13 Surprising Benefits of Cumin

The health benefits of cumin include its ability to aid in digestion, improve immunity and treat skin disorders, insomnia, respiratory disorders, asthma, bronchitis, anemia, skin disorders, boils, and cancer.

What is Cumin?

Cumin, scientifically known as Cuminum cyminum, belongs to the family Apiaceae. It is extensively used as a condiment or a spice in culinary practices of the Indian Subcontinent and some other Asian, African and Latin American countries. Cumin boasts a number of important nutrients that can help keep you healthy. Because of its strong aroma, only a small amount of cumin essential oil is used in recipes to provide these with a powerful punch. Cumin essential oil is also attributed to its bactericidal, carminative, digestive, diuretic and antiseptic properties for numerous other benefits.

Cumin Nutrition Facts

Cumin is a good source of energy, vitamin A, C, E & B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin, and minerals like iron, manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. It is also rich in protein and amino acids, carbohydrates, dietary fiber and a reasonable amount of fats & fatty acids. Consuming about one teaspoon of cumin daily can help you meet your daily nutrient requirements.

Health Benefits of Cumin

Cumin is known for the benefits it offers, more than its taste or flavor, as it helps in losing weight, improving digestion and immunity, and treating skin disorders, boils, piles, insomnia and respiratory disorders. Let us understand each benefit in detail.

Regulates Digestion

Cumin is extremely good for digestive problems. The very aroma, which comes from an organic compound called Cuminaldehyde, the main component of its essential oil, activates the salivary glands in our mouth, which facilitates the primary digestion of food. Next is thymol, a compound present in cumin, which stimulates the glands that secrete acids, bile, and enzymes responsible for complete digestion of the food in stomach and intestines. Cumin is also carminative, which means that it relieves you from gas troubles, and thereby, improves digestion and appetite. Due to its essential oils, magnesium, and sodium content, cumin promotes digestion and also gives relief from stomach-aches when taken with hot water.

Cures Piles

The main cause behind piles (hemorrhoids) is constipation added with infections in the wound in the anal tract, which is also caused by constipation. Cumin because of its dietary fiber content, and carminative, stimulating, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, acts as a natural laxative in powdered form. These characteristics are due to the presence of essential oils comprised mainly of cuminaldehyde and certain pyrazines. Adding cumin to your diet also helps in healing up of infections in the digestive and excretory system and speeds up digestion as well. It is important to note that it is capable to clear up all of the symptoms and causes of hemorrhoids.

Prevents Diabetes

Although research is still ongoing, early studies report that cumin, among a number of other spices, can have a powerful effect in preventing diabetes by reducing the chances of hypoglycemia. The animals that were tested showed a sharp decline in hypoglycemia when fed cumin seeds in their diet. They also showed a decrease in glucosuria, which is a condition where the urine contains too much glucose, also resulting in hypoglycemia and diabetes. Human testing is ongoing, but early reports show that cumin can be a very powerful tool in the battle against diabetes.

Treats Insomnia

This is a very peculiar property of cumin. It is a stimulant as well as a relaxant at the same time. This property cannot be attributed to a single component alone, just as causes of insomnia cannot be attributed to a single cause. However, studies show that the proper intake of vitamins (particularly B-complex) and good digestion help to induce a sound sleep. Some of the components of cumin essential oil are hypnotic in nature and have tranquilizing effects, which also help to relieve stress and anxiety that commonly cause insomnia.

Treats Asthma & Bronchitis

The presence of caffeine (the stimulating agent), and the richly aromatic essential oils (the disinfectants) make cumin an ideal anti-congestive combination for those suffering from respiratory disorders such as asthma and bronchitis. It acts as an expectorant, meaning that it loosens up the accumulated phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tracts, and makes it easier to eliminate those from the system via sneezing or coughing up and spitting. By eliminating as much of the mucus and phlegm as possible, it can inhibit the formation of additional material and help to heal the initial condition that led to its formation in the first place.

Fights Common Cold

The common cold is a viral infection which affects our body frequently when our immune system becomes weakened. Again, the essential oils present in cumin act as disinfectants and help fight viral infections which can cause the common cold. Cumin also suppresses the development of coughing in the respiratory system since it dries up the excess mucus. Cumin is rich in iron and has a considerable amount of vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system and keeps infections from forming or becoming worse.

Increases Lactation

Cumin is rich in iron and thus very good for lactating mothers or pregnant women, as well as for women who are undergoing menses. Moreover, cumin is said to help ease and increase secretion of milk in lactating women due to the presence of thymol, which tends to increase the secretions from our glands, including milk, which is a secretion from the mammary glands. Also, cumin is more beneficial if taken with honey. Cumin has a remarkable amount of calcium (more than 900 mg per 100 grams) which accounts for over 90% of our daily requirement of calcium. This calcium is an important constituent of milk and hence cumin is very good for lactating mothers.

Prevents Anemia

As stated above, cumin is very rich in iron (more than 66 mg. in every 100 grams) which is more than 5 times the daily requirement of iron for an adult. This iron is the main constituent of hemoglobin in the red blood corpuscles. It is hemoglobin which transfers oxygen (as the oxide of iron) to the body cells and whose deficiency causes anemia. So, cumin can be a nutritious additive to the daily diet of anemic people. It can help reduce the symptoms of anemia like fatigue, anxiety, cognitive malfunction, and digestive issues.

Decreases Cognitive Disorders

The amount of iron in cumin leads to an increased hemoglobin production and subsequent prevention of anemia, but the increased blood flow has other benefits as well. When your blood circulation is at its best, adequate amounts of oxygen are able to reach the organs and the brain, leading to an optimal performance of those bodily systems. The Proper amount of oxygen and iron in the brain lead to increased cognitive performance and a decrease in cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.cuminbenefits1

Skin Care

Almost everyone knows that vitamin-E is good for the maintenance of skin and the prevention of premature aging symptoms. It keeps the skin young and glowing. This vitamin is also present in abundance in cumin. The essential oils present in cumin have disinfectant and antifungal properties. This prevents any microbial and fungal infection from affecting the skin. Not all skin issues are disorders or infections, some of them are simply signs of aging. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in this regard and combats the free radicals that attack the skin and result in signs of premature aging like wrinkles, age spots, and sagging skin. This, combined with the antibacterial capacity of cumin, makes for healthy, beautiful skin that lasts far into your old age.

Treats Boils

Boils are outlets for the removal of toxic substances and foreign matters such as microbes from the body. This means that they are the symptoms which show that a high amount of toxic substances have accumulated in the body. Those who regularly use cumin in food have a significant reduction in the occurrence of boils, rashes, pimples, and other signs of excess toxin content. Components such as cuminaldehyde, thymol, and phosphorus are good detoxifying agents which help in the regular removal of toxins from the body. The healthy way of removing toxins is through the excretory system, not through boils.

Boosts Immunity

As discussed above, an abundance of iron, the presence of essential oils, vitamin C, and vitamin A in cumin boosts our immune system in a number of ways. Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants that we have in our body, and it stimulates the function and activity of white blood cells. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights the detrimental effects of free radicals, which are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism. They are constantly being created in the body, and therefore, must be eliminated. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals that lead to many diseases, including, but not limited to, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Prevents Cancer

Cumin itself has detoxifying and chemo-preventive properties, and accelerates the secretion of detoxifying and anti-carcinogenic enzymes from the glands, as it also does to other secretions. Furthermore, it has beneficial antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A within its chemical makeup, in addition to those essential oils. Besides having countless other benefits, the antioxidants have anti-carcinogenic properties too, and those found in cumin are particularly good for colon cancer prevention.

Other Benefits

What more? Cumin is also beneficial in treating renal colic, weak memory, insect bites, and painful stings. With all of these benefits, how could you say no to cumin? Add some cumin to your diet as soon as you can.

Uses of Cumin

For its distinctive flavor and fragrance, cumin, as seeds, ground cumin, and cumin oil, is used in various ways;

  • Culinary Uses – Cumin is traditionally used as a spice in Indian cooking, either as whole seeds or in powdered form. It is a major component in a curry’s preparation and other food products.
  • Cumin Essential Oil – Derived from cumin seeds, this oil is used as a scent in cosmetics including creams, perfumes, and lotions.
  • Flavorful Substance – It is used to add flavor to alcoholic beverages and desserts.
  • Medicinal Uses – Cumin seeds are used to make medicines that help in treating problems like diarrhea, colic, inflammation, bowel and muscle spasms and gas.
  • Aphrodisiac – When ground cumin is mixed with honey and pepper, it works as an aphrodisiac. This concoction is widely popular amongst Arabs.
What do you think? |
79 comments in this article's discussion
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I saw - somewhere - a "recipe" for using the cumin seeds: "Put about a teaspoon of the seeds in a cup of water, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, bring the seeds/water to a boil, then remove from heat. Allow to cool, then strain the seeds out and drink the water." I tried that this morning. My question is....can I re-use the seeds? Or will all of the curative substances be "gone", after the boiling procedure? I really don't want to waste the seeds unnecessarily. Thanks!!

Seraphym O Ydowu

This is very informative. I'm new and still learning. Tanx!

Meenakshi Nagdeve

Thanks much for your kind words.- Team Organic Facts

You can make a tahini salad.
Tahini - cayenne pepper - cumin - some apple vinegar, optionally garlic .A middle eastern plate very healthy and delicious!!!

I am from tbe southern state of Kerala where we always boil water with a spoonful for cumin seeds. And we use it in a lot of our cooking.

Valerie Oswald

I have read that Cumin also can lower tryglycerides. I am just concerned that it has caffeine and will make me jittery. Can anyone give me more info on how much to take. Will 1tsp in my fruit shake keep me wired for the day? I can't take it if it does. Thank you

See above. It does not have a lot of caffiene. I grew up drinking that.
Gave it up but seems like I should start doing it again. My parents back home still do it.

Valerie Oswald

Thank you for the reply someone had said they have trouble sleeping at night when they take it late in the day. Also I only put in 1/2 tsp in my shake and it has a very powerful flavor. I used the oil. It seems that I have very sensitive taste buds since I have the fibro. I can take a quarter of what anyone else would and everything tastes stronger. thanks again for the comment

Does anyone experience problems with insomnia when taking cumin?

I don't care about any of that- it smells good and gets that weird chicken smell out of chicken and makes it smell delicious.

Encrusting chicken in cumin and curry also keeps the moisture in and allows the skin to stay moist. Do you soak the chicken in water with a little cider vinegar beforehand to clean it? Chicken is VERY dirty and must be thoroughly cleaned. Weird smell means the bird is infected or about to go bad. Not good.

lost 14 pounds in a month just drinking cumin with fruit shakes ,thinking was cinamon

Valerie Oswald

How much did you use and in what form? don't you find the taste overpowering?

Am learning here very informative.thanks!

Cumin is generally toasted/roasted gently before adding in a recipe. In order to keep its fragrance and flavor intact, it is generally ground just before preparing dishes.

The seeds can be stored in cool, dry, dark place, in airtight containers for many months and can be milled using hand-mill as and when required. Ground and powdered cumin should be stored in the refrigerator in air-sealed containers and should be used as early as possible since it loses its flavor quickly.

I recently had an odd experience with cumin.

I read about its benefits for weight loss and decided to give it a try. I have severe inattentive ADD and have an appointment next coming up with my doctor in which I was prepared to beg for ADD medication because my life is a mess.

But after adding cumin to my tea I noticed a surge in cognitive function. At first I thought it might be a freak coincidence, an anomaly, but after experimenting with taking cumin and not taking cumin, I can definitely say cumin has had a major positive effect on my cognitive functioning.

I've tried every herbal cure for ADD and nothing has helped -- that's why I was going to go to my doctor and beg for meds! But now apparently I can just take cumin!

It's mindblowing to me how simple and effective it is! I am shocked!

Has anyone had a similar experience?

Bought a bottle of ground cumin yesterday and kept coming back to the kitchen to take a whiff of the stuff.

I noticed my focus and attention improve. I searched for it's benefits and came across this post.
I know I'm replying to an old post but this is just awesome stuff!

Grimes Ryan Laura

Do you use it ground?...What way is it when you buy it....looks very interesting..have it on my burger right now 🙂

Yes, I usually use it ground, and in a tea -- but I do sprinkle it on a lot of my food.

I currently take cumin for eye and brain health at 1/4 teaspoon daily. But just with cold water. Maybe the hot water 'activates' it better?

I hadn't thought about it, but I think you're right -- warmth probably helps activate it.

Granite, how much do you take per day in tea? Half/quarter teaspoon? I've had good results with tumeric for reading vision problems. Did something similar to you. i.e. took it, stop taking it etc to see if it was the turmeric.

I use at least a teaspoon -- but, I have a huge teacup that holds 20 ounces.

So you take a teaspoon per day approximately? I have it with curries at least once a week, but I don't think the amount would be anything like a teaspoon per serve.

I figure plenty of people around the world eat that much on a daily basis anyway.

Ok, thanks. I'll give it a go for a while to see how it goes. Cheers.

Cheers! Good luck and good health to you!

Thanks, all the best to you too!

I did, somewhat. I have bad ADD and impairment in several cognitive functions. I took cumin last night to help my digestion and to my surprise I noticed a boost in my focus and concentration. It definitely had a stimulating effect to it. Unfortunately, it contains caffeine, so I don't think I could use it all the time. Even small amounts of caffeine trigger my anxiety, so I avoid it as much as possible.

I may take a little bit in the morning though, but I'm going to buy an organic brand which I imagine will work even stronger than the store bought brand I got.

Rusty Brown in Canada

I'm curious why "organic" would be stronger. It really just means "pesticide free" as I understand it. There was a test done a few years ago that proved that "organic" is not more nutritious than "regular" produce in most cases.

If i was to take cumin each day in what form do I take it and how much?

they have capsules you can take (swanson brand) or you can buy cumin powder in bulk & sprinkle it on food & into beverages.
it's really nice. i have ibs & it's the only thing that's helped so far.

I am learning here. This is interesting.

I am on chemo for colon cancer can I take this and not have it conflict with my chemo? There are many herbs I can't have

Meenakshi Nagdeve

Hello Patricia, Please consult your doctor.

Hello Mee

Hello Patricia. Patricia, Meenakshi is a dumbass. Chemo is the Last thing I would be trying ........ The ol' Doc tell you the survivorship ad quality of life sceario on Chemo? Oh yes, you are on it, find Alternative Medicine now.

It's a teaspoon a day for weight lose. I heard it on the John Tess show.

You lose weight really fast on cumin because cumin speeds up your metabolism. Not too much though.

Awesome Information, Thank You!!!

Plz, where can I get Cumin and beetroot to buy in Lagos.


Can cumin powder be put into vegetable capsules & taken orally? I like the taste in foods but can't see myself eating it multiple times a day (I don't care much for the seeds). I'd much rather make it into a pill that can be taken along w/my meds & supplements.

nancy: they sell the capsules. swanson is one brand. you can also get the powder in health food stores. i buy it in bulk & add it to anything including the green tea i drink all day long. it's cheap & easy that way. the taste is not that strong.

How much do you use per cup of tea per day! I usually have 3 to 4 cups per day along with a cup of coffee?

Oh wow, this was so long ago. Think I abandoned the powder and just took the caps. Easier. I loved the energy boost, But as it turned out, it drastically lowered my blood pressure (dizziness, vomiting, ugh), so had to stop. This is a possible side effect. My husband still takes the capsules (whole spectrum black seed) and he's fine. Go figure.

Meenakshi Nagdeve

Hello Nancy, Adding cumin powder to your food gives it a good taste and flavor. Regarding adding cumin powder to capsules, please consult your health specialist

How much ground cumin should I use daily for weight loss and digestive problems. Is it save to use a teaspoonful a day in yogurt?

Meenakshi Nagdeve

Hello Suzette, Cumin powder can be added to your daily food. You can add it to yogurt but do not use too much for small quantities of yogurt

How and where can l get cumin?

Kroger and Walmart sells it. Almost every super market

Cumin is sold in indian stores in 400gram bags. Its one of the main staples in my spice cabinet! I use it for cooking as well as boiling in water for digestion/colds etc.

Meenakshi Nagdeve

Please check with your local market or you can buy it online
Team Organic Facts

just dissolve the seeds in your mouth and ground it with your teeth. It is a miracle.

how many seeds do you use in your mouth and how often?

Love this , thank you for sharing the benefits of holistic medicine

I just made an organic red lentil with vegies, cumin, tumeric, cayenne and Himalayan sea salt.
So so delicious!!!!

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