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Cumin or Jeera seeds are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma, and are popular in Indian, Cuban, Middle Eastern, Western Chinese, and Mexican cuisine. Cumin (sometimes spelled cummin) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to East India. It is known by different names in different parts of India. In Northern India cumin is known as jeera, while in Pakistan they call it zeera  and in southern India they call it Jeerige or jeeragam or jilakarra. In India, cumin is cultivated in almost all the states, but leading states are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Currently India is a major exporter along will countries such as Sri Lanka, Syria, Pakistan and Turkey.

Cumin seeds have an aromatic odour and a spicy and somewhat bitter taste. These are mostly used as condiment and are also an essential ingredient in all types of mixed spices and curry powders. Sometimes  cumin is used for seasoning as it adds natural sweetness to the preparation. Cumin seeds are often ground up before being added to dishes. At times the seeds are also toasted by heating in a frying pan to help release their essential oils and aroma.


Contarary to the belief that spices are bad for health, there are certain benefits of consumption of cumin. Some of the benefits are:

Cumin is extremely good for digestion and related problems.
Cumin is a highly beneficial for prevention of piles which are caused by constipation. Cumin consists of dietary fibre along with anti fungal and anti microbial properties which helps to prevent constipation.
The presence of the rich aromatic essential oils and caffeine (the stimulating agent) makes cumin an ideal anti congestive combination for those suffering from respiratory disorders such as Asthma, Bronchitis etc.
Cumin to a certain extent helps cure insomnia. Studies have shown that proper intake of vitamins and good digestion encourages sound sleep. The essential oil in the cumin has the properties which have sedative effects and encourages sleeping.
It is also helpful to pregnant women or lactating mothers as well as women who are undergoing menses as they need more iron than other women. Research has found that cumin very rich in iron and also contains high amount of calcium.
Cumin can also prevent amenia. Since cumin is very rich in iron, it plays an important role in the constituent of haemoglobin in the red blood corpuscles of blood whose work is to transfer oxygen (as oxide of iron) to the body-cells. It is the deficiency of the haemoglobin that causes amenia.
Cumin is a good source of vitamin E that is an essential nutrition to keep the skin young and radiant. The essential oils in cumin act as disinfectants and have anti fungal properties. This prevents any microbial and fungal infection from affecting the skin.
As discussed above, abundance of iron, presence of essential oils and vitamin-C & vitamin-A in cumin improves ones immune system.

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