Cumin: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Cumin: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

The plant is native to Central Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia and is cultivated worldwide. Usually, the drug comes from cultures in Poland, East Germany, Holland and Egypt. The dried, ripe fruits (Carvi fructus) and the essential oil (Carvi aetheroleum) are used as drugs.

Cumin: Typical characteristics of the plant

Caraway is a biennial to perennial plant, up to 1 m high, with 2-3 pinnate leaves. It prefers to grow on the edges of meadows and paths. Small white to pale pink flowers are in 8-16-rayed umbels; the involucre is usually missing.

The plant bears small, dry, dark brown fruits. These parts of the plant, representing the actual Caraway, are sometimes incorrectly referred to as seeds.


Cumin: medicinal fruit

The drug contains whole ripe and dried split fruits. These are about 3-6 mm long and 1 mm thick, grey-brown to dark brown, and crescent-shaped and pointed on both sides.

The fruit’s cross-section often resembles a regular pentagon’s shape. With good magnification, the oil passages can also be seen.

The harvest usually occurs shortly before the fruit is fully ripe when the essential oil is at its highest.

smell and taste of cumin

Caraway gives off a very characteristic, aromatic smell. The taste of cumin is very spicy.

Cumin – application

Caraway is used for digestive disorders (dyspeptic symptoms) such as flatulence, a feeling of fullness or light, and cramping symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract. Cumin is also often used in paediatrics. Caraway has traditionally been used “to support the digestive function”.

Antibacterial effect of cumin

The essential oil contained in caraway fruits is also effective against certain bacteria, such as Helicobacter pylori, one of the leading causes of ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract.


Application in folk medicine

Caraway has also been used in folk medicine for centuries to promote digestion and relieve flatulence. The fruit’s essential oil is used in the form of gargling water and externally in the form of skin-irritating rubs to stimulate blood circulation.

Caraway is also used as a taste corrector and spice to improve the tolerance of flatulence-promoting foods such as cabbage or fresh bread. Other but not clinically proven areas of application of Caraway in folk medicine are: 

  • promoting milk production in breastfeeding mothers
  • the relief of menstrual cramps
  • the replacement of cough, toothache and headache

Cumin in homeopathy

The homoeopathic application corresponds broadly to the official application, meaning Caraway is also used here to relieve digestive problems.


ingredients of cumin

The main active component in Caraway is the essential oil (with a proportion of 3-7%), which consists of 50-65% of the odor-determining carvone. The caraway fruits also contain, among other things, 20% fatty oil, 13% polysaccharides, around 20% carbohydrates, caffeic acid, small amounts of flavonoids and traces of furanocoumarins.

Cumin: indication

Application areas of Caraway are:

  • indigestion
  • indigestion
  • gas
  • bloating
  • stomach cramps
  • circulatory disorders
  • Helicobacter pylori

Cumin – Dosage

Infusions and other preparations are made from the freshly ground drug. Caraway fruits, caraway oil and the dry extract from Caraway are also part of many finished medicinal products of Carminativa (medicine against flatulence ) or Stomachika (medicine for the stomach).

Cumin: what dose?

Unless otherwise prescribed, the average daily dose is 1.5-6 g of the drug.


Preparation of caraway tea

1.5-2 g of the drug (1 teaspoon corresponds to about 3.5 g) is first crushed and poured over with boiling water to prepare a caraway tea. After leaving the tea covered for 10-15 minutes, pass it through a tea strainer.

1-3 cups of the tea should be drunk daily; infants and small children should add one teaspoon of the infusion to the bottle feeding.

When not to use cumin

Caraway should not be taken if you are known to be hypersensitive to Caraway or other umbellifers. This includes:

  • cumin
  • Saddlery
  • Parsely
  • carrots
  • Anise
  • Cilantro

It is not advisable to take long-term and high doses of Caraway, as this can lead to kidney and liver damage in rare cases.


How should you store cumin?

Cumin should be kept dry and protected from light in tightly sealed glass or metal containers.

Cumin synonyms


German plant name: Ten

German synonyms of the plant: Real Caraway, common Caraway, common Caraway, meadow caraway, field caraway, bread caraway, mat caraway, Caraway

Latin plant name: Dear Carvi L.

Latin synonyms of the plant: Carum officinale, Apium carvi, Ligisticum carve, Karos carve, Sium carve, Carum aromatic, Bunium carve, Seseli carve, Pimpinella carve, Carvi care, Carvi decussated

German drug name: Ten

German synonyms of the drug: carbon seeds

Latin drug name: Carved fruit

Latin synonyms of the drug: The seed of cumin is spreading, the fruit of the Caraway

English name: Caraway fruit

Plant family Latin: Apiaceae (früher: Umbelliferae)

Plant family German: doldenblütler


Cumin – effect

Cumin fruits and the essential oils derived from them have been shown to have antibacterial properties. In addition to being effective against bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and Shigella, cumin is also effective against Helicobacter pylori, one of the leading causes of gastric and duodenal ulcers.

Furthermore, Caraway also has antispasmodic, digestive and flatulence-inhibiting effects, which are also attributed to the essential oil.

Cumin: side effects

Side effects and interactions with other agents are not to be expected if the dosage is correct.


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