Saturday, June 02, 2018 by Rhonda Johansson
What the humble cumin lacks in appearance it more than makes up for it in its princely health benefits. The spice is one of the more popular natural remedies in Ayurvedic medicine and is used quite often in many Indian, Asian and Mexican cuisines. The taste of the condiment is quite strong — chefs recommend only using a small amount to flavor any dish. Yet its popularity is not really due to its culinary use but in its ability to flood the body with important phytochemicals that keep our bodies strong.
Do you know that cumin contains 18 amino acids? These are organic compounds that act as the “building blocks” of protein which is crucial to our survival. Most food contain only a few amino acids, but cumin contains an abundance of them. Of these, eight are considered essential, which means that they cannot be produced by the body and must be supplied by our diets.
Ayurvedic healers hail cumin as a kingly spice. They believe that its “hot” properties help stimulate otherwise malfunctioning systems. This is why it is typically prescribed for conditions, such as dyspepsia and flatulence, that are seen to be caused by “wet” factors.
Modern science has written several journal articles on the spice’s bactericidal, carminative, diuretic, and antiseptic properties. These benefits researchers attribute to cumin being a rich source of vitamins A, C, and E, riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin. Cumin also contains a good amount of protein and dietary fiber as well as minerals like iron, copper, phosphorus, and potassium.
There are so many therapeutic uses of cumin. Let’s briefly discuss a few of them.
Cumin can be used both as a powder or as the whole seed. It has an aromatic, nutty flavor and is typically used in curries. You can also use the spice for your favorite Tex-Mex dishes. They work well in combination with other spices such as cinnamon and coriander.
If you’re planning on growing your own, take note that cumin requires a long, hot summer of about three to four months with an average temperature of around 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
Sow the seeds in rows two feet apart in well-drained soil four weeks prior to the last spring frost. Transplant these outdoors when temperatures begin to exceed 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Harvest cumin seeds by hand when they begin to bloom small white or pink flowers. Seeds are harvested when they brown (around 120 days) then are dried and ground.