Cumin Essential Oil
Cumin essential oil is one of the lesser known of the oils but one with plenty of merit in terms of its potential health benefits. Best known for its culinary uses especially in Indian cuisine, cumin is also used for its essential oil which is extracted by steam distillation from its dried, crushed seeds.
It is not surprising that the oil has so many health benefits given that cumin has been used for thousands of years both for cooking and health purposes in certain parts of Asia and Africa.
These days the cumin plant known scientifically as Cuminum cyminum is widely cultivated in China, Iran, Turkey, Syria, India and Morocco as well as in certain parts of America like Mexico and Chile.
The essential oil that you can find on the market is a mild yellow color with a powerful aniseed-like aroma that not everybody enjoys. While cumin is a well-known food product that is valued for its flavor and healthful benefits, its essential oil is far less known.
However, the essential oil of the plant is where most of its value lies and it can provide a range of benefits for your health from digestive conditions to respiratory issues and infection.
Composition and Therapeutic Properties
According to scientific analysis, cumin essential oil contains a large number of compounds which offer numerous health benefits. The major constituents are:
Cumin essential oil can be used to treat a surprising range of physical and emotional conditions because of its impressive array of therapeutic properties including the following. It is a natural antioxidant and also has antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-spasmodic, carminative, digestive, expectorant and emmenagogue properties.
Cumin Essential Oil Benefits
1. For IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is an increasingly common condition that affects as many as 20% of the US population. It is characterized by a variety of symptoms including nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and irregular bowel movement.
A recent Iranian study published in 2013 examined the effects of cumin essential oil taken internally to treat the symptoms of IBS and the results were very positive indeed.
57 patients diagnosed with IBS for an average duration of three years were treated with 20 drops of cumin essential oil for a period of four weeks. All 50 patients reported significant improvements in symptoms including diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain.
Furthermore at the beginning of the trial, 76% of the patients had mucus in their stools which dropped to zero after four weeks of treatment while those who experienced painful bowel movements also decreased dramatically. (1)
While the trial had certain limitations including the lack of a placebo group, the researchers were encouraged by the results and concluded that cumin essential oil may be a cheap and effective option for treating all of the symptoms of IBS.
2. For the Skin
Black cumin seed oil has long been used to treat a variety of skin conditions and for overall skin care and many people claim that cumin essential oil can also help maintain the health and appearance of the skin.
Cumin essential oil has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities that can help treat acne and other skin complaints caused by bacterial infection. It also contains potent antioxidant properties that can help rejuvenate the skin and stall those nasty signs that we are aging.
Be aware that cumin essential oil is considered phototoxic and as such may cause sensitivity when exposed to sunlight. You are advised to avoid exposing your skin to direct sunlight for at least 24 hours following application.
3. For Female Hormones and Menstruation
Cumin essential oil has emmenagogue properties meaning that it helps stimulate the flow of blood to the uterus and pelvic region. Cumin essential oil can help balance hormones and encourage regular menstruation.
It also increases levels of estrogen and helps to strengthen the uterus. The phytoestrogens found in cumin essential oil help strengthen the bones which is invaluable in women suffering from osteoporosis following the menopause.
Because it has carminative and anti-spasmodic properties, cumin oil can also help deal with some of the symptoms of the monthly cycle like cramping and bloating.
4. For Respiration
Cumin essential oil has expectorant properties which coupled with its antimicrobial qualities make it ideal for treating congestion and other breathing problems caused by the cold, flu, bronchitis and even asthma.
- When inhaled either directly or from a steam treatment cumin essential oil can help loosen the mucus and phlegm which builds up in the respiratory tract and causes congestion.
5. For Improved Digestion
Cumin essential oil can help stimulate the appetite by activating the saliva glands and stimulating the secretion of the mouth’s saliva. It also has carminative properties and anti-spasmodic actions that can help settle the stomach and relieve cramping and abdominal pain.
As we have already seen, there is scientific evidence that cumin essential oil can help relieve many of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome including diarrhea, constipation and irregular bowel movement. It also works by stimulating the production of gastric juices and bile necessary for efficient digestion.
6. For Cuts and Wounds
Because of its antibacterial properties, cumin essential oil can be applied to the skin to prevent infection following burns, bites and minor cuts. You should be careful however not to apply cumin oil to an open wound.
7. Emotional Wellbeing
As well as its physical benefits, cumin essential oil can be diffused or inhaled to help calm the mind and relieve nerves. If you are prone to panic attacks or general stresses, inhaling this warm, fragrant oil can help relax the mind and generate positivity.
There is also evidence that cumin essential oil can help improve memory and focus which makes it a great option during examination time or at times when you are overloaded at work.
When you massage cumin essential oil into your body, it increases the flow of blood to your muscles which can help restore health to your muscles and joints after a long day on your feet or a period of exercise.
Make sure that you dilute your cumin oil with a soothing carrier oil before massaging it into your skin. Alternatively, why not add a few drops to your bath and let the oil do its work.
How to use Cumin Essential Oil
Cumin essential oil can be used alone but it blends very well with lavender, rosemary, rosewood and cardamom essential oils. There are several ways to use this oil depending on your reasons for using it. Some of the most common uses include the following:
- Massage: dilute the oil with a carrier oil and massage it into your body to treat aching muscles and improve circulation.
- Diffuse: add a few drops to your diffuser machine to improve emotional well-being and fight stress.
- Inhalation: inhale from the bottle or from a steam treatment to help congestion and ease respiratory problems.
- Skin treatment: dilute a little cumin oil with water or a carrier oil and apply it to your skin to improve your appearance and treat acne.
- Soothing bath: a few drops in your bath can help with numerous conditions including emotional, circulatory and muscle support.
Side Effects and Precautions
- Cumin essential oil can be ingested in small quantities but you should only do so under expert guidance.
- Dilute your cumin essential oil before applying it topically.
- Cumin essential oil can cause photo-sensitivity. Avoid exposure of your skin to sunlight for 24 hours after application.
- Pregnant women should avoid using cumin essential oil as it may be unsafe for the fetus.