ScienceDaily (May 19, 2011) — Bitter cumin is used extensively in traditional medicine to treat a range of diseases from vitiligo to hyperglycemia. It is considered to be antiparasitic and antimicrobial and science has backed up claims of its use to reduce fever or as a painkiller. New research published in BioMedCentral’s open access journalBMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine shows that this humble spice also contains high levels of antioxidants.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS), also known as free radicals, are produced as part of the metabolic processes necessary for life. Oxidative stress, however, is caused by overproduction or under-removal of these free radicals. Oxidative stress is itself involved in a number of disorders, including atherosclerosis, neural degenerative disease, inflammation, cancer and aging. Antioxidants are thought to mop up these free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and prevent disease.
Phenolic compounds from plants, especially polyphenolic compounds, are often considered to be antioxidants. Researchers from Mysore, India, have used biochemical and biological techniques to show that seeds from bitter cumin (Centratherum anthelminticum (L.) Kuntze), a member of the daisy family, are a rich source of phenolic antioxidants.