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Are cumin and curcumin the same thing?


Q. Dear Terry, “Are cumin and curcumin the same thing? I’m confused because their names are so similar.” — Marcia M., Chicago, IL

A. Dear Marcia, While cumin and curcumin sound incredibly similar, they are actually from two different plants. Curcumin is derived from the spice turmeric and is traditionally grown in India. There are numerous varieties of cumin that grow all over the world, but black cumin (often called black seed oil) may be the most potent medicinal species of cumin. I believe that both curcumin (Curcuma longa) and black cumin (Nigella sativa) offer numerous health benefits.

In Middle Eastern and Asian traditional medicine, black seed oil (black cumin) was prescribed as a tonic for virtually everything, including respiratory diseases, infections, digestive disorders, muscle pain, and many other conditions. In fact, one of the old sayings about black seed oil was that it “cured everything but death.” Black seed oil contains a compound called thymoquinone which has been shown to be anticancer, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and also shown to protect the brain and memory, and stop pain.

Curcumin has also been shown to have numerous health benefits, including those listed above. I believe curcumin really shines when it comes to cancer prevention and treatment. There are over 10,000 published studies on curcumin and its applications for diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, psoriasis, diabetes, IBS/IBD, Fibromyalgia, and many others. Because curcumin is poorly absorbed, I prefer curcumin that is enhanced with turmeric essential oil.

For general health and maintenance, you could take black seed oil or curcumin daily.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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