Cumin is an ingredient commonly used in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes as well as Mexican dishes. It is an essential ingredient in curry and is also hailed for its medicinal properties.
Cumin is a member of the parsley family, and the spice is actually a dried fruit that is available in white, black or amber, although the color of the seed is not significant to its usage and different colors can be used interchangeably. Cumin is known to have positive effects on breathing and lung disorders. It also aids in digestion.
Cumin is also very high in iron. Two teaspoons contain 16 percent of the USDA daily recommended amount of iron intake. Cumin was first cultivated in Egypt, though it is now grown in many countries all over the world. In ancient Egyptian society, the spice was so precious as to be used as to be a substitute for currency in trade. It was often used in place of pepper in ancient cooking because it was easier to obtain and has a similar flavor. During the Middle Ages, cumin became a symbol of love and was part of wedding ceremonies as well recipes specifically intended to insure the well being of a loved one.