Cumin essential oil is extracted from a plant that is scientifically known as Cuminum cyminum (L). The plant has been used as an aromatic herb, spice, and as a natural food preservative. It has also been used to add flavor to foods, salad, and dairy products. Consequently, cumin is used in the food industry as a natural food preservative (Johri, 2011).
In addition, research findings indicate that cumin exhibits various pharmacological properties including antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and analgesic properties (Sharifi et al., 2021).
Following are some benefits and uses of cumin essential oil as retrieved from various sources of literature.
According to a study carried out by Saee et al. (2016), cumin essential oil was shown to inhibit growth and proliferation of bacterial strains responsible for causing urinary tract infections.
The bacterial strains examined in the study included Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus faecalis, group A streptococci, Streptococcus agalactiae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Escherichia coli. These isolates were extracted from 94 patients with urinary tract infections.
The study established that cumin oil demonstrated better antibacterial activity on the uro-pathogen isolates than amoxicillin, an antibiotic drug.
Plant bioactive compounds, otherwise known as phytochemicals, have shown significant anticancer activity by preventing cell proliferation, angiogenesis, tumor formation, and metastasis.
According to researchers Nirmala et al. (2020), cumin nanoemulsion has ability to diminish colony formation in tongue carcinoma cell line. The nanoemulsion effectively induced apoptosis or death of cells linked to tongue cancer.
Cumin essential oil contains a biologically active antibacterial component known as cuminaldehyde. This compound has demonstrated strong antibacterial activity against some strains of food-borne pathogenic bacteria including Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella typhi (Wongkattiya et al., 2019).
Scientists have shown that cumin oil supplementation significantly reduces serum levels of insulin in patients with type 2 diabetes. In addition, cumin supplementation has been shown to significantly reduce the levels of blood fasting sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin in the said patients. Furthermore, supplementation with cumin oil has been shown to control complications of diabetes in the same patients (Jafari et al., 2016).
Cumin essential oil has shown ability to extent the shelf-life of food by acting as an anti-aflatoxin and antioxidant agent. Aflatoxin is a toxic substance produced by fungi found in stored grains such as cottonseed, corn or maize, and peanuts. The main fungi responsible for producing aflatoxin are Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus.
Consuming food contaminated with aflatoxin can cause food poisoning that may adversely affect one’s health. Such contaminated food stuffs are unfit for both human and animal consumption. The only way out is to destroy the food by burning, which means wastage and loss of revenue to the parties concerned.
Researchers have demonstrated that cumin oil shows strong inhibitory activity against a wide spectrum of food-borne fungi.
Specifically, a study conducted by Kedia et al. (2014) established that cumin oil showed strong inhibitory activity against Aspergillus flavus.
Furthermore, cumin essential oil exhibited strong antioxidant activity against the food-borne fungal isolates.
In addition, the researchers demonstrated that food samples fumigated with cumin essential oil remained protected against infection by food-borne fungi.
The continued occurrence of metabolic syndrome has posed a major health problem in many countries. This syndrome is characterized by elevated levels of blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol, blood triglyceride, and body fat around the waist. These symptoms have been identified as the risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Scientists have demonstrated that cumin essential oil supplementation can effectively reduce diastolic blood pressure in patients with metabolic syndrome. The ability to decrease diastolic blood pressure in itself plays a significant role in reducing occurrence of a heart attack, stroke, or type 2 diabetes in individuals with metabolic syndrome (Morovati et al., 2019).
Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis is defined as the occurrence of three or more episodes of symptomatic Candida vaginitis in a woman, within the span of 1 year. The condition affects less than 5% of women.
In recent years, researchers have studied use of cumin essential oil for the control of various diseases. In one such study, Minooeianhaghighi et al. (2017) explored the effect of cumin (Cuminum cyminum) and lavender (Lavandula binaludensis) essential oils on strains of Candida albicans isolated from patients with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis or recurrent Candida vaginitis.
According to the results, both C. cyminum and L. binaludensis essential oils significantly inhibited proliferation of all Candida albicans isolates retrieved from the patients with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. In addition, a combination of the two oils produced a much stronger inhibitory effect on the Candida albicans isolates. These findings imply that cumin essential oil can be used as a safer, natural alternative to the artificial synthetic chemicals currently being used for treating recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis.
According to Sharifi et al. (2021), cumin essential oil demonstrates bacteriostatic and bactericidal properties the can suppress proliferation of Staphylococcus aureus. This is a bacterium responsible for causing infections of the skin and soft tissues. In extreme cases, the bacterium can cause bloodstream infections, bone infections, pneumonia, or infections of the joints.
Researchers Abbaszadegan et al. (2016) demonstrated that cumin oil exhibits strong antimicrobial efficiency against microbial flora of teeth with failed endodontic treatments.
Research on use of plant-based bioactive components to control or treat various diseases has gained momentum in recent years. Consequently, studies on the use of essential oils to treat fascioliasis (a parasitic disease) has drawn some interest in the scientific community.
In light of this, researchers Machado et al. (2020) investigated the ovicidal in vitro activity of cumin essential oil and the fixed oil of sunflower against the common liver fluke. The results revealed that cumin essential oil is an effective ovicidal agent against the common liver fluke. Therefore, the oil is a potential natural alternative for the control of fascioliasis.
Abbaszadegan, A, Gholami, A., Ghahramani, Y., Ghareghan, R., Ghareghan, M., Kazemi, A., Iraji, A. and Ghasemi, Y. Antimicrobial and cytotoxic activity of Cumin cyminum as an intracanal medicament compared to chlorhexidine gel. Iran Endo J, 11(1), 44-50. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4731533/
Jafari, S., Sattari, R. and Ghavamzadeh, S. (2016). Evaluation of the effect of 50 and 100mg doses of Cuminum cyminum essential oil on glycemic indices, insulin resistance and serum inflammatory factors on patients with diabetes type II: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 7(3), 332-338. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28725629/
Johri, R.K. (2011). Cuminum cyminum and Carum carvi: an update. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 5(9), 63-72. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22096320/
Kedia, A., Prakash, B., Mishra, P.K. and Dubey, N.K. (2014). Antifungal and antiaflatoxigenic properties of Cuminum cyminum (L.) seed essential oil and its efficacy as a preservative in stored commodities. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 3, 168-169. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24211773/
Machado Pereira da Silva, M.A., Zehetmeyr F.K., Pereira, K.M., Pacheco, B.S., Freitag, R.A., Pinto, N.B., Machado, R.H., Villarreal, J.P., de Oliveira Hubner S., Aires Berne, M.E., da Silva Nascente, P. (2020). Ovicidal in vitro activity of the fixed oil of Helianthus annus L. and the essential oil of Cuminum cyminum L. against Fasciola hepatica (L.). Experimental Parasitology, 218. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32871143/
Minooeianhaghighi, M.H., Sepehrian, L. and Shokri, H. (2017). Antifungal effects of Lavandula binaludensis and Cuminum cyminum essential oils against Candida albicans strains from patients with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. Journal de Mycologie Medicale, 27(1), 65-71. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27751723/
Morovati, A., Gargari, B.P. and Sarbakhsh, P. (2019). Effects of cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) essential oil supplementation on metabolic syndrome components: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research, 33(12), 3261-3269. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.6500
Nirmala, M.J., Durai, L., Rao, K.A. and Nagarajan, R. (2020). Ultrasonic nanoemulsification of Cuminum cyminum essential oil and its applications in medicine. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 15, 795-807. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7008196/#
Saee, Y., Dadashi, M., Eslami, G., Gourdarzi, H., Taheri, S., Fallah, F. (2016). Evaluation of antimicrobial activity of Cuminum cyminum essential oil and extract against bacterial strains isolated from patients with symptomatic urinary tract infection. Novel. Biomed, 4, 147-152. Retrieved from: https://journals.sbmu.ac.ir/nbm/article/view/9867
Sharifi, A., Mohammadzadeh, A., Salehi, T.Z., Mahmoodi, P. and Nourian, A. (2021). Cumin cyminum L. essential oil: a promising antibacterial and antivirulence agent against multidrug-resistant staphylococcus aureus. Frontiers in Microbiology, 12, 667833. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8371328/
Wongkattiya, N., Sanguansermsri, P., Fraser, I.H. and Sanguansermsri, D. (2019). Antibacterial activity of Cuminum cyminum L. collected in Thailand. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 16(4). Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31129652/
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