Updated: May 28
The whiff of cumin always makes me hungry – taste buds awakening. This action means cumin is stimulating digestion so my next meal will be enjoyed and digested without problems.
The main cumin health benefit is that it tastes great! Your stomach and all digestive juices are stimulated to break down, absorb and utilize the wonderful nutrients in cumin and the rest of the meal. A study in India found that 3 cups of cumin tea per day helped people to lose weight. Cumin contains compounds which help balance blood sugar. In addition - any food component that improves digestion can help weight stabilization whether you’re trying to reduce or increase weight.
In the Indian healing system of Ayurveda cumin is considered tridoshic which means it helps balance all different types of people. In my Food Therapy system cumin is beneficial for everyone. For digestion, autoimmune and thyroid health, regular use of cumin can help stimulate digestive juices to improve digestion which helps to heal food allergies. Food allergies are a major cause of autoimmune and thyroid problems.
To fully experience cumin – purchase the whole cumin seed and grind it in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, breathing in the fresh cuminaldehyde aroma. Add 1 teaspoon of ground cumin to a can of black beans, a bowl of rice, or simply chew on the cumin seeds after a meal to improve digestion.
The cumin name and plant originally came from Greece and was known as kuminon as early as 5000 BC. Cumin was set on the table like a condiment for flavor and digestive support. At the time, cumin was easily available while salt and pepper were rare and precious. Cumin quickly spread throughout the Mediterranean and was introduced to cinnamon in 2000 BC to make a great combination for marinades and stews. It wasn’t until the 1600’s, after Spanish invaded Mexico that cumin was introduced to the hot peppers of south America. Now cumin is a tradition in Mexican sauces like the enchilada sauce below.
Cumin is a member of the umbellifers plant family which also includes carrot, parsnip, celery, cilantro, dill, fennel and 3700 other species of plants. The name comes from the plant structure which looks like an umbrella with multiple stems coming out from a center. Black Cumin seed is a popular herbal remedy and from the buttercup plant family, not at all related to Cumin. Black cumin seed has anti-microbial and antioxidant properties while Cumin has digestive properties.
Mediterranean (Moroccan) marinade
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1.2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 whole lemon, juiced
¼ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Combine and use as a dressing or marinade for vegetables, potatoes, or chicken.
Cumin & ghee sauce
Sauté 1 tablespoon ghee and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and add to fresh cooked rice.
Basic enchilada sauce –
Fresh chili peppers and tomatoes (bell peppers, pablano, jalapeno, tomatoes and tomatillos) – roast in a hot oven or grill until the skins are charred and the peppers are soft. Drain and save excess water, remove the seeds – puree and add salt, cumin and enough water to make the consistency right. Sometimes the skins are removed and sometimes the charred smokiness of the skins is desirable.
For Cumin tea – combine 1 tablespoon cumin in 1 quart of water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to steep for at least an hour. Enjoy 1 cup per meal. It’s fine to add lemon or honey if you prefer.