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Cuminum cyminum - L.

Common Name Cumin - Jeera
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 8-12
Known Hazards May cause hypoglycaemia. Caution need for diabetics. Avoid if taking barbiturates [301]
Habitats Not known in a truly wild condition.
Range Europe to N. Africa and S.W.Asia? Original habitat is obscure.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Cuminum cyminum Cumin - Jeera

Cuminum cyminum Cumin - Jeera


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Cumin or Cuminum cyminum is a flowering plant native to Pakistan and India. It is a well-branched, erect, annual plant that usually grows up to 30 cm in height. The leaves are long. The flowers are small and white or pink in color. Cumin seed is well-known food flavouring especially in tropical Asia. It has a hot and aromatic flavour and is often used in curries. The essential oil obtained from the seed is used as flavouring as well. Cumin is also used medicinally. In particular, it is used to stimulate the sexual organs and to treat minor digestive conditions, coughs, pain, and rotten teeth.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cuminum cyminum is a ANNUAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf from May to October, in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cuminia cyminum. Cuminum aegyptiacum. Cuminum hispanicum. Cuminum sativum

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed
Edible Uses: Condiment

Seed - cooked as a flavouring. Cumin seed was once widely used as a food flavouring in Europe, the Romans ground it into a powder and used it like pepper[ 268 ]. It is little used at present in Western cooking, though it is very commonly employed in India[ 268 ]. A hot and aromatic flavour, it is an important ingredient in curries, is used as a seasoning in soups and stews, and is also often used as a flavouring in biscuits, cakes and bread where it also helps in improving the digestion[ 1 , 4 , 14 , 21 , 27 , 46 , 132 , 171 , 244 , 418 ]. The seed is harvested when fully ripe and is then dried and stored in airtight jars[ 244 ]. An essential oil from the seed is used as a food flavouring[ 46 , 61 , 171 ]. According to the USDA, one tablespoon of cumin spice contains: 22 kcal (92 kJ) of food energy, 1.34 g (0.047 oz) of fat, 2.63 g (0.093 oz) of carbohydrates, 0.6 g (0.021 oz) of fibre and 1.07 g (0.038 oz) of protein.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antibacterial  Antidiarrhoeal  Antirheumatic  Antispasmodic  Aphrodisiac  Carminative  Galactogogue  Poultice  
Stimulant  Stomachic

Cumin is an aromatic, astringent herb that benefits the digestive system and acts as a stimulant to the sexual organs[ 238 ]. It has been used in the treatment of minor digestive complaints, chest conditions and coughs, as a pain killer and to treat rotten teeth[ 238 , 254 ]. Cumin is seldom used in Western herbal medicine, having been superseded by caraway which has similar properties but a more pleasant flavour[ 4 ]. It is still widely used in India, however[ 4 ] where it is said to promote the assimilation of other herbs and to improve liver function[ 238 ]. The seed is antispasmodic, carminative, galactagogue, stimulant and stomachic[ 4 , 46 , 240 , 254 ]. A general tonic to the whole digestive system, it is used in the treatment of flatulence and bloating, reducing intestinal gas and relaxing the gut as a whole[ 254 ]. In India it is also used in the treatment of insomnia, colds and fevers and to improve milk production in nursing mothers[ 254 ]. Ground into a powder and mixed into a paste with onion juice, it has been applied to scorpion stings[ 254 ]. The herb has been used externally as a poultice to relieve stitch and pains in the side[ 244 ]. The essential oil obtained from the seed is antibacterial and larvicidal[ 238 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Essential  Insecticide

The seed contains about 2.5% essential oil[ 240 ]. It is used in perfumery and for flavouring beverages[ 46 , 61 , 177 , 272 ].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

An annual plant, it is cultivated from low elevations in the warm temperate to higher elevations in tropical zones. It does not do well in lowland areas of the tropics, but is successful at higher elevations, being grown up to 2,200 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 17 - 26°c, but can tolerate 9 - 30°c[ 418 ]. The plant is intolerant of frost. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 1,800mm, but tolerates 800 - 2,700mm[ 418 ]. Tolerant of most well-drained soils[ 268 ], though it prefers a warm fertile well-drained sandy loam in a sheltered sunny position[ 14 , 200 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 8.3[ 418 ]. The plant can be harvested for its seed about 60 - 110 days after sowing[ 418 ]. Seed yields can be 500 - 1,200 kilos per hectare[ 418 ]. When bruised, the plant has a pungent aroma[ 245 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in individual pots in a greenhouse. Grow the plants on fast, and plant them out after the last expected frosts[ 200 ]. Give the plants some temporary protection such as a cloche for their first few weeks in the open ground to make sure that they keep on growing in the cooler weather of early summer[ K ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Also known as: Comino, Jeera, Jeerige, Jilakara, Jintan puteh, Jinten bodas, Jinten, Jira zeera, Jira, Jiraka jira, Jiraka, Jiregire, Jorekam, Kumin, Safed jeera, Siragam, Sududuru, Sulpha phul, Yeera, Zira-sufed.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Arabia, Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, Britain, China, East Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Europe, France, Greece, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mediterranean, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, North Africa, North America, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, SE Asia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tasmania, Thailand, Turkey, Middle East, West Africa, Zambia.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

PRAVIN PATEL   Fri Oct 29 06:00:44 2004

We are interested in Manufacturing the OIL of Cumin. Can you suggest us for more other websites. Let us know what are the Exports Demand.

Vijay patel   Sat Dec 17 2005

Vijay patel - Rajkot, India. Cell: 098986 07770 We are interested to process cumin and extract oil. I want to know what is ration of yield % and which process is the best for production with best spesified quality? Only distilation is enough or it's required solvent extraction unit.and what is approximate rate of cumin oil in india



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