Cumini Fructus. Cummin Fruit.
Cummin fruit is the product of Cuminum Cyminum, Linn. (N.O. Umbelliferae), a small plant, indigenous to the Upper Nile territory, and cultivated in N. Africa, Sicily, Malta, and India. The plants are cut and threshed when the fruit is ripe. The fruit is a brown cremocarp, about 4 to 6 millimetres long, of an elongated oval shape, tapering towards both base and apex. The mericarps are sometimes united, but often free. Each has five longitudinal primary ridges running from base to apex, and alternating with them are secondary ridges which are flatter and bear short emergences. The transverse section of the mericarp when examined under a lens exhibits an oily endosperm and six vittae, four of the vittae being situated on the dorsal surface, and two on the commissural surface. The fruits resemble caraways, but the mericarps are straight instead of being curved, and the odour and taste are also less agreeable. They yield about 8 per cent. of ash.
Constituents.—The fruits contain about 3 to 4 per cent. of a volatile oil, the chief constituent of which is cumic aldehyde (cuminal).
Uses.—Cummin fruit is used chiefly as a carminative in veterinary medicine.