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.
The long, climbing stems of Jasminum sambac bear white, fleshy flowers that exude a heady jasmine fragrance with animalic notes. The flowers are picked by night, when their enchanting fragrance is at its most intense, because these blossoms open at night and close in the morning. An experienced picker can pick à 10,000 to 15,000 flowers a day. Jasmine sambac is intimately tied to Asian traditions and history and is a symbol of purity, eternal love, and nobility. It should not be confused with jasmine grandiflorum with a sweeter, fruitier smell.
Jasminum sambac is native to Arabia and was introduced to the Indies in 1690 by the Duke of Tuscany, which led to the flower at times being called “Duke of Tuscany” jasmine and, naturally, “Arabian jasmine.” It was then grown in South Asia, eventually became widespread in Florence, Italy, and then spread to the Grasse region, where specimens of the plant can still be found. The diversity of the plant’s many names reflects its tremendous popularity worldwide. It is the national emblem of the Philippines and was christened the “flower of the people” in Indonesia in 1990. In our region and in the perfume world, jasmine sambac was also called foul jasmine.
Originally native to India and Indonesia, vetiver grows wild in all tropical and subtropical latitudes. Vetiver is an herbaceous, perennial, bushy plant that can grow up to two meters tall. Its long, rigid, narrow leaves. Vetiver is most closely related to Sorghum but shares many morphological characteristics with other fragrant grasses, such as lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), citronella (Cymbopogon nardus, C. winterianus), and palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii).
The name vetiver first appeared in France in the 19th century. It comes from the Tamil vettiveru, from vetti, meaning "pull out" and ver meaning "root", thus translating as "dug up roots" or "unearthed roots." In many Indian states, it is also known as Cus-Cus, Khus-Khus, or Khas-Khas. Vetiver is also written "vetyver". Vetiver scent was very popular in ancient India, when Indian brides-to-be were given an ointment made from vetiver roots. The stems and leaves were used as thatch to roof houses, or were braided into mats.
Vetiver roots are the source of the precious woody, earthy smell that is characteristic of the plant. They also play an ecological role in preventing soil erosion caused by flooding and runoff of rainwater.
Indonesia, India and Haiti are the main producers of the essential oil. Javanese vetiver is characterized by its strong smoky notes.
Ginger, native to China, is a large, hardy, tropical herbaceous plant. It is an emblematic member of the Zingiberaceae, a family it shares with other celebrated spices like cardamom and turmeric. Ginger’s aromatic rhizome forms buds from which emerge leafy stems. The plant’s shape is similar to that of reeds. The essential oil, which lies in the cells beneath the rhizome’s epidermis, is extracted by steam distillation. Its spicy, warm fragrance has citrus notes, characteristic of the plant’s Asian origins.
Considered a panacea in Asia, ginger can be found in every pharmacopoeia on that continent. The “ancient” Indians viewed it as the mahaoushadha or great medicine. Ginger has been consumed in Asia and India since ancient times and was introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages by Arab spice merchants. Today, ginger is still grown in parts of Asia, where the tropical climate creates favorable conditions. In China, ginger rhizomes are harvested once a year, when the leafy stems become yellow. They are cleaned, brushed, and then dried for one to two weeks. The rhizomatous stumps are then pulverized, dried, and sieved before being distilled to make the essential oil.
The perennial herb, a member of the mint family, is used in aromatherapy, cooking, potpourri, mouthwashes, and elixirs, as well as added to ointments. According to the American Botanical Council:
The ancient Sumerians and Egyptians used thyme as a medicine and to embalm the dead. The ancient Romans used thyme to flavor cheese and alcoholic beverages, burned it to deter wild animals, and bathed in it to 'provide vigor.' Medieval women embroidered thyme on gifts for knights.
Many of thyme’s beneficial properties come from its essential oils, which include potent compounds like thymol, camphene, linalool, and carvacrol.
The benefits of thyme essential oil have been recognized for thousands of years in Mediterranean countries. This substance is also a common agent in Ayurverdic practice. Today, among the many producers of thyme oil, France, Morocco, and Spain emerge as the primary ones.
Patchouli, an evergreen subshrub, is a tropical aromatic plant that thrives in the rich, shady soil of its native land of Indonesia. Along its upright stems are large, velvety green leaves containing the precious fragrance of patchouli. The name even honors the foliage: “patchouli” comes from the Tamil patch which means “green” and ilai which means “leaf.” The essential oil accumulates in the leaves’ secretory glands, principally in the young leaves, meaning that only the more recent above-ground portions of the plant are harvested for extraction, providing better yield during distillation and letting the plants regenerate faster. Patchouli heart is obtained after traditional patchouli essential oil has undergone rectification. This method is used to enrich the extract’s patchoulol content, the molecule responsible for the characteristic patchouli odor. This scent of the heart is therefore more powerfully woody and earthy, as well as nobler.
The smell of patchouli was discovered in the West through importation of scented shawls from India and Indonesia. This addictive fragrance remained a mystery until 1844, the year that saw the arrival of the first shipment of patchouli leaves in London. Since that time, patchouli has left its charismatic olfactory mark on history. As the fragrance symbol of the Sixties hippie movement, the scent expresses freedom and sensuality.
The nutmeg tree is a pyramid-shaped tree that grows up to 15 meters high. The fruit is a fleshy, pale-yellow drupe resembling an apricot. Once ripe, the fruit’s pulpy pericarp half-opens into two parts, to reveal a single seed protected by a brown shell. This seed, with high essential oil content, is what is used in the distillation process. It is surrounded by a bright red-orange aril that streaks the hull with color. The fruits are picked when mature with a long-handled, basketed “fruit-picker” making it possible to harvest fruit from high in the tree. The stripped seeds are dried in the shade to prevent deterioration of the lipids (the melting point being 38°C). After six to eight weeks, the inner kernel has dried sufficiently and can be freed from its outer rigid shell. It takes seven years for a nutmeg tree to produce its initial crop. Productivity increases with age, with an optimum yield occurring when the tree is between 15 and 30 years old.
Native to the Indonesian Moluccas, nutmeg long remained unknown in the West. Though used in India and Egypt before Christ, it was imported to the West by the Arabs in the Middle Ages. Like pepper, this rare and extremely expensive spice led to monopolistic trade, one disputed by the Portuguese and Dutch for centuries. The Dutch even developed a way of sterilizing the seeds with lime to control spread of the species. In the end, it was the initiative of French missionary Pierre Poivre that led to illegal nutmeg plants being introduced and cultivated on France’s tropical island territories, putting an end to the Dutch exclusivity.
The employment of clove as analgesic have been reported since the 13th century, for toothache, join pain and antispasmodic, being the eugenol the main compound responsable for this activity. The antioxidant activity of eugenol are multifunctional as reducing agents, hydrogen atom donators, and singlet oxygen scavengers.
Eugenol, is a clear to pale yellow oily liquid extracted from certain essential oils especially from clove oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Eugenol, a component of clove, may reduce the ability to feel and react to painful stimulation. Therefore, use of clove products on the skin with other numbing or pain-reducing products such as lidocaine / prilocaine cream, theoretically it may increase the effects.
This aromatic perennial grows about 1meter (3 feet) high and is a popular ingredient in wax candles, as an insect repellant, and is also widely used in perfumes, soaps, skin lotions and deodorants. It is extracted from a hardy grass, native to Sri Lanka and Java. Although this essential oil has been typecast as an insect repellant (especially for malaria carrying mosquitoes), it also has great benefit in clearing the mind, refreshing rooms and for softening skin, while combating oily skin and sweaty feet.
The Citronella from Java is characterized by a higher content in citronellal (>30%) and a high content in geraniol (>20%).