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Better harmony through proper herbing

SoVaNow.com / January 17, 2013
The original black cumin, Carum bulbocastanum, ketzah in Hebrew and babbatussada or babba soda IN Arabic, is one of the herbs of the Bible but is rarely available today, if at all, so black cumin, Nigella sativa, is used instead. This herb is not to be confused with cumin, Cuminum cyminum, which is sold in the grocery stores and used in cooking today. As with all “herbs” of the Bible there is much confusion about the exact plant mentioned.

In Deuteronomy 14:22, it is commanded “You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year”. The tithing of herbs including cumin dated back to Mosaic law and continued well into the middle ages.

Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others”.

Black Cumin was used in ancient Egypt as a condiment, for medicinal and for fragrance purposes. It is mentioned in texts in medieval England. It was a symbol of greed to the ancient Greeks. The Romans said that Marcus Aurelius was nicknamed cumin because of a “pronounced cupidity”. Reference: An Herb and Spice Cook Book by Craig Claiborne.

Black cumin seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. The Cummins or Cummings or Comyn clans of Scotland derived their name from the Norman nickname which came from the herb cumin. Reference: The Brick Church on Timber Ridge, by Dr. George West Diehl, about the history of Augusta and Rockbridge County Virginia.

Nigella sativa seeds are used as a “cure all” because of its many chemical constituents. They tend to aid digestion and relieve gases in the stomach and intestines by aiding peristalsis and elimination. The essential oil of black cumin is antimicrobial and helps to rid the intestines of worms. It is used for autoimmune disorders, conditions in which patients suffer greatly because their own systems attack their bodies. Black cumin, especially when combined with garlic, is regarded as a harmonizer of the imbalance which allows immune cells to destroy healthy cells. Research is continuing on the products. One would be advised to consult a licensed naturopath or herbalist if looking to use herbs as medicine.

This small annual plant has long, narrow and segmented leaves which reveal clusters of pale blue or white flowers. According to the USDA, the plant is grown in central Asia, Iraq and Turkey. It grows about a foot tall. The flowers are pale blue or white, with five to ten pedals. The fruit is a large, inflated capsule which has three to seven united follicles. Each contains numerous seeds. There is a plant called Love in a Mist, Nigella damascena, readily available in stores and recommended for flower gardens but is not related to black cumin.

The original black cumin such as found in Tutankhamun’s tomb is not available today. However, Nigella sativa oil and seeds are available on the Internet. Many substitutions for the original black cumin are purported to be Nigella sativa. Other cumin plants and seeds can be found, too, but not the herb mentioned in the Bible. Cumin, Cuminum cyminum is available through herb growers as plants and ground cumin is sold as a spice in grocery stores. It is an ingredient in curry powders and in Mexican foods. Seeds can be used whole, crushed or roasted for cooking. The spice adds flavor and eliminates flatulence when added to beans.

A special thought – Black Cumin is considered the harmonizer of imbalance.. Think about something in your life that is currently out of balance and make a plan to restore harmony.



Mushroom Sauce with Cumin

The sauce is for pasta, tortillas, chicken and turkey.



1 cup cut up fresh mushrooms (Your favorite variety)

Butter

2 Tbsp flour

2 cups milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1 Tbsp coriander

1 Tbsp Cumin



Sauté mushrooms in butter.

Move aside and add flour to the melted butter until paste forms.

Gradually stir in milk and whisk until thickened.

Add sour cream, coriander and cumin.

Cheese may be added to the sauce.



The Southside Virginia Herb Society is a group of local enthusiasts interested in learning and sharing knowledge of gardening, crafting and cooking with herbs. Members come from Halifax, Mecklenburg, Lunenburg and Charlotte Counties. We meet on the second Saturday of the month. For more information contact Kathy at 434-454-4208 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)



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