The white cumin seeds/Zeera Safaid (زیرہ سفید, سفید زیرہ) are an aromatic spice with a distinctive bitter flavor and strong, warm aroma due to its abundant oil content. Cumin "seeds" are actually the small dried fruit of an annual plant in the parsley family and it is known as Cuminum Cyminum. Native to the Mediterranean, cumin is hotter to the taste, lighter in color, and larger than caraway, another spice it's sometimes confused with.
Cumin is ayurvedically known to aid digestion, dispel flatulence, and is effective when used as a poultice in relieving aches and pains. Cumin steeped with honey will dispel colds, fevers and sore throats.
Like everything else, cumin seeds too come with its set of side effects. Here are a few of them:
- Cumin seeds are known for their gas relieving properties, but ironically it can also cause one of the most common digestive problems, heartburn.
- The carminative effect of cumin seed may also cause excessive belching. Sometimes belching is referred as a ructus or burping, which involves excess bloating and gas from the intestinal tract and stomach escaping through the mouth. Belching has sometimes a bad odor and characteristic sound.
- Oil present in cumin seed are highly volatile and can cause liver and kidney damage if one consumes cumin seed in large amount for a long period of time.
- Cumin seeds may have an abortifacient effect on pregnant women. This means that consuming large amounts of cumin seeds can lead to a miscarriage or induce premature labor.
- Cumin seed has narcotic properties. Cumin seeds should be consumed with caution as it can become addictive. Other side effects of cumin seed are mental clouding, drowsiness and nausea.
- Cumin seeds may lead to heavy bleeding during menstruation. If cumin seeds are consumed in large amounts, then you can blame your heavier than usual periods on them!
- Consuming cumin seeds in large amounts can lower the blood sugar level in the body. This point is important to remember if you are heading for a surgery on the near future. During surgery it is essential to maintain the blood sugar level. So your doctor may advise you to stop eating cumin seeds at least 2 weeks before surgery as your blood sugar level need to be controlled during and after surgery.
- Consumption of cumin seeds can also cause skin rashes and allergy. So people with skin allergy should consume cumin seeds in low amounts, if they must.