Probably the most surprising use of Cumin is as an aphrodisiac! Arabic traditions hold that a paste of cumin, honey and pepper can fortify love. During the Middle Ages cumin was a symbol of love and fidelity and Roman wives packed their soldier husbands off to war with loaves of cumin bread!
In modern times cumin is touted as the spice equivalent of Viagra, helping with both impotence and frigidity.
Other medicinal uses of cumin are:
- Common Cold
In ancient Egypt cumin was used in the mummification process. During the Middle Ages as stated it was used as an aphrodisiac. More importantly, during the Middle Ages cumin was used in place of pepper which was much more expensive.
Students being students no matter what century it is would use cumin to make their complexions pale so that they could convince their teachers that they had spent the night studying!
Cold and Flu
Cumin is excellent for fighting off a cold. It contains essential oils which act as disinfectants and help fight off the viral infections which cause colds. Cumin also dries up mucous and contains vitamin C. Preventing coughs and building up the immune system at the same time.
Cumin is an effective expectorant loosening phlegm and allowing it to be removed from the body via sneezing and coughing. It also prevents the build up of the new material.
Anti-Aging and the Skin
Cumin contains both vitamin C and vitamin E both of which are excellent antioxidants helping to fight off free radical cell damage. Cumin also is antibacterial and antifungal which allows it to fend off skin infection.
Cumin has a long tradition in Indian and Mexican cooking as well as Chinese cooking. Cumin adds a special flavour to foods but it also helps to digest these foods.
As a carminative, cumin helps with gas and bloating not allowing it to be a problem. Chemical compounds in cumin also start up the digestive process causing increased saliva, bile and enzymes which assist with proper digestion.
Its anti-spasmodic actions allow cumin to be useful against stomach cramps. It can be taken in hot water to prevent cramping and stomach upset.
One action of cumin that can be an issue to pregnant women is that it does have a stimulating effect. While this is great for building up the immune system it is not great in pregnancy.
Cumin stimulates menstrual flow so for those women attempting to get pregnant, avoiding cumin during the process would be best. For women that are already pregnant cumin is contra-indicated so avoid it during your pregnancy.
I have always loved the flavour of cumin and use it quite freely in making up my curries. Recently though I have discovered that adding cumin to a rub prior to barbecuing adds a depth of flavour that truly lends itself to this manner of cooking.
Enjoy using cumin in your cooking and let it spice up other areas of your life as well!
A Huge thanks and a Happy Successful New Year to Canstock Photos for all the wonderful images