Cumin (Cuminum cyminum), is a culinary herb native to India and the Mediterranean. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is known primarily as a digestive herb, able to treat poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal distension.
Cumin has been used since ancient times. The Ancient Egyptians used it both as a spice and a preservative. It has been used for thousands of years and is even mentioned in the Bible! Although sometimes confused with Caraway, Cumin has a lovely warming aroma due its high essential oil content and is excellent for improving circulation.
Cumin is currently being researched for a variety of applications; investigations have shown beneficial effects on blood pressure, insomnia/sleeping disorders and digestive issues. Cumin is able to increase nitric oxide (a potent vasodilator), to reduce blood pressure, as well as influencing cellular communication to exert anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Cumin has anti-diabetic activity – it is able to reduce blood sugar levels without causing hypoglycaemia whilst aiding secretion of insulin by the pancreatic beta cells.
In addition, Cumin has also been shown to have antimicrobial effects, demonstrating a cytotoxic effect on many types of bacteria and other types of micro-organisms, including the yeast, Candida. 
Cumin is an ideal spice to use in many recipes. It can be used in combination with other herbs and spices to use as a meat rub, and combined in a marinade or sauce. It can be used in spicy soups, and is a must for all kinds of other spicy foods like chilli con-carne or other Mexican-like cuisine. It can also be used to flavour rice, quinoa or cous-cous.
 Kalaivani, P et al. Cuminum cyminum, a dietary spice, attenuates hypertension via endothelial nitric oxide synthase and NO pathway in renovascular hypertensive rats.Clin Exp Hypertens. 2013;35(7):534-42
Patil, S.B et al. Insulinotropic and β-cell protective action of cuminaldehyde, cuminol and an inhibitor isolated from Cuminum cyminum in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Br J Nutr. 2013 Oct;110(8):1434-43
 Wanner, J et al. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of cumin oil (Cuminum cyminum, Apiaceae).Nat Prod Commun. 2010 Sep;5(9):1355-8