Cumin seeds have traditionally been noted to be of benefit to the digestive system, and scientific research is beginning to bear out cumin's age-old reputation. Research in animals has indicated that cumin may stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, important factors in proper digestion and nutrient assimilation. As with other carminative spices, cumin's digestive stimulating effects are due to its content of volatile oils.
Cumin seeds may also have anti-cancer properties. In one study, cumin was shown to protect laboratory animals from developing stomach or liver tumors. This cancer-protective effect may be due to cumin's potent free-radical scavenging abilities, as well as its ability to enhance the liver's detoxification enzymes.