Encyclopedia > Cumin

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The spice Cumin is an annual, umbelliferous[?], herbaceous plant, indigenous to Upper Egypt, but early cultivated in Arabia, India and China, and in the countries bordering the mediterranean. It belongs to the parsley or carrot family, Apiaceae.

Its stem is slender and branching and about a foot in height; the leaves are multifid. with filiform segments; the flowers are small and white. The fruits or achenes[?], the so-called seeds, which constitute the spice cumin, are fusiform or ovoid in dhape, and compressed laterally. They are hotter to the taste, lighter in colour and larger than caraway.

It is used as an ingredient of curry powder[?]. In herbal medicine, it is regarded as stimulant and carminative.

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