If you love cumin or jeera, then you are going to love cumin essential oil. Cumin is a spice found in curry powder, adobos and masala seasonings. And it is traditionally used to aid digestion and ease headaches.
Now, cumin essential oil also has a range of wonderful benefits. Or rather, a range of wonderful, proven benefits! What are they? Find out below along with the properties and uses of cumin essential oil.
Properties of Cumin Essential Oil
The botanical name for cumin is Cuminum cyminum. Look out for this name when buying the essential oil.
Now, you may also come across black cumin essential oil. Black cumin’s botanical name is Nigella sativa and its essential oil has a totally different chemical composition to cumin’s. So know that cumin and black cumin essential oils are not the same oil.
Color & Scent of cumin essential oil
The color of this essential oil can range from colorless to deep yellow. Note, the deeper the color, the older the essential oil is. So you will want to buy the oil before it starts developing this deep color.
Cumin essential oil smells very similar to the spice itself. So think of the smell as earthy, strong, sharp, and spicy.
What’s in the oil?
The main compound in this essential oil is cuminaldehyde. It can make up anywhere from 45% to 65%.
Other important compounds in cumin oil include alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, gamma-cymene, p-cymene, gamma-terpinene, limonene, eucalyptol, linalool, linalyl acetate, alpha-terpineole and safranal.
Benefits of Cumin Essential Oil
The proven health benefits of cumin essential oil include:
- neutralizes free radicals
- reduces inflammation
- kills bacteria
- kills fungi
- repels and kills insects
- repels and kills spiders, mites and ticks
It may be antioxidant
There are a few studies that show cumin essential oil may be a strong antioxidant. Case in point – this 2016 study. It tested five essential oils including thyme, roman chamomile, ginger and cumin. The results? All essential oils had strong antioxidant activity. But thyme and roman chamomile’s effects were actually stronger than cumin’s.
Similar antioxidant benefits were also demonstrated in a 2015 study. In this study, bay, black pepper, coriander, cumin, ginger, and turmeric essential oils were all tested. The interesting thing about this study is that it found combining cumin and coriander essential oils was far more antioxidant that each individual oil. So if you’re considering cumin for its antioxidant benefits, why not pair it with coriander essential oil?
Now, just note, these lab tests and results are wonderful. But the human body and its interactions are incredibly complex. So, unless clinical trials are done, we cannot say for sure that this essential oil can effectively neutralize the free radicals on your skin or in your body. Hence, cumin essential oil MAY have antioxidant benefits.
It may be anti-inflammatory
According to this 2015 study, cumin oil may also have anti-inflammatory effects. For this study, the researchers actually used several techniques on animal cells. And they showed that the oil significantly inhibited several enzymes that cause inflammation. Amazing right?
The researchers went on to recommend further studies to prove that cumin essential oil could be a source of anti-inflammatory agents.
It is antibacterial
This is one benefit of cumin oil that has a lot of research to back it up.
Take a look at this 2013 study. It tested the essential oils of cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, and clove against multidrug resistant, clinical bacteria like Salmonella typhi, Salmonella paratyphi A, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Bacillus licheniformis. The results showed that all essential oils had antibacterial effects. But cinnamon was the best antibacterial oil in the study.
Another study, done in 2011, also looked at the antibacterial activity of another set of essential oils like rosemary, coriander, cumin and peppermint. Again, the results showed that all the essential oils – including cumin – had exceptional antibacterial benefits.
It is antifungal
Cumin essential oil is also antifungal. And just as before, this benefit has a lot of scientific proof to back it up. Here’s the 2016 study mentioned in #1 that showed cumin had strong anti-fungal activity. But, just as before, thyme was stronger than cumin.
Another study done in 2014 investigated cumin essential oil alone against 1,230 fungal samples obtained from food. And it found that cumin oil at concentrations of 0.5 microlitres per milliliter showed inhibitory effects against the fungal samples. Awesome!
It is insecticidal
Here’s another great benefit of cumin essential oil. It kills insects, kills their larvae, and keeps them away. Yay! No bugs!
I’m sure this 2012 study will give you something to cheer about. It tested 11 essential oils against adult german cockroaches (Blattella germanica). And it showed that cumin, plus dill, caraway and ajowan essential oils had strong insecticidal activities against the cockroaches. The study also pointed to eucalyptol, cuminaldehyde, p-cymene, and gamma-terpinene as the compounds responsible for these effects.
Another great study done in 2008 showed similar benefits. It tested ajowan, black cumin, black pepper, cumin, dill, nutmeg and star anise on the pulse beetle (Callosobruchus chinensis) and its eggs. The results were interesting. Cumin killed the beetles, reduced egg hatching and inhibited the development of the beetles. But, you should know black cumin and dill essential oils were found to be stronger than cumin.
Still, cumin is pretty impressive.
But that’s not all. It can also kill larvae. At least, that is according to this 2015 study which used the larvae of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). Actually, the study showed that ajowan, caraway, carrot seed, celery, cumin and parsley essential oils killed more than 90% of the larvae tested. Cumin essential oil, along with celery and parsley, were also detected in the larvae infested water two days after their application. So it is a persistent larvicidal agent!
Another interesting thing this study found was the compounds – cuminaldehyde, gamma-terpinene, limonene, and p-cymene – all exhibited larvicidal benefits.
It can kill spiders and ticks too
A 2011 study looked at the effects of allspice, basil and cumin essential oils on the larvae of cattle ticks (Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus). The oils were used at concentrations ranging from 1.25% to 20% and cumin exhibited the best tick-killing benefits even at the very low concentrations. The study went on to suggest using the essential oil as a means of tick control.
What did you think of all these cumin essential oil benefits? Isn’t the oil something special?
Uses of Cumin Essential Oil
This oil is incredibly powerful. You have seen that from all of its benefits. But its smell is also powerful. So you should use this essential oil at very low concentrations.
That’s not all. It has been reported that the oil has some phototoxic effects. What does that mean? Well, if you blend the oil with your favorite carrier oil and apply it to your skin and go out into the sun, you are very likely to get a very bad sunburn, maybe even dark spots. And these take some time to clear up. Plus, the oil may cause your skin to become very sensitive. So my recommendation is that you should not use this essential oil on your skin.
But the precautions don’t stop there. You should not use the oil if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking any medications or suffering from any ailments. And, I can’t stress this enough, please talk to your doctor before you start using this or any other essential oil.
Bottom line – use cumin essential oil by inhaling it occasionally. And you can add in caraway, roman chamomile and other spicy oils too.
Where to buy cumin essential oil?