What’s in your kitchen cabinet? Cumin!

Last week I shared via a newsletter and Instagram that I am taking Steph Dodd’s Creative Abundance course. I was reflecting on some of the questions Steph asked before the course and had an inspiration hit: I want to do a Kitchen Cabinet Herb series! 

And here we are. 

Most likely you use culinary herbs to make your recipes delicious. Our ancestors, of course, also used them to create deliciousness. But they also used them medicinally by changing the quantity of the herb they were using.

I chose cumin for this week. Probably because I was in Beers Books a couple of weekends ago (a Sacramento staple for those not in the area) and picked up this sweet little book Curries Without Worries by Sudha Koul. Can you guess what’s in almost every recipe? Cumin!

Many cultures use cumin in their food because it is an excellent carminative (aka prevents and helps with gas). Although for those on the new side of herbs, I’m going to tell you all culinary herbs have a digestive aspect. Makes sense right!? But cumin in particular is touted as one of the best carminatives around. It also has some compounds in it that are anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial.

People have consumed cumin for thousands of years to help with the following:

  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • The heart and uterus 
  • Digestive headaches
  • As a ‘Mama’s Medicine’ in formulas for increasing breast milk production postpartum, soothing nausea, colic, and to help calm the spirit of both mama and baby 
  • Increasing blood flow throughout the entire body
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Coughs

It has also been used externally as a liniment or in pastes to help relieve pain. 

In aromatherapy it is used to help someone feel more stable when they are emotionally and physically drained. 

I am unsure if I would go out and buy the essential oil of cumin and put it into my diffuser (I think I would be hungry all the time then) but I do think it is a cool idea if you or someone in your household is feeling drained to make a delicious recipe that has a good amount of cumin in it. It is such a nurturing and nourishing act. 

Fun Facts:

  • Cumin is indigenous to Egypt and was used medicinally by ancient Egyptians
  • Throughout history it has been used by various cultures as an aphrodisiac and in love potions 

You could try making a tea out of cumin, but I have a feeling that might be too much for most. So you can put it into spice mixes you make, honeys, vinegars, and oils so it is always on hand for marinating and spicing up your food. And of course, you could always get capsules and tinctures of cumin to try! 

Things I’m thinking of trying

A couple weeks ago I sent out a newsletter with my spin on an ancient decongestant formula that included: ginger, black pepper, anise, and turmeric. I’m thinking cumin would be an excellent addition to that formula. Fingers crossed no one in my household gets congested any time soon, but if someone does, I have a plan! 

I am also going to add it to the next round of bitters I’m making.

In Aromatherapy by Kathi Keville and Mindy Green they mention you can add cumin to lemonade. I became very intrigued seeing how it’s lemon season where I am and that’s a drink combo I’ve never experienced! Turns out it is an Indian beverage called Shikanji Nimbu Pani and it is delicious! Plus, I can now attest to the calming portion of this herb. I was very relaxed after drinking it!

If you know any more delicious beverages featuring cumin please put it in the comments below cause I want to try them all now! 

Want to learn more about herbs? Sign up here for my newsletter to get ideas and tips of how to use herbs in your home delivered right to your inbox. 

*Disclaimer* None of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. This article is meant solely for educational purposes. Please consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

Works Cited

Grieve, Margaret. A Modern Herbal. Vol. 1, Dover Publications Inc, 1971.

Keville, Kathi, and Mindy Green. Aromatherapy. Crossing Press, 2009.

Keville, Kathi. Aromatherapy for Dummies. IDG, 2000.

Mars, Brigitte. The Sexual Herbal. Healing Arts Press, 2010.

McBride, Kami. The Herbal Kitchen. Conari, 2010.Tierra, Michael. The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books, 1998.

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