Cumin (Jeera): A Spice With Many Health Benefits
Cumin is believed to be the second most popular spice in the world, the first being pepper. It is used in culinary for its unique flavour and aroma. But it is a little known fact that it has more concentration of anti-oxidants than any other vegetable or fruit source. The strong aroma is due to the essential oil content. Its main constituent and important oil compound is cuminaldehyde. Cumin is an important ingredient in chillies, curries, and many other ethnic dishes from all around the world. It is also highly valued as a medicinal herb. For thousands of years, herbal practitioners have used cumin both as whole dried seeds and in its powdered form to treat number of ailments.
THIS POPULAR SPICE HAS MANY OTHER HEALTH REMEDIES
■ It is a great herb for digestive disorders. These seeds help stimulate the secretion of enzymes from the pancreas which help absorb nutrients from the system. It can also boost the power of liver’s ability to detoxify the human body.
■ Studies reveal that cumin seeds have anti-carcinogenic properties. They were shown to reduce the risk of stomach and liver tumours. Cumin is also said to relieve the symptoms of common cold due to its anti-septic properties.
■ If you do not have specific nutrients to cure an ailment, cumin is said to increase the heat in the body thus making metabolism more efficient. Cumin boosts the metabolic rate and facilitates the absorption of nutrients throughout the body. Many herbal practitioners consider cumin to be one of nature’s best overall body tonics.
■ In winters it is good to drink boiled water with little cumin seeds. It will keep the body warm and help in the easy digestion of the heavy food that we tend to take in winters.
■ For help in digestion of food and reduction in the flatulence and heaviness in stomach, take 50g of jeera, roast it and make a powder. Add 100g of misri powder to the roasted jeera powder and mix well and store it in a bottle. Take one teaspoonful of the mixture, ½ an hour after meals. It also helps in increasing the memory power and overall mental function and can speed up recovery from amnesia.
■ Add one spoon of jeera powder to a glass of water and bring it to boil, add one crushed cardamom to the boiled jeera water, and now filter the solution and gargle lukewarm to get relief from mouth ulcers.
■ Cumin is exceptionally rich in iron, increased iron makes the blood richer in haemoglobin, the substance that transports oxygen to all the cells of the body and also makes it a great natural supplement for blood health and an antidote for anaemia.
■ Cumin supports healthy prenatal development in pregnant women. It is also believed to make childbirth easier and improves the milk supply of nursing mothers. Because it is so rich in iron, cumin is also a healthy herb for women of all ages during their menstrual cycle.
■ Cumin seeds are highly effective for the treatment of insomnia. In traditional medicine, cumin seeds combined with banana are taken at bedtime to induce peaceful sleep.
■ Cumin seeds added to caraway seeds and black salt (kala namak) provide an effective treatment to renal colic.
■ Vitamin E, believed to be a vital component for skincare, is abundantly present in cumin. The essential oils present in cumin have anti-fungal and disinfecting properties which prevent fungal and microbial infections from harming the skin.
■ Cumin is just one of the wide varieties of herb and spices that prove to have potent medical uses. Adding cumin and other spices such as turmeric, black pepper, garlic, cinnamon and other spices to your diet may heal and prevent many health hazards while improving your overall health.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna