Does Cumin Tea Induce Labor?

Toward the end of your pregnancy, you're probably tired and ready to meet your baby. You’ve probably been given all sorts of advice on different ways to jump-start your labor. As you near or even pass your due date, you may be tempted to try some of them. Some home methods of inducing labor can be dangerous, but most are simply ineffective. One common method suggested for inducing labor is drinking cumin tea, but there is no scientific evidence that any herbal tea will hurry along the onset of labor.

A study done on mice has shown that some herbs, including cumin, produced contractions in uterine tissue. However, the contractions were not as strong as the contractions produced by oxytocin, and they were not maintained. 

While these studies have not been done on pregnant women, there is concern that cumin may cause cramping, premature labor, or even miscarriage. Cumin seeds also have abortifacient properties, which means they may cause abortion.

If you're hoping to use a home remedy to induce labor, you should discuss it with your doctor first to make sure it's safe for you and your baby. 

Health Benefits of Cumin Tea

Cumin has a variety of health benefits: 

  • Helps to treat diabetes
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Protects the central nervous system
  • Increases estrogen levels
  • Helps improve gastrointestinal health

Cumin also has other helpful properties: 

  • Antioxidant properties, which prevent cell damage from oxidation 
  • Antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which kill harmful microorganisms in the body
  • Anticarcinogenic properties, which help prevent cancer
  • Diuretic properties, which increase the amount of water and salt that leaves the body in urine
  • Immunomodulatory properties, which regulate the immune system

While many studies have been conducted, it has been difficult for researchers to determine which compounds in cumin are responsible for which results, so more research is needed. 

Though it probably shouldn't be used to induce labor, cumin seeds are widely used in Mexican, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. They are a good source of iron, manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, thiamin, and phosphorus. Because they are high in iron, they are helpful for providing energy and for immune system function. Cumin may also prevent cancer and help with digestion.  

To take advantage of cumin's health benefits, it's best to use the seeds rather than the powder. The seeds can be ground with a mortar and pestle to make powder as needed. This will help it keep its flavor. Cumin powder and seeds should be stored in a sealed glass jar in a cool, dark place. Cumin powder will keep for six months, while cumin seeds will last a year. Cumin can be enjoyed as a tea, or you can use it to flavor vegetables, legumes, or meat. 

Continued

Is Cumin Tea Safe During Pregnancy?

There is no scientific information about the safety of cumin tea during pregnancy or breastfeeding. In traditional Tunisian medicine, cumin has been used to induce abortions. Some practitioners advise against using cumin during pregnancy. However, some do not list cumin as an herb that should be avoided during pregnancy. You should discuss with your doctor if it's safe for you to use cumin during your pregnancy. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 05, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

Beth Israel Lahey Health: "Herbs and Supplements to Avoid During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding."

Biomedical Research and Therapy: "Cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.): A review of its ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry."

Drugs.com: "Cumin."

International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research: "HERBS IN PREGNANCY AND LACTATION: A REVIEW APPRAISAL."

Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry: "The influence of common cuisine spices such as ajwain, cumin, dill, fenugreek, and papaya on the contractile behaviors of isolated strips of mouse uterine tissue."

Pharmacognosy Review: "Cuminum cyminum and Carum carvi: An update."

UT Southwestern Medical Center: "The truth about ‘natural’ ways to induce labor."

WHFoods.org: "Cumin seeds."

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