(Cuminum cyminum syn. Cuminum odorum)

Planetary ruler: Mars

Element: fire

Magical virtues: love, faithfulness, fidelity


Cumin is often confused with caraway (Carum carvi), and many European languages do not differentiate between the two, so it is frequently impossible to know whether cumin or caraway is referred to in older books. In Mediaeval Europe, it was said that cumin seed prevented lovers from straying – young women gave their sweethearts bread seasoned with cumin or wine with cumin and it was baked into the loaves of bread sent with soldiers off to war.  It often featured at weddings and was believed that a happy life awaited the bride and groom who carried cumin seed throughout the wedding ceremony.


The primary magical virtues of cumin are faithfulness and fidelity. Cumin seed can be baked into cakes and breads to keep a lover faithful, added to handfasting and wedding food and wine, or pop a few seeds in your lover’s pocket.


In Greece and Rome, a dish of cumin seeds was placed on the table to be used much as pepper is today. Cumin is used as a flavouring agent in cheeses, pickles, sausages, soups, stews, curries, chilli powders, stuffing, rice and bean dishes, biscuits, cakes and liqueurs.


Cumin is wonderful for the skin, a rich source of vitamin E which helps the skin repair itself and fight the free radical damage that cause wrinkles, sagging and age spots. Use the freshly ground seeds mixed with honey as a naturally antibacterial and lightly exfoliating to scrub.


Theantispasmodic activity of cumin helps with minor digestive problems. The aroma activates the salivary glands while its thymol stimulates bile secretion, so it improves digestion. As an expectorant, cumin is useful for coughs and colds. 


Cumin is considered safe in food amounts and non-toxic in moderate doses. Allergic reactions to the herb can occur in people who are allergic to other plants in the Apiaceae family.  To be on the safe side, it should not be used in medicinal doses during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It should be avoided by those suffering from oestrogen receptor positive tumours.

© Anna Franklin, 2022


Author: annafranklinblog

Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which runs teaching circles, a working coven, and the annual Mercian Gathering, a Pagan camp which raises money for charity. She regularly speaks at conferences, moots and workshops around the country. She is the author of many books on witchcraft and Paganism, including the popular Pagan Ways Tarot, Sacred Circle Tarot, The Fairy Ring, Herb Craft, Magical Incenses and Oils, Personal Power, A Romantic Guide to Handfasting, Familiars, The Oracle of the Goddess, Hearth Witch, The Path of the Shaman and The Hearth Witch’s Compendium. Anna’s books have been translated into nine languages.

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