Expecting parents often look for safe, natural home remedies to help induce labor, and one of the most popular remedies championed by mothers and midwives all over the world is cumin tea. But is cumin tea really a safe and effective way to induce labor for women who are at term and close to giving birth?
Anecdotal as well as scientific evidence seems to suggest that cumin tea is in fact a safe and effective way to help induce labor going for some pregnant women. Generally considered safe in moderation for both pregnant and breastfeeding women, cumin tea can help induce labor, increase milk production and even treat colicky newborns.
Read on to find out more cumin tea, its potential benefits, and some important considerations for women considering cumin tea to induce labor to keep in mind.
What is cumin tea?
Although many people assume cumin is related to curcumin, they are actually quite different. Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric (which is in the ginger family) while cumin derives from the parsley family.
Cumin is a spice most commonly used in India and China, as well as parts of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It originates from a flowering plant native to the Middle East and India, is now grown in many areas around the world, and can be found at your local grocery store or online in both seed and powder forms. Cumin tea is produced by steeping the cumin seeds and straining before consuming. The flavor of cumin tea is very distinctive and could be described as earthy, spicy, or even nutty.
In addition to flavoring cuisine and making tea, Cumin has also been used for centuries in the traditional medicine practices of many different cultures and has been studied for modern medical applications as well. Some common medical uses for cumin include the treatment of respiratory conditions, infections, and digestive issues.
Cumin tea benefits
In general, cumin tea offers a plethora of health benefits that have made it a very popular tea in many parts of the world. According to Healthline, cumin has anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-septic, anti-bacterial properties and is high in antioxidants.
Cumin seeds, meanwhile, are high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, magnesium and manganese.
Aside from potentially inducing labor, cumin tea is said to:
- Aid with liver detoxification
- Boost metabolism
- Balance hormones
- Increase brain health
- Aid digestion
- Calm nerves
- Relieve constipation
- Improve energy
- Treat iron deficiency
- Protect against cancer
- Lower cholesterol
- Relieve the symptoms of cold and flu
- Boost the immune system
- Increase breastmilk production (possibly due to providing high iron)
- Treats symptoms of colic in infants
Does cumin tea work to induce labor?
Medical inductions can be expensive, time-consuming, painful, and even risky. In order to avoid any potential complications, many expecting parents turn to natural remedies to safely induce labor at home.
But does it work?
Using cumin tea to induce labor works by stimulating contractions. The idea is that the spiciness of the cumin increases your metabolic rate, preparing your body for labor and potentially leading to contractions in full-term pregnant women.
There does seem to be some scientific evidence to support this theory of metabolic changes (such as those produced by consuming cumin tea) triggering labor.
As for the effectiveness of these claims, your mileage may vary.
It is important to remember that every woman’s body and every pregnancy is different, so it may not work every time. Some women say it is best to lay down and rest after a cup of cumin tea, while others advocate taking a nice long walk around the block. It also seems that spices such as cumin are most effective in producing contractions once the cervix has already begun to dilate.
With the ability to potentially stimulate contractions in full-term pregnant women, a host of other benefits, and only a few contraindications – it is no wonder many expecting mothers are turning to cumin tea in an attempt to safely induce labor at home and avoid medical inductions.
Is cumin tea safe to induce labor?
There is no known evidence that cumin can harm a developing baby, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy. Cumin is recognized as “generally safe” by the United States FDA. In addition, there seems to be very little health risks for pregnant women. Overall, it seems that cumin tea is a very safe option to try to induce labor naturally.
However, it is generally suggested to consume cumin tea in moderation and adhere to no more than 2 cups per day. You also don’t want to attempt to induce labor too early (waiting until at least 38 weeks seems to be the consensus). And if your pregnancy is considered high risk or if you have serious underlying health conditions, it would probably be best to play it safe and abstain from drinking cumin tea to induce labor.
When in doubt, be sure to talk it over with your doctor.
Is cumin tea safe during pregnancy?
As with other remedies that are rumored to jumpstart labor in pregnant women, it is important to know if cumin tea is safe during other stages of pregnancy. Sometimes, these remedies can actually trigger preterm labor and should be avoided during pregnancy. So can women drink cumin tea during all trimesters of pregnancy or should it be avoided?
It is always wise to discuss these things with your doctor or other healthcare providers, but in general cumin tea is considered to be likely safe in low amounts for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
However, according to Healthline, some cultures have been known to use cumin to try to induce a miscarriage. While there don’t seem to be any scientific studies to verify this one way or the other, pregnant women in their early trimesters should err on the side of caution and avoid consuming large amounts of cumin until more research has been done.
Cumin tea contraindications
According to WebMD, there are a few contraindications for consuming cumin.
It is suggested that cumin could have an effect on blood sugar and can negatively interact with diabetes medications. Therefore, pregnant women with gestational or other types of diabetes should probably abstain from consuming cumin tea. Due to this effect on blood sugar, it is also recommended that cumin not be consumed before or after surgery.
In addition, women with clotting disorders should avoid cumin since it may have an adverse effect on the speed of blood clotting.
Always speak with your doctor or other healthcare providers before taking cumin with any medications.
Cumin tea success stories
Reading the experiences of other parents online can help paint a better picture of the rumored effectiveness of cumin tea for inducing labor.
Cumin tea is a popular folk remedy that has been successfully used for many generations. And it seems that in this case, the “old wives’ tale” once again proves to be correct for some women. Midwives and mothers around the world know best – using cumin tea to induce labor is a wise choice.
For example, a mother on the popular pregnancy forum Babycenter had this to say:
“My grandmother made me cumin tea (boiled the seeds with a cinnamon stick). After 3 days of drinking it, I went into labor. This worked with my 1st and 2nd pregnancies.”
This expecting mama had a similar experience and swears by cumin tea:
“For my 2 last pregnancy’s I have taken the cumin & cinnamon tea. For me both times it has worked. Usually, my mom makes it for me but this pregnancy I’m making it and I’m hoping it has the same effects. I literally took it at night and had my kids the next day.”
Moms on the popular What To Expect forum have also successfully used cumin to induce labor:
“All my husband’s cousins have done it and were in labor a few hours later. I did it with my 8-year-old, drank it that morning about 8 before my doctor’s appointment at 10:45 got to her office dilated to 8[cm].”
“I used Cumin tea to get my daughter out after 4 days of prodromal labor worked like a charm! Wish I had known about it with my son, they ended up putting me on Pitocin to get me out of prodromal labor with him that of course led to an epidural and all sorts of craziness. Will DEFF drink the tea this time around if I start having prodromal labor again. WORKS like a charm.”
Even this mom who was skeptical experienced good results:
“I was 40+ weeks & trying it all … I did read drinking hot water with cinnamon sticks & cumin seeds can bring about labor. I drank it around 2 pm & at 8:30 pm, my water broke. Probably just coincidence, but it won’t hurt you if you want to try it… for science.
While these reports sound pretty promising, it is important to note that these stories are simply anecdotes and there is no guarantee that guzzling down some cumin tea will work for you.
How to make cumin tea
Cumin tea can be an acquired taste. Its strong, spicy flavor is more suited to savory dishes than a nice warm cup of tea. For this reason, many moms prefer to add other ingredients such as cinnamon, sugar, honey, lemon, or vanilla.
As odd as it may sound, many cumin tea drinkers also swear by using a small cube of raw potato in their tea to help soak up the bitter flavor.
To prepare your cup of cumin tea:
- Add 1 tsp of pure cumin seeds (not powder) to a saucepan
- Heat on low heat for approximately 5 seconds
- Add 250 ml of filtered water
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for approximately 5 minutes
- Cover and let cool for 5-10 minutes
- Strain into your cup or mug
- Add sweeteners to your taste
What about cinnamon stick and cumin tea to induce labor?
A common addition to cumin tea when attempting to induce labor is cinnamon. Cinnamon may help contribute to inducing labor by adding another form of spice to increase your metabolic rate and hopefully stimulate contractions. It also tastes delicious!
If you’d like to add some cinnamon to your cumin tea, you can simply add 2 cinnamon sticks along with your cumin seeds at the start of the brewing process.