Did you know Cumin was used in the ancient Egyptian mummification process? Marcus Antoninus 16th emperor of Rome was given a nickname that referenced the herb as someone miserly must have eaten cumin, and symbolized excessive desire. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist who lived between 23 AD and 79 AD was said to have listed Cumin as “the best appetizer of all condiments.”
The history of Cumin goes back over 5000 years. from Iran and the Mediterranean. Cumin is a small seed that comes from the Cuminum cyminum herb, a member of the parsley family. This seed has a distinct flavor, and warm aroma. It is a major ingredient in chili powder as well as curry powder. According to the Bible, Cumin had such a powerful medicinal value that it could be used as money!
Cumin has an overpowering smell and should be used very sparingly. Yet it is considered non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing. It does have photo-toxic qualities, so it should not be used when the skin will be exposed to sunlight. Photosensitization, and photo-toxicity can occur when certain essential oils react when exposed to Ultraviolet UVA light. Inflammation, blistering, and reddening/burning of the skin are common.
Cumin is useful as a warming oil and helps relieve muscular pains and osteoarthritis. In the digestive system, it is a stimulant that helps with colic, dyspepsia, flatulence, bloating and indigestion. For the nervous system, it is a tonic, and has a beneficial effect on headaches, migraines, and nervous exhaustion.
Did you know the word clove comes from the French word clov, meaning nail? Clove essential oil is the oil of boundaries helping people to let go of their victim mentality. Clove can assist us in letting go of regular displays of self-betrayal and emotional reliance on a partner by reconnecting them with their personal strong moral values. Clove gives the pushover the power to say “no”.
Each unopened flower bud of the clove tree becomes a clove bud, a tropical evergreen member of the Myrtle family. A clove tree, known botanically as Eugenia aromatica, may live 100 years. They begin producing fruit at seven years and come into full maturity around 25 years. The average crop yield is eight pounds although each year is different. The trees are native to the Moluccas, also known as the Spice Islands.
As early as 200 BC, the Chinese used cloves to freshen their breath during audiences with the emperor. During the late Middle Ages, cloves were used in Europe to preserve, flavor, and garnish food. Clove cultivation was almost entirely confined to Indonesia, because the Dutch government had a monopoly on this valuable spice. Later In the 18th century, the French smuggled cloves from the East Indies to Indian Ocean islands and the New World, breaking the Dutch monopoly on this prized spice.
Clove has been used for years in dental preparations,candy, and gum for its flavor and ability to promote oral health, yet it provides a myriad of health benefits. Its main chemical component, eugenol, makes it a very stimulating and energizing essential oil that can promote blood circulation and benefit cardiovascular health.Due to its high phenol content, caution should be taken when inhaling Clove directly and it should be diluted when applied to the skin. As a cooking spice, Clove adds a spicy flavor to any dish or dessert while providing internal health benefits.
Did you know a lot of chronological Indian content mention Cardamom as a flavoring agent and medicine? There are recipes of sherbets and rice dishes flavored with Cardamom. Cardamom became an object of trade with South Asia in the last thousand years when Arab traders brought it into extensive use. Exports from the Malabar shore, close to where Cardamom’s grew untamed, were portrayed by the Portuguese traveler, Barbosa, in 1524. By the time of Garcia DA Orta in 1563, the worldwide trade in Cardamom’s was finely urbanized. Kerala continued to dominate the cardamom trade until the colonial era.
It was bought by the Raja’s administrators from India, and some of it was sold to Muslim merchants while the most excellent quality was sold abroad. In the 19th century British settlement established Cardamom as a secondary crop in coffee agricultural in further parts of India. But it’s Guatemala, which only started growing the spice in the 1920s, that’s the biggest commercial producer today, overtaking India and Sri Lanka. In some parts of Guatemala, it has even overtaken coffee as its most valuable crop!
Cardamom is largely used in South Asia and South America it has been known to help teeth and gums issues, to help control and take care of throat troubles, congestion of the lungs, inflammation of eyelids and also digestive disorders. It is also used to break up kidney stones and gall stones, and was apparently used as an antidote for venom from both snakes, and scorpions.
Coriander and cilantro come from the same plant. The word coriander can be used to describe the entire plant: leaves, stems, seeds, and all. Most people are referring to the spice produced from the seeds of the coriander plant. The leaves of the plant are commonly called cilantro, which comes from the Spanish word for coriander.
The change in names is very appropriate, since the plant’s leaves and the ripened seeds taste totally different. Cilantro on the other hand is a little too different for many more delicate taste buds, unfortunately. Most people either enjoy or greatly dislike the taste, but I can see why some people argue that it’s an acquired taste.
It’s a different story for the seeds. Coriander is an extremely popular spice with a pleasing aroma and lemony flavor, found in many recipes. Little is known about the origins of the coriander plant, although it is generally thought to be native to the Mediterranean and parts of southwestern Europe.
More recently, coriander plants were known to be growing in Massachusetts by the early 1600’s, one of the first herbs grown by the American colonists. Coriander essential oil promotes digestion and eases stomach upset, aids in a healthy insulin response, soothes joint and muscle pain. Coriander essential oil is also know for toning and rejuvenating to the skin.