Cumin Seeds – 12 Medicinal Uses Confirmed by Scientific Studies

Cumin seeds contain many substances with medicinal value, the most significant among them being cuminaldehyde, the aromatic compound responsible for their characteristic flavor. Besides cuminaldehyde, cumin seeds also contain other health-benefiting essential oils (such as pyrazines), as well as flavonoids (carotenes, zea-xanthin and lutein), vitamins (especially thiamin: 0.6 mg/100 g – 42%DV, vitamin A: 1270 IU/100 g – 25%DV, niacin: 4.6 mg/100 g – 23%DV, vitamin B6: 0.4 mg/100 g – 22%DV, riboflavin: 0.3 mg/100 g – 19%DV, and vitamin E: 3.3 mg/100 g – 17%DV) and minerals (especially iron: 66.4 mg/100 g – 369%DV, manganese: 3.3 mg/100 g – 167%DV, calcium: 931 mg/100 g – 93%DV, and magnesium: 366 mg/100 g – 92%DV). The medicinal properties of cumin seeds have been traditionally used for thousands of years and are now being confirmed by numerous scientific studies.

4 - Cumin seeds

Medicinal uses

  • Morphine addiction (A study on mice, published in Neuroscience Letters in 2008, concluded that “the essential oil of cumin seems to ameliorate the morphine tolerance and dependence.”)
  • Memory loss (A study published in Pharmaceutical Biology in 2011 concluded that it provided “scientific support for the antistress, antioxidant, and memory-enhancing activities of cumin extract.”)
  • Cataract (The results of a study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in 2009 indicated that “cumin has antiglycating properties that may be attributed to the modulation of chaperone activity of alpha-crystallin, thus delaying cataract in streptozocin-induced diabetic rats.”)
  • Weak immunity (A study published in Chemico-biological Interactions in 2010 suggested that “cumin is a potent immunomodulator and may develop as a lead to recover the immunity of immuno-compromised individuals.”)
  • Bacterial infections (A study evaluating the antimicrobial activity of cumin essential oil against different Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, published in Natural Product Communications in 2010, showed that “all cumin oils and cuminic aldehyde exhibited a considerable inhibitory effect against all the organisms tested, except Pseudomonas spp.”)
  • Fungal infections (The results of a study published in Journal de Mycologie Medicalé in 2014 “suggested the potential substitution of the antifungal chemicals by cumin essential oil as a natural inhibitor to control the growth of the most important pathogenic Candida species and alternative therapies for candidiasis.”)
  • High blood pressure (A study on renovascular hypertensive rats, published in Clinical and Experimental Hypertension in 2013, demonstrated that cumin “attenuates hypertension via endothelial nitric oxide synthase and nitric oxide pathway.”)
  • Diabetes (A study published in evaluated the effect of a methanolic extract of cumin on certain parameters characteristic to streptozocin-induced diabetic rats: increase in rat tail tendon collagen, glycated collagen, collagen linked fluorescence and reduction in pepsin digestion. the results revealed that “treatment with cumin significantly improved these parameters when compared to diabetic control and glibenclamide group.”)
  • Osteoporosis (A study published in Experimental Biology and Medicine in 2008 demonstrated that the osteoprotective effect of a methanolic extract of cumin “was comparable with that of estradiol”, thus proving that the phytoestrogens contained in cumin “can be useful in treating postmenopausal osteoporosis.”)
  • Diarrhea (A study published in Pahrmacognosy Research in 2014 revealed that “the aqueous extract of cumin seeds is a potent antidiarrhoeal drug which supports the traditional claim.”)
  • Fertility (A study on male albino rats, published in Contraception in 2011, showed that “cumin treatment resulted in the inhibition of spermatogenesis and fertility without producing apparent toxic effects.”)
  • Dental plaque (A study of a potential phytotherapeutic inhibition of supragingival dental plaque by the essential oils of peppermint and cumin, published in Natural Product Research in 2008, concluded that “there may be a potential role for essential oils in the development of novel anticaries treatments.”)

Preparation and administration

Add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds in 250 ml of water and heat it until it starts to boil. Take it off the heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Drink 3 cups a day, before a meal.


Cumin seeds are contraindicated two weeks before surgery, because their hypoglycemiant properties might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery.

Cumin seeds should be consumed with precaution by those suffering from bleeding disorders (it might slow blood clotting) and diabetes (it may exacerbate the hypoglycemic effects of other antidiabetic drugs or herbs and thus lower too much the blood sugar levels).

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