iron. It also helps in balancing the blood sugar level. Adding cumin to your diet helps in promoting good cholesterol in the body.
Having cumin water, first thing in the morning helps in reducing weight and fat. It also has great benefits for skin and hair.
Below are some DIY with Cumin seeds:
- Take a teaspoon of ground cumin seeds, add a pinch of turmeric to it and half a teaspoon of honey. Mix well and apply on the face for 5-10 minutes. This helps in lightening and tightening of the face.
- Take 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds and boil them in a liter of water. Once boiled, let it chill. Apply this cumin water on any kind of skin irritation. This helps in soothing the skin.
- Take half a teaspoon of ground cumin seeds and mix some yogurt with it. Apply this mixture on the face for 5-10 minutes. This pack helps to reduce the appearance of acne and helps in fading acne scars.
- Take equal quantities of cumin oil and olive oil. Mix and warm them together. Apply this oil mixture on the hair roots and let it sit for 40 minutes. This helps in treating hair fall problem.
- Take some cumin water and use it as a hair rinse. Keep it on for 5 minutes and then rinse it.