Scientific Name: Cuminum cyminum
Biological Background: A seasoning that is the principal ingredient of curry powder, a blend of powdered Indian spices. Cumin is a member of the parsley family and cumin seeds resemble caraway seeds. The aromatic seed has a characteristic strong, slightly bitter taste. Traditionally cumin has been used to flavor cheese, unleavened bread, chili, and tomato sauce.
Nutritional Information: Due to its use as a spice, cumin provides insignificant amount of nutrients.
Pharmacological Activity: Studies have indicated that cumin has strong anticancer activity, which may be due to its phytochemical cuminaldehyde. Cuminaldehyde also has strong antiinflammatory properties. In addition, cumin contains two phytochemicals, cuminyl ester and limonene, which have been shown to stop aflatoxin from binding to DNA to start the cancer process.
Eating Tips: Use cumin to add an earthy flavor to Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican cuisines.