Bitter Cumin: Is This Spice a Great Antioxidant?

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Following along with many herbal remedies that are discovered in your spice cabinet, the next great herbal cure has been discovered. It is cumin, in particular “bitter cumin” and researchers have found it to have exceedingly high levels of antioxidants. For that reason, it helps the body prevent disease.Following along with many herbal remedies that are discovered in your spice cabinet, the next great herbal cure has been discovered. It is cumin, in particular “bitter cumin” and researchers have found it to have exceedingly high levels of antioxidants. For that reason, it helps the body prevent disease.

Plant phenols are natural substances known to have great antioxidant potential in the body. Cumin, it turns out, is a great source of these phenols. It is used quite a bit by traditional healers to treat a range of diseases from vitiligo (loss of pigment in areas of the skin) to hyperglycemia (high levels of blood sugar).

Bitter cumin is considered to have actions against parasites and microorganisms, and there is scientific evidence of its use to reduce fever or actions as a painkiller. The study study appears in the journal “BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine” and illustrates how the humble cumin is flowing with disease-preventing antioxidants.

Let’s take a moment and fresh on what “free radicals” are and why they can be dangerous. They are also known as “reactive oxygen species” and they are naturally produced as part of the metabolic processes necessary for life. “Oxidative stress”, however, is caused by overproduction or under-removal of these free radicals. Thus, there are too many free radicals in the bloodstream. Oxidative stress is itself involved in a number of disorders, including plaque in the arteries, neural disease, inflammation, cancer and accelerating the aging process.

Antioxidants are thought to mop up these free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and prevent disease. Phenolic compounds from plants are often considered to be antioxidants. Researchers have used special techniques to show that seeds from bitter cumin — whose plant is a member of the daisy family — is a rich source of phenolic antioxidants.

They found bitter cumin extracts to be “strong antioxidants” in the free radical scavenging system. They also seemed to protect DNA cells from damage, which is a serious cause of cancer.

Find bitter cumin in your local health store.


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Dr. Victor Marchione, MD

About the Author, Browse Victor's Articles

Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The... Read Full Bio »