Carom seeds, more commonly identified as Ajwain is typically known to be associated with Ayurveda for its immense health benefits.
Known to have originated in India, it belongs to family of Apiaceae plants which is more commonly known as parsley family. It shares its parentage with several others herbs like anise, caraway, carrot, celery, cilantro, cumin, dill and fennel. Both the leaves and fruits (seeds) find their culinary and medicinal usage. While the leaves can be added to enhance the medicinal values of tea or herbal decoction (kada) that may act as safeguard from recurrent cold and cough, for the subsequent post we will elaborate more on Ajwain seeds.
Let’s examine the nutritional values of the seeds
Per 100 grams of serving of these seeds contain 17% protein, 21% fat, 25% carbohydrate and 21% dietary fiber. The seeds can be used to extract essential oils which constitutes thymol oil, limonene, p-cymene, and y-terpinene. The extracted oil is colorless to brownish in color liquid with a sharp hot taste due to high concentration of thymol (around 50%). Ajwain Oil has great anti-septic properties and can be used as a cure for its germicide, fungicide anti-spasmodic properties. It can also act a mouth freshener in getting rid of bad breath (Listerine has thymol oil has one of its constituent)
- It is a potent remedy for flatulence and used as a carminative agent. If your digestive tract is more susceptible to beans, legumes and finds it difficult to cope with the ill-effect (read flatulence) of its consumption, ajwain in small quantities (1/2 tsp) can be added to the preparation.
- The strong aroma and taste makes it an ideal choice for its addition to tempering (tadka) to dals and veg preparations
- Addition of ajwain to Bhajia (fritters) batter could enhance the taste of end product.
- The aroma and taste of Ajwain gets enhanced on roasting, which is why it is added as an ingredient to Indian bread- Ajwain Paratha
- Ajwain owing to its preservative qualities is added to pickles.
- As a relief against common cold, ajwain can be added to preparation of tea (Ajwain Chai)