Cumin seeds are used as a spice for their distinctive flavour and aroma. In India, cumin has been used for millennia as a traditional ingredient of innumerable kormas, masalas, soups and other spiced gravies.
Cumin seeds have an aromatic odour and bitter taste. It is used as a condiment, and is an ingredient in curry powders, seasonings of breads, cakes and cheese. Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. It adds an earthy and warm feeling to food, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as spiced gravies.
It is also used as an ingredient in some pickles and pastries. It is globally popular and an essential flavouring in many cuisines, particularly South Asian, Northern African and Latin American cuisines. In Sanskrit, cumin is known as jiraka. Jira means "that which helps digestion". In medicine, it is used as a stimulant, carminative, stomachic and astringent.