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Israel Environment & Nature: Cumin

CUMIN (Heb. כַּמּוֹן, kammon; Isa. 28:25, 27), the spice Cuminum cyminum.

In mishnaic times cumin grew extensively in Ereẓ Israel and was even exported (Dem. 1:1), the local variety being superior to that of Cyprus (TJ, Dem. 2:1, 22b). It was used as a spice for eating with bread, and it was popular though it was regarded as a luxury and was excluded from the commodities which it was forbidden to hoard in years of famine (BB 90b). Since cumin was effective in stemming the flow of blood, it was used to stem bleeding caused by circumcision (Shab. 19:2) and the menstrual flow (Shab. 110b). Today cumin is occasionally grown as a condiment in Ereẓ Israel. It scatters its seeds and thus grows wild in a number of places.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.