Ajwain is found in arid and semi-arid regions in abundant amount. It is a tall herb with multiple branches. It has compound umbel inflorescence with small delicate white flowers and aromatic fruits. The essential oil can be extracted from the leaves, flowers and fruits, which are brownish in colour and have sharp, biting taste. Ajwain is also known as Carom seed.
Ajwain or Trachyspermum ammi is a highly useful medicinal spice, cultivated in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, and India, and belongs to family Apiaceae. Seeds are aphrodisiac in nature and the roots have diuretic property. Oil shows anti-microbial and antifungal property.
Ajwain is valued for its therapeutic contents. It is abundant in fibre, tannins, carbohydrates, proteins, glycosides, flavones and saponins and some minerals. It yields 2-4 percent of essential oils with 35% to 60% thymol having thyme- like aroma. Ajwain also contains other principal constituents such as p-cymene, gamma-terpinene, beta-pinene and other 22 minor constituents called terpenoids.
The medicinal properties of Ajwain are based on its pharmacological activities. It has various pharmacological activities like antifungal, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antinociceptive, hypolipidemic, antihypertensive, and antispasmodic. It is also a bronchodilator, diuretic, abortifacient, anti-tussive, nematicidal, antihypertensive, inhibitor to platelet-aggregation, galactagogue, and anthelmentic and anti- filarial agent.
In traditional Ayurveda, Ajwain was primarily used for ailments related to stomach like, flatulence, colic, diarrhoea, indigestion, lack of appetite and bronchial problems. In Siddha medicinal system, it is used as a detox, cleanser, as a poultice and for relieving acidity.
Benefits of Ajwain
- Fights Inflammation: The anti-inflammatory and anti-biotic properties ease the pain and discomfort of arthritis, gout, other joint and muscle pain.
- Reduces Pain: Due to anti-inflammatory nature, it helps to reduce pain related to arthritis and gout. It also has excellent anaesthetic property which is helpful in relieving pain and swelling. The antibacterial nature of Ajwain also helps in reducing redness and inflammation linked with joint related disorders.
- Improves Hair Health: prevents premature greying of hair.
- Promotes Weight Loss: It stimulates appetite and speeds up digestion, metabolism, and weight loss.
- Improves Digestion: It works as a laxative in cases of excessive constipation. It improves digestion and stimulates the gut to reduce constipation, prevent cramping and bloating. It lowers the chances of colon and gastric ulcers. It inhibits excessive flatulence and acidity. It reduces pain related to piles.
- Improves Respiration: Thymol has strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activities, which can help with respiratory ailments, sore throat, cough and asthma. Thymol also helps in expelling excessive phlegm and mucus. It is useful in respiratory disorders, cough, cold, asthma and flu.
- Boosts Immunity: Thymol has potent antiviral and anti-oxidant properties, which help in boosting immunity.
- Has Antioxidants: Antioxidants pinene and terpinene in ajwain seeds inhibit oxidative stress and combat free radicals.
- Improves Fertility: Ajwain enhances libido in men and women as it is a natural aphrodisiac. It thus helps with fertility.
- Reduces Headache: It treats headache and migraine if applied as poultice or if consumed.
- Improves Oral Health: It improves oral health, overall gum health, and eases toothache.
- Improves Skin Health: It is helpful in healing of wounds and other skin infections due to its antibacterial activity. It is useful in skin-related ailments such as boils, acne, scars, and eczema.
- Helps Kidneys: Ajwain prevents kidney stones formation and pain related to them.
- Culinary Uses: It is used as a spice across Middle East and Asia. Fruits or ajwain seeds are roasted and added in various dishes to provide subtle and sweet aroma and taste. It is also sprinkled on dishes and added in biscuits and breads.
Ajwain seeds are used for their therapeutic properties in various health products and health supplements.