Cumin seed (E), Jira (H):
This small shrubby annual thrives in dry conditions. It counteracts dampness and excessively wet conditions in the body. Its Sanskrit name literally means 'promoting digestion' and it is a superb addition to any formula when there is a compromised digestive system.
Digestion One of the best herbs for digestive sluggishness. Used as a flavouring in cooking to help the absorption of nutrients. Specifically implicated in bloating, gurgling, slow digestion from disturbed vata and kapha. Also of benefit if vata is rebelling upwards and causing nausea or indigestion. It corrects the flow of vata and directs the wind downwards. Its heating post-digestive property implies that it absorbs fluids from the large intestine; it is constipative when there is diarrhoea. Lungs Because it digests ama it can be of use in counteracting catarrh and excess avalambaka kapha on the chest. It regulates the movement of udana and prana vayu in the chest and helps to relieve tightness. Gynaecology Its direct effect on rasa dhatu sends its beneficial properties straight to the uterus and female reproductive system. It reduces uterine inflammation and pain and also dries any excess discharge. Like many Umbelliferae family seeds it benefits stanyasrotas and the production of breast milk.