In a study that was published in the BioMed Central journal Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a team of scientists found that bitter cumin seeds contain a wide array of phenolic compounds, making the spice a powerful antioxidant.
Moreover, bitter cumin has been shown to be effective in treating diseases like vitiligo and hyperglycemia, and has antiparasitic and antimicrobial properties. Previous studies have revealed that the spice may also be effective in treating fever and pain.
Indian researchers examined bitter cumin using biochemical and biological methods. They found that it helped to eliminate free radicals and to protect DNA.
“The antioxidant activity of bitter cumin correlated with total phenol content so it may well be that an array of phenolic compounds within bitter cumin seeds are responsible for the antioxidant activity seen,” said co-author Kamatham A. Naidu.
Authors of the study noted that oxidative stress — which stems from an overabundance of free radicals in the body — can lead to atherosclerosis, neural degenerative diseases, inflammation, cancer and aging.
Bitter cumin, or Glinus oppositifolius, has been traditionally used in Malian culture to treat wounds, inflammation, ulcers, fever, malaria and other immunological conditions, according to the Oxford Journals.