Commercial name Cumin oil
Botanical name Cuminus cyminum
Botanical family Umbelliferae
CAS # 8014-13-9
EINECS # 283-881-6
Plant part Seed
Manufacturing place Egypt
Harvesting period J F M A M J J A S O N D
Cumin Essential Oil
Cumin is a delicate annual plant thought to originate from Egypt, but grown in the Mediterranean area for many years BC and now naturalized in hot countries all over the world – the North African coast, Malta, the Middle East and America. It has a slender and fragile stem, leaves that are divided into narrow strips, and tiny part-umbels of flowers which are white to pinkish purple. The plant later sets the narrow-ridged seed-fruit that are the cumin spice, and the only part of the plant used. These seeds look rather like those of caraway, and indeed they are often confused in Europe: caraway is called cumin des pres in France; cumino holandese (Dutch cumin) in Spain. There is no real resemblance in flavour. The name comes from the Hebrew kammon or Arabic kammun, and later became kuminon in Greek.
There are two types of cumin spice, which are most clearly defined in Indian culinary terminology. Kala or shah zeera is the ‘true’ or black cumin, and this is quite rare and expensive. White cumin, safeid zeera, is the seed more commonly available in ethnic shops and better supermarkets.
Cumin seeds were found in the tombs of the Pharaohs in Egypt. The plant was cultivated by both Ancient Egyptians and Hebrews, much as it is today. It was mentioned in both Old and New Testaments, and the Hebrews also used it in their ceremony of circumcision as an antiseptic.
To the Greeks, cumin was a symbol of selfishness, and they referred to people so avaricious that they would divide everything, even their cumin seeds. Dioscorides thought of it as one of the best aromatics to help with flatulence, and recognized it as a stimulant for the digestive system. The Romans used cumin a great deal in their cooking: to spice their olive oil, to sauce their shellfish and grilled fish, to keep their meat fresh, to spread on bread, and to substitute for pepper. Cumin seeds were also used in digestive cakes at the end of a meal, along with caraway, dill and fennel. Cumin apparently helped congested people regain their normal pale colour, so it was popular with over-eaters and heavy drinkers; Pliny even suggested that this ‘whitening’ property was utilized by scholars wishing to impress their teachers that they were working harder than they actually were! Pierre Pomet, in his book History oj Drugs (1694), recommended cumin for rheumatic conditions in the essential oil form. Nearer our own time, Dr Leclerc classified it as a general tonic for the heart and nervous system. Eugene Perrot, in his 1940s and 1970s researches, found it a tonic and aphrodisiac.
- IDENTFICATION DATA
- TECHNICAL DOCUMENT
- IMPORTANT NOTE
- GENERAL SAFETY INFORMATION
Commercial name Cumin oil
Method of extraction Hydrodistillation
Appearance Pale yellow to brown liquid
Organoleptic characteristics Warm, spicy, earthy, woody.
Perfumery note Middle – Base
Strength of initial aroma Medium – Strong
Main constituents Cuminaldehyde, gamma-Terpinene, beta-pinene, para-menthadienals
* May vary, depending on specific botanical, chemotype and distillation
Helps ease indigestion and nausea
Supports overall digestive health
Warming to the body
Product description Product specification IFRA 48 MSDS
The essential oil information provided within the Essential Oil Properties & Profiles area is intended for professional and educational purposes only. This data is not to be considered complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate.
Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, or have liver damage, cancer or any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children. It is safest to consult a qualified practitioner before using oils with children.