Cumin has a robust flavor and an equally robust medicinal profile. Try a simple tea to get more cumin in your diet.
A native of India and the Mediterranean, cumin seed has a medicinal profile every bit as robust as its flavor. In fact, of the many healing spices available to us, cumin may be one of the most supportive. Here are just five of the many benefits of cooking with cumin.
- Cumin supports digestion. In India, cumin is known as jeera, meaning "that which helps digestion.” In Ayurveda, cumin is used to target indigestion, flatulence, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. It helps digest and flush toxins, while increasing nutrient absorption.
- Cumin supports weight loss. In a randomized clinical trial with 88 overweight/obese women, cumin was shown to significantly reduce weight, BMI, waist circumference, and fat mass.
- Cumin supports women. Cumin supports a healthy menstrual cycle and a healthy menopause. Regarding pregnancy, it is used as an antidote to morning sickness, and for nursing mothers cumin seed increases lactation.
- Cumin supports the heart. Research is showing that cumin powder reduces serum levels of fasting cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL and increases HDL. Studies with hypertensive rats found that cumin improved plasma and reduced the systolic blood pressure, also suggesting that cumin seeds augment endothelial functions and can ameliorate inflammatory and oxidative stress.
- Cumin supports the immune system. Cumin contains powerful antimicrobial compounds which can help reduce the growth of food-borne bacteria and certain kinds of infectious fungi. In fact, when tested on the candida yeast, cumin exhibited a considerable inhibitory effect.
Some people describe cumin as an exotic taste. Others say it is earthy. I think it adds a rich bass note to dishes. Sautéed in ghee, whole cumin seeds can be added to rice, lentils, roasted cauliflower, vegetable soups, and stews. Crushed and whisked into a dressing, just a small amount of cumin will add significant warmth to a salad. The simplest way to get the benefits of cumin is to add it to hot water and simply sip.
Ayurveda considers that cumin seed is pungent and bitter in taste, best for kapha and vata doshas, making it an excellent spice for autumn, winter and spring.
Sip cumin tea warm throughout the day to improve digestion, metabolism, and immune function. You may like to add a small coin of fresh ginger, half a coin of fresh turmeric, and several peppercorns to the boiling water for added fire power.
4 cups water
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Put the cumin seeds in a teapot. Cover with just boiled water. Allow to steep 5-10 minutes. Strain and pour into a thermos to sip warm thoughout the day.