Monday, May 21, 2018

Culinary spice of cumin

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) is a small annual and herbaceous plant belonging to the Apiaceae family. It is generally used as a food additive, popular spice, and flavoring agent in many cuisines.

The leaves are 5-10 cm long, pinnate or bipinnate, thread-like leaflets. The flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels. The fruit is a lateral fusiform or ovoid achene 4-5 mm long, containing a single seed.

Traditionally, cumin was a major component of curry and chili powder that was used to flavor a variety of commercial food products. Cumin has also been crushed and mixed with foods such as fish and meat, and the seeds sprinkled on bread and cakes.

The most important chemical component of cumin fruits is essential oil content, ranging from 2.5% to 4.5% which is pale to colorless depending on age and regional variations.

Cumin has been used as anti-inflammatory, diuretic, carminative, and antispasmodic, treatment of toothaches and epilepsy and also as an aid for treating dyspepsia, jaundice, diarrhea, flatulence, and indigestion. Cumin powder has been used as a poultice and suppository and has been smoked in a pipe and taken orally. Cumin has also been widely used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of diseases, including hypolipidemia, cancer, and diabetes.

The cumin seed is yellow to brownish-gray in color and is elongated in shape with nine protuberances that possesses numerous medicinal properties. The seeds of cumin are carminative, aromatic, stomachic, stimulant, astringent and cooling and synergistic in effect.

Cumin is found potential in various health food formulations showing improved digestibility and a good nutrient composition.
Culinary spice of cumin
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