This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Cyminum Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. Cu-mninum semine longiore C. B. Cuminum Cyminum Linn. Cummin: an umbelliferous plant, re-sembling fennel, but much smaller; producing longish, slender, plano-convex seeds, of a brownish colour with yellowish striae. It is annual; a native of Egypt and Ethiopia; and cultivated in the islands of Sicily and Malta, from whence we are supplied with the seeds.
Cummin seeds have a bitterish warm taste, accompanied with an aromatic flavour, but not agreeable. They give out great part of their smell by infusion in water, but very little of their taste: in distillation with water, a pungent oil arises, of a strong ungrateful flavour like that of the seeds: the decoction, infpiffated, leaves a weakly roughish bitterish extract. Rectisied spi-rit takes up the whole virtues of the cummin by infusion, and leaves them nearly uninjured in evaporation: the infpiffated mass is very warm, moderately pungent, and not a little nauseous.
These seeds are accounted good carminatives and stomachics; but have now, in great mea-sure, given place, for these purposes, to medicines of a more grateful kind. Their principal ufe is in external applications, as a warm discu-tient and antiseptic: the college of London have given a compound plaster and cataplasm of cummin.