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A Guide To Cumin Essential Oil and Its Benefits and Uses

A Guide To Cumin Essential Oil and Its Benefits and Uses | On top, aromatherapy supplies. On bottom, cumin seeds and oil.

While cumin is best known as a culinary spice, cumin essential oil (Cuminum cyminum) may help calm nerves, relieve muscle aches and pains, and reduce some digestive complaints.

Basic Cumin Facts

Plant family: Umbelliferae/Apiaceae

Production: Steam distilled from the seeds of the cumin plant.

Aroma: Spicy, pungent

Perfume/Aromatic note: Middle to Base

Is cumin oil safe to use during pregnancy? No.

Is cumin oil safe for children? Some sources suggest not using with children under 2 years. Otherwise, dilute well and test for skin reactions.

Cautions: May cause photosensitivity when applied to the skin. Do not expose skin to UV rays for at least 12 hours after applying the oil. May irritate sensitive skin.

When you buy cumin oil, check the method of extraction. If the oil is cold-pressed or expeller-pressed, it is a carrier oil (vegetable oil) and not an essential oil. Most cumin essential oil is steam distilled, although a CO2-extracted version is available.

Main components:

cuminaldehyde
gamma-terpinene
beta-pinene
p-cymene    

Source: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed.

19.8-40.0%
11.2-32.0%
4.4-17.7%
5.9-17.5%

Benefits Of Cumin Essential Oil

Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art says that in Ayurveda cumin is believed to stimulate saliva and other digestive juices and relieve digestive-related headaches. "The fragrance counteracts emotional and physical exhaustion and helps instill stability."

Aromatherapy for Dummies: Cumin may help reduce fungus.

Essential Oils: All Natural Remedies
: Cumin is stimulating and lessens fatigue, calms nerves and lifts spirits, and eases digestive discomfort.

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: Use cumin for muscle aches and pains, indigestion, flatulence, headaches, and nervous exhaustion.

Aromatherapy For Health Professionals: Cumin may fight fungus and inflammation, is calming, and is useful for the digestive system.

A small study suggested cumin might help relieve the symptoms of IBS. The study used cumin extract containing 2% essential oil orally. Caution: Consult a professional before using an essential oil internally.

Cumin Oil Uses

Diffuse cumin to help relieve fatigue and raise spirits.

Make a warming massage oil to relieve joint pain and muscle aches or to rub on your abdomen for digestive complaints. Dilute to less than 0.5%.

For cellulite, aromatherapy expert Danièle Ryman suggests the following massage oil:

  • 1 tablespoon almond oil
  • 2 drops wheatgerm oil
  • 2 to 3 drops orange or lemon essential oil
  • 8 drops cumin

Blend ingredients. Use the oil blend to massage areas of cellulite.
Caution: Spot test this oil before using on a large area. Avoid sun or tanning bed for at least 12 to 24 hours after applying the oil.


Photo Credits: Cumin oil by Itineranttrader [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]; Cumin seed by Maša Sinreih in Valentina Vivod (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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