Cuminum cyminum (Jeera)

Botanical Name :Cuminum cyminum
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Cuminum
Species: C. cyminum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Class :Magnoliophyta
Division :Magnoliopsida

Common Names:English: Cumin seeds,Hindi: Jeera, Sanskrit: Jeerak, Gujrati :Jeeru

Etymology:
The English “cumin” derives from the Old English cymen (or Old French cumin), from Latin cuminum, which is the latinisation of the Greek ??????? (kuminon), cognate with Hebrew kammon and Arabic kammun. Forms of this word are attested in several ancient Semitic languages, including kam?nu in Akkadian. The ultimate source is the Sumerian word gamun. The earliest attested form of the word ??????? (kuminon) is the Mycenaean Greek ku-mi-no, written in Linear B syllabic script.Indian Name is Jira

Habitat : Cuminum cyminum is   is grown in Temperent climate.Western Asia, where it is culti­vated since Biblical times . Main pro­duction countries today are India, Iran, Indonesia, China and the South Medi­terranean.

Description:
Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. The cumin plant grows to 30–50 cm (0.98–1.6 ft) tall and is harvested by hand. It is an herbaceous annual plant, with a slender branched stem 20–30 cm tall. The leaves are 5–10 cm long, pinnate or bipinnate, thread-like leaflets. The flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels. The fruit is a lateral fusiform or ovoid achene 4–5 mm long, containing a single seed. Cumin seeds resemble caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in color, like other members of the Umbelliferae family such as caraway, parsley and dill.

You may click to see the pictures cumin seeds    and      pictures of cumin plant

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Cultivation:
Cultivation of cumin requires a long, hot summer of 3–4 months, with daytime temperatures around 30 °C (86 °F); it is drought-tolerant, and is mostly grown in Mediterranean climates. It is grown from seed, sown in spring, and needs fertile, well-drained soil.

Uses:
Cumin is the most popular spice in the world after black pepper. Cumin seeds are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma, popular in Nepalese, Indian, Pakistani, North African, Middle Eastern, Sri Lankan, Cuban, northern Mexican cuisines, central Asian Uzbek cuisine, and the western Chinese cuisines of Sichuan and Xinjiang. Cumin can be found in some Dutch cheeses, such as Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France. It is commonly used in traditional Brazilian cuisine. Cumin can be an ingredient in chili powder (often Texan or Mexican-style), and is found in achiote blends, adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, and bahaarat.

Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine. It helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as curries and chilli.

Nutritional value:
Although cumin seeds contain a relatively large percentage of iron, extremely large quantities of cumin would need to be consumed for it to serve as a significant dietary source (see nutrition data).

Aroma profile:
Cumin’s distinctive flavour and strong, warm aroma is due to its essential oil content. Its main constituent and important aroma compound is cuminaldehyde (4-isopropylbenzaldehyde). Important aroma compounds of toasted cumin are the substituted pyrazines, 2-ethoxy-3-isopropylpyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-sec-butylpyrazine, and 2-methoxy-3-methylpyrazine.

*beta-Pinene
*Cuminal
*Gamma-terpinene

Main constituents:
The fruits contain 2.5 to 4% essential oil. In the essential oil, cumin aldehyde (p-isopropyl-benzaldehyde, 25 to 35%), furthermore perilla aldehyde, cumin alcohol, ?- and ?-pinene (21%), dipentene, p-cymene and ?-phellandrene were found.

In toasted cumin fruits, a large number of pyrazines has been identified as flavour compounds. Besides pyrazine and various alkyl derivatives (particularly, 2,5- and 2,6-dimethyl pyrazine), 2-alkoxy-3-alkylpyrazines seem to be the key compounds (2-ethoxy-3-isopropyl pyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-sec-butyl pyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-methyl pyrazine). Also a sulfur compound, 2-methylthio-3-isopropyl pyrazine, was found. All these Maillard-products are also formed when fenugreek or coriander are toasted. (Nahrung,?  24, 645, 1980)

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Medicinal Uses:
Cumin seed is used for diarrhea and indigestion.  Specific for headaches caused by ingestion. Hot cumin water is excellent for colds and fevers and is made by boiling a teaspoon of roasted seeds in 3 cups of water.  Honey can be added to soothe a sore throat.  It is supposed to increase lactation and reduce nausea in pregnancy.  Used in a poultice, it relieves swelling of the breast or the testicles.  Smoked in a pipe with ghee, it is taken to relieve the hiccups.  Stimulates the appetite.  Still used in veterinary practice.  Cumin mixed with flour and water is good feed for poultry and it is said if you give tame pigeons cumin it makes them fond of their home and less likely to stray.  Basalt mixed with cumin seeds was a common country remedy for pigeons’ scabby backs and breasts.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumin

http://www.ayushveda.com/herbs/cuminum-cyminum.htm

http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Cumi_cym.html

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