Cuminum cyminum Linn

Family ► Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat ► Native to the Mediterranean region; now cultivated in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

Ayurvedic ► Shveta-jiraka, Ajaaji, Shukla-ajaaji. The three jirakas mentioned in the Ayurvedic texts are: Jiraka, Krishna Jiraka (Carum bulbocastanum W. Koch.) and Kaaravi (Carum carvi Linn.).

Unani ► Safed Jeeraa, Kamun.

Siddha/Tamil ► Cheerakam.

Action ► Carminative, antispasmodic (used in dyspepsia and diarrhoea), stimulant, diuretic, antibacterial, emmenagogue, galactagogue.

Cumin seeds contain up to 14.5%

lipids. They are reported to contain 14

flavonoid glycosides; 7 belong to api-genin, 5 to luteolin and 2 to chrysoeri-ol group. Major constituents of the essential oil include cuminaldehyde (2040% of the oil) and p-cymene.

EtOH (50%) extract of the fruit exhibits spasmolytic and hypotensive activity.

Cumin is considered superior is comforting carminative qualities to Fennel or Caraway. Due to its disagreeable flavour it has been replaced by Caraway in European herbal medicine.

Cumin oil and cuminaldehyde have been reported to exhibit strong larvi-cidal and antibacterial activity.

Fine grinding of the seed can cause loss of 50% of volatile oil, most within one hour. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)

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