Black cumin (Bunium persicum)
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Bunium persicum or black cumin is a plant in the family Apiaceae. Dried B. persicum fruits are used as a culinary spice in Northern India, Tajikistan and Iran. Local names for that spice are काला जीरा (kala jeera, meaning “black cumin”) or shahi jeera (meaning “imperial cumin”) in Hindi and as زيره كوهی (zireh kuhi, meaning “wild cumin”) in Persian. It is practically unknown outside these areas, and is not to be confused with the unrelated Nigella sativa which is also often called black cumin.
In Bengali, kalo jeera also means black cumin, but refers to Nigella, not Bunium persicum. Nigella is widely used as a spice in Bengali food, while B. persicum is rare.
The plant grows wild in a wide range from southeastern Europe east to southern Asia. It reaches about 60 cm tall and 25 cm wide, bearing frilly leaves and hermaphroditic flowers, pollinated by insects and self-fertile.
The small, rounded taproot is edible raw or cooked, and said to taste like sweet chestnuts. The leaf can be used as a herb or garnish similar to parsley.
Authorities differ on whether this is the same plant as Bunium bulbocastanum, with similar characteristics and uses.
Black Cumin The healing Power and Curative Properties
The fruit is a rich source of thymol. Thymol is used as an anthelmintic against hookworm infections and also as an antiseptic in many proprietary preparations. It is a stimulant, which increases the secretion and discharge of urine and relieves flatulence. It strengthens the functions of stomach and arrests any bleeding.
Cumin seeds are very useful in digestive disorders like biliousness, morning sickness, indigestion, atonics dyspepsia, diarrhea, malabsorption syndrome, and flatulent colic. One teaspoon of cumin seeds is boiled in a glass of water and the decoction mixed with one teaspoon of fresh coriander leaf juice and a pinch of salt. This decoction can be taken twice daily after meals as a medicine for diarrhea.