The Persian cumin called in Latin as ‘meridian fennel’ is one of the most famous medicinal seeds. It originates from French cumin borrowed from Arabic Kammon. Arabs got it from Spanish Comino. Iran has played a major role in producing the seed. In archeological searches in ‘Shahr Sookhteh’ in Zabol, it became clear that the people knew cumin. Green seed plant is called (cumin) and the black one (caraway). They are almost the same. Kerman produces a major share of the seeds.
Egyptians used cumin 5,000 years BC. Romans would use it as a replacement for Pepper. An interesting point is that the nickname of Roman Emperor Antonius Pius was ‘cumin splitter’ because of his economic life style.
The flowered plant of caraway is a member of ‘Apiaceae’ family. It has a height of 30 – 60 cm. It grows in winter, blooms in spring and is hand-harvested in summer. It needs a hot and long summer of about 30 degrees C. It usually grows in Mediterranean regions.
Green seed plant (cumin) and the black one (caraway) are almost the same.The green one is taller and brighter in color. The stems are hollow, grooved and branched in the bottom. The leaves have lots of recesses in such a way that look like threads of light green. Leaves at the bottom have short sheath-like leafstalks. The flowers are tiny, white or pink in groups of small umbrellas. The fruit is crescent shaped of about 6 mm. The color is brown, chocolate brown or yellowish. All parts especially the seeds (fruits) have a nice smell, but it is the fruit that is widely used as seeds or in the form of essence.
Caraway contains % 3-7 essence. Because of higher essence content, the seeds are often harvested before they are fully ripe. The essence ingredient called ‘Carvone’ makes up to %65 of the essence, while ‘Limonene’ takes up to %50. Other parts are fixed oil; %10-20, protein; %20,suger; %20 plus some flavonoids.
Caraway seeds are full of iron, suitable for anemia, pregnant women and mothers who breast-feed their child. Caraway helps cure indigestion, prevents dyspepsia, stops flatulence, diarrhea and nausea. Caraway seeds are strong disinfectants and help cure regular cold. It prevents coughing and supports aspiratory system. Since it is of warm humor, cumin prevents mucus from gathering in breathing canals. To curb cold symptoms and stop digestion problems, add caraway seeds to a pot of boiling water. Let it boil for some time, and sip the lukewarm mix gradually. Caraway seeds activate pancreas gland to absorb micro nutrients. Furthermore, caraway increases kidney power in detoxification and regulates its functions.