Cumin

The dried, ripe fruits of an annual herb of the parsley family, cumin is aromatic, warm, heavy, spicy and bitter. Used by Egyptians for mummifying bodies, Pliny refers to cumin as a good appetiser and it is said to aid digestion. Cumin is a key constituent of curry powder. A study in Israel has observed that people who eat greater amounts of cumin have less bladder cancer than those who have lower intakes. It is possible that this cancer-protective effect comes from cumins ability to increase the activity of the detoxifying enzyme glutathione-S-transferase. Evidence to date of cumins ability to fight cancer is suggestive rather than conclusive.