Cumin is the dried, white fruit with the greyish brown colour of a small slender annual herb. The surface of the fruit has 5 primary ridges, alternatively has 4 less distinct secondary ridges bearing numerous short hairs.
The plant is 15 to 50 cm high. The aromatic seed like fruit is elongated, ovoid, 3 to 6 mm long, slightly bitter and has a warm flavour. The flowers are white or rose coloured in small umbels.
Cumin seed has an aromatic odour and bitter taste. It is used as a condiment and is an ingredient in curry powders, seasonings of bread, cakes and cheese. It is employed in native dishes of Central and South America.
In medicine, it is used as a stimulant, carminative, stomachic and astringent. Cumin seed oil is used in perfumery and for flavouring liqueurs and cordials.