This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics - Vegetable Kingdom", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica And Therapeutics: Vegetable Kingdom.
Active Ingredients. - The properties of cumin depend on a volatile oil, which is of a pale yellow color, limpid, and lighter than water. It is a mixture of cuminol and cymol. Cuminol, C10H12O, isomeric with anise oil, is a colorless oil with a sharp burning taste, and a strong smell like caraway. It is insoluble in water, readily soluble in alcohol and ether. Cymol, C10H14, is a colorless oil, strongly refractive of light, with an unpleasant, camphor-like smell. It is insoluble in water, readily soluble in alcohol, ether, and fats.
Physiological Action. - Cumin oil has acquired an altogether unexpected degree of importance from having been made the subject of the researches of Grisar, already referred to under chamomile oil. Grisar experimented with the oil on frogs, in the same manner as when testing chamomile oil. He came to the conclusion that cumin oil very markedly depresses reflex excitability, though its action is on the whole weaker than that of the other substances experimented with. He also proved the power of cumin oil to antagonize the tetanic excitement of strychnia in a decided manner.
Therapeutic Action. - The use of cumin in medicine has heretofore been confined to its employment as a carminative, but the above-mentioned experiments of Grisar will doubtless cause it to be tested for the purpose of reducing reflex excitability in its various forms, as mentioned under chamomile.
Preparations And Dose. - Cumin is not officinal; the oil ought alone to be used in doses of from two to eight minims, with sugar, or in an emulsion.