Cumin, also known as 'jeera' in India, is a widely used ingredient in Indian cuisines. It is referred to as the dried seed of 'Cuminum cyminum' that belongs to the parsley family. Cumin seeds are derived from the plant of cumin, a herbaceous annual plant, that has slender branched stems about 30 cm tall. Cumin seeds are a popular form of spice that are known for their aroma and are used in Indian, Pakistani, Cuban Mexican cuisine, etc. Some of the major market players of cumin seeds are Iran, India, Syria, Pakistan and Turkey.
Scientifically known as 'Cuminum cyminum', cumin seeds are oblong in shape with deep furrows and are yellowish brown in colour. These seeds find similarity with anise and fennel seeds in terms of their appearance but are slightly darker in colour. Its flavour is peppery and penetrating, thus making it a widely used spice throughout India, Sri Lanka, Mexico and several other parts of the world. In fact, they resemble a lot like caraway seeds.
The two major types of cumin seeds found in the market are white cumin seeds and the black cumin seeds. The white cumin seeds are the most commonly found seeds that are used in cuisines. However, the black cumin seeds are smaller in shape than the white one and also have a sweet aroma.
Health Benefits of Cumin Seeds
Cumin seeds are a very good source of relieving digestive disorders. They are largely helpful in curing indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, etc. As the seeds of cumin are rich in antiseptic properties, they also help in reliving common cold. Research has also found the presence of anti-carcinogenic properties in cumin seeds that help in preventing stomach or liver tumors.
Cumin seeds are also a rich source of iron, a vital nutrient that helps in keeping the immune system healthy and strong. It is particularly beneficial for menstruating women who have a tendency to lose iron during the menstruating period.