Cumin Out On Top Of
Your Medicine Chest

Do Your Health a Flavor

For millennia, India has been currying flavor – with cumin seed. Seeds excavated in India have been dated to the second millennium BC.  The ancient Egyptians used it for both spicing their food as well as preserving their “mummies” - the non-maternal types!

Alternate Names

Botanical name: Cuminum Cyminum

English: Cumin

Sanskrit: Jeeraka

Hindi: Jeera


The medicinal qualities of cumin find mention even in the Bible. Cumin is an excellent source of iron, has anti-carcinogenic properties, and is a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and vitamin B1. It has not just culinary, but also therapeutic as well as cosmetic properties. It facilitates digestion, aids in diarrhea, and prevents nausea (including nausea during pregnancy). As it has a cooling effect, it should ideally be used in large quantities during our country’s taxing summers.

Practical Applications

  • Flatulence: Powder ginger, black pepper and cumin in equal quantities and boil in water. Add milk. Drink twice daily.
  • Skin eruptions due to heat: Prepare coconut milk and add powdered cumin. Apply this paste on the eruptions.
  • Insomnia: Mash a banana and add 1 spoon of powdered cumin seeds. Consume this at night and get your quota of beauty-sleep.
  • Constipation: Powder cumin seeds, pepper, ginger. Add a handful of curry leaves and some salt. Have this daily, mixed with cooked rice and some ghee.
  • Excess heat and nausea due to acidity: Grind equal quantities of black pepper, ginger, cumin seeds and pomegranate skin. Add some ghee to this mixture and consume every day with cooked rice.
  • Burning sensation on passing urine: Consume cumin seeds with jaggery.
  • Good complexion: Wash face with a decoction of cumin seeds. Fades any scar marks quickly.
  • Indigestion: A powder of black pepper and cumin, combined with buttermilk can be had three times a day.

This piece was written by Dr. Nisha Manikanthan, Senior Ayurveda Consultant of the Art of Living.