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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Volatile Oils

It consists of dried ripe fruits of Cuminum cyminum Linn., belonging to family Umbelliferae.






Jira, cumin fruit.


Biological Source


It consists of dried ripe fruits of Cuminum cyminum Linn., belonging to family Umbelliferae.


Geographical Source


It is indigenous to Nile territory. It is cultivated in Morocco, Sicily, India, Syria, and China. In India, except Assam and West Bengal, it is cultivated in all states. About 90% of the world production is from India, and most of it comes from Rajasthan and Gujarat.




It is brown-coloured, ridges are light in colour, characteristic and aromatic odour and having characteristic and aromatic taste. It is 4–6 mm in length and about 2 mm thick, elongated, and tapering at both ends. Each mericarp is having fine longitudinal ridges. Alternating with these are secondary ridges which are flat and bear conspicuous emergences.


                   Cuminum cyminum



The transverse section of mericarp exhibits an oily endosperm and six vittae, of which four are on dorsal surface and two on ventral surface. The large pluriserial hairs, characteristic to it, are present.


Chemical Constituents


Cumin fruits contain 2.5–4% volatile oil, 10% fixed oil, and proteins. Volatile oil mainly consists of 30–50% cuminaldehyde, small quantities of α-pinene, β-pinene, phellandrene, cuminic alcohol, hydrated cuminaldehyde, and hydro-cuminine.





Cumin fruits are used as carminative, stimulant and in diarrhoea. The oil of cumin is used to flavor curries and other culinary preparations, confectionary, beverages, and cordials.


Marketed Products


It is one of the ingredients of the preparations known as Lukol (Himalaya Drug Company), Hajmola (Dabur), K.G. Tone (Aimil Pharmaceuticals), and M2-tone syrup (Charak Pharma Pvt. Ltd.).


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