Cumin is a seed-derived spice with a nutty-peppery flavor that packs a punch from the moment its aroma seeps into your senses. It immediately activates the salivary glands which kicks-off the digestive process. Cumin, also known as jeera in Ayurvedic medicine, is native to the eastern Mediterranean area and used in cuisine from many parts of the world, including Tex-Mex, Eastern, and Indian. Cumin seeds have been used in folk medicine since antiquity to promote digestion and treat flatulence, diarrhea, indigestion, bloating and gas.
Medicinally, cumin is recognized as a carminative, which means that it soothes digestive irritation, such as gas, and thereby improves digestion. It is widely used by many natural medicine doctors as a tool to help patients holistically heal from their symptoms. Due to its essential oils, magnesium and sodium content, cumin can also provide relief for stomach ache and irritable bowels. Current research shows that cumin’s beneficial effects may be due to the spice’s ability to stimulate secretion of pancreatic enzymes, which are necessary for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients from food. Adding to its nutritional potency,cumin also contains flavonoids and antioxidants, which are beneficial to overall health.
It’s best to cook with whole cumin seeds that you grind with a mortar and pestle. Packaged cumin powder is more convenient but it loses its flavor faster than whole seeds. Whole seeds will stay fresh for a year, when stored in a cool and dark place, while powder should be used within six months. For enhanced flavor, roast cumin seeds before using them.
Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to improve your nutrition and gastrointestinal health. In her practice, she uses herbal and food based supplements such as cumin to help patients address the root cause of their medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).
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“Curcumin v. Cumin: Not the Same” Accessed on October 4, 2016: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/curcumin-vs-cumin-10292.html
WorldsHealthiestFoods.com: Cumin. Accessed on October 4, 2016: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=91
Agah, Shahram et al. “Cumin Extract for Symptom Control in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Case Series.” Middle East Journal of Digestive Diseases 5.4 (2013): 217-222.