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health benefits of bishop’s weed seeds

Carom Seeds – Health Benefits and Culinary Uses & Seed Water

Indigestion is the most dreadful condition that can disrupt your entire routine. You probably have been advised to eat carom seeds (Ajwain) for indigestion or cramps. Carom seeds (Trachyspermum Ammi) are a superfood with a spectrum of health benefits.

They have secured their rightful place in every Indian household. The usage of carom seeds is vast, ranging from grandma’s home remedies to Indian culinary.

Carom seeds are exceptionally nutritious. These seeds contain high levels of fibre, antioxidants and micronutrients.

As a result, they are held in high esteem in the culinary world for their traditional therapeutic benefits.

What are Carom Seeds?

Interestingly carom seeds are the fruit of a plant. Some of the other aliases for the seeds are bishop’s weed and ajwain caraway.

Carom seed is a member of the Apiaceae family. The Apiaceae plant family comprises other super spice members like celery, coriander, fennel and parsley. However, carom seeds have a slightly bitter and spicy taste. If you chew a handful, it stings.

They come in a green-brownish shade. In addition, carom seeds resemble cumin seeds in appearance. However, diversely, their taste is more akin to thyme.

Perks of Carom seeds

Markets typically sell carom seeds as whole seeds. But there is also a spectrum of uses for powdered seeds. Be it whole seeds, powder, or elixir; carom seeds are beneficial in all forms.

Carom seeds have a strong flavour by themselves. Regardless, this Indian spice is an ingredient in many recipes due to its digestive outcomes. Thymol is the primary component of ajwain oil. Thymol can treat stomach issues.

Oh, but the list does not end here! It is undeniable that carom seeds are a blessing from heaven for relieving digestive issues.

In addition, however, this superhero spice has a plethora of health benefits. And it will be unjust to overlook them. So let us tell you all about the benefits of carom seeds.

10 Proven Health Benefits of Carom Seeds

1. Relieves indigestion

Carom seeds are excellent home remedies for digestive problems. Active enzymes of carom seeds can stimulate the flow of gastric (stomach) acid. Improved acid flow can greatly alleviate stomach issues. These include problems like indigestion, bloating, and flatulence (gas). Carom seed extract may also help in the prevention/ treatment of chronic indigestion.

Indigestion is the persistent pain/ distress in the upper section of your stomach. One of the culprits for indigestion is the delay in stomach emptying.

A study has confirmed that carom seeds may promote gastric acid flow. It states that adding carom seeds to an infusion enhanced gastric acid output about fourfold. So, in a nutshell, carom seeds can support digestion by modulating stomach acid flow.

2. Combat peptic ulcers and gastric lesions

Chronic issues such as peptic ulcers, oesophageal, stomach, and intestinal lesions are prevalent. But fret not; you can cure them with carom seeds. For example, according to one study, the efficacy of carom seed extract on healing peptic ulcers was identical to that of standard medicine used to heal peptic ulcers.

3. Lowers blood pressure

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a prevalent condition. It elevates your risk of heart disease and stroke. According to animal studies, carom seeds may help lower blood pressure. The thymol in carom seeds may have a hand in preventing calcium from entering the blood arteries in your heart. Consequently, it decreases blood pressure.

Nevertheless, evidence on the efficiency of carom seed in decreasing blood pressure is currently restricted. Therefore, more research is needed to determine how it may affect blood pressure in humans.

4. Provides relief from coughing and congestion

Carom seeds may benefit you during a coughing fit. These seeds also help eliminate congestion (mucus) from your nose, making breathing easier. Moreover, carom seeds also promote the dilation (widening) of the bronchial passages, which may be beneficial to asthmatics.

5. Anti-inflammatory effect

Inflammation can be beneficial or detrimental. Short-term inflammation is a normal response of our body to disease. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can harm your health. It may even put you at risk of some diseases.

Carom seeds contain anti-inflammatory properties and may help decrease inflammation in the body. A rat study discovered that taking carom seed extract has anti-inflammatory benefits. Consequently, carom seeds may prove to be beneficial in multiple inflammatory conditions.

6. Relieves toothache

Carom seeds may offer relief from toothache. Thanks to the anti-inflammatory qualities of thymol and other essential oils. Thymol may also enhance your oral health by combating germs in the mouth.

7. Cholesterol-lowering and heart-protective

Animal studies demonstrate the positive effects of carom seeds on heart health. In addition, large doses of carom seed powder and extract may lower increased cholesterol. Similarly, carom seeds can affect triglyceride (TG) levels. Both elevated cholesterol and TG levels are risk factors for heart disease.

Total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and TG levels were all lowered with carom seed powder. However, further research is needed to determine how the seeds affect cholesterol levels in humans.

8. Prevents kidney stones

Studies show the effectiveness of carom seed extracts on urinary stones. Therefore, a study got commissioned to see the effect of carom seeds on 350 people.

According to the findings of this study, carom seed extract treated kidney stones. Calcium oxalate, calcium oxalate/uric acid, and calcium-oxalate/hydroxyapatite stones were cured by 100%, 53%, and 31.25%, respectively.

9. Anti-toxic effect

Aflatoxins are mycotoxins caused by the fungus Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Both these fungi infect crops such as corn and rice. Mycotoxins like these can be hazardous to humans.

Carom seed extract may have a destructive impact on aflatoxin. Studies have shown that carom seeds drastically reduce aflatoxin activity to less than 65%.

It may also protect from chromium toxicity. In addition, the extract enhanced cell viability and decreased DNA damage. The results suggest that carom seeds are successful in combating the toxic effects.

10. Pain Management for Arthritis

Carom seeds may relieve pain and oedema (swelling). To relieve arthritic pain, crush the fruit into a paste and apply it to the skin around the joints. Alternatively, fill your tub halfway with warm water and add a handful of seeds. These remedies will ease arthritis pain.

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Culinary Uses of Carom Seeds

Carom seeds have been used as a spice to enhance the taste of any cuisine. However, use them in small quantities due to their intense aroma. Unarguably, carom seed water is one of the most renowned consuming these seeds. But do not underestimate this versatile seed.

Here are some ways you can add carom seeds into your diet:

  • Season sabzis and gravies with carom seeds.
  • Use carom seeds to prepare various Indian foods—for instance, puris, parathas and chilla.
  • Third, you can sprinkle these seeds into your salads.
  • Fourth, use carom seeds in pickles and a variety of masala powders.
  • Finally, use carom seeds for tampering or tadka in recipes.
  • Carom seeds that have been marinated in lemon juice with black salt and then dried in the sun work as appetite-enhancers.
  • Add them to homemade Namkeens and cookies.
  • Carom seeds can be a great addition to your detox tea.

Carom Seed Water

Consider preparing carom seed water for a quick fix to add this superfood into your diet. It is a fantastic approach for ensuring that you get the most out of carom seeds.

Carom seed water: Recipe

Carom seed water is effortless to make yet, delivers all of the health benefits of carom seeds.

Ingredients:
  • Carom seeds- 2 Tbsp
  • Water- 2 cups
Method:
  • Add water and carom seeds into a saucepan and turn on the heat. Bring it to a boil.
  • Boil this concoction for 8-10 minutes on low to medium flame. Turn off the heat.
  • Sieve and serve lukewarm.

Benefits of Carom Seed Water

1. Improve digestion

An upset stomach causes the most inconvenience to our usual schedule. By stimulating the release of gastric juices, carom seeds may improve your digestive functions.

Carom seed water will help activate the stomach enzymes on an empty stomach. It works wonders to improve digestion, soothe cramps and heartburn.

2. Carom seed water helps to keep infections at bay

Carom seeds are anti-bacterial, anti-biotic, and anti-fungal. As a result, they are an excellent antidote for infections and colds.

3. Carom seed water helps during respiratory issues and the common cold.

Ajwain is effective in keeping your lungs and throat clear. Carom seeds help prevent congestion. This effect is known as broncho-dilatory action. In addition, carom seeds help relax the airway, allowing asthmatics to breathe more easily. Carom seeds may also relieve symptoms of a common cold.

4. Improves the skin health

Carom seeds have anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it may restore oxidative free-radical damage caused by direct sunlight. Therefore to reduce your wrinkles, drink carom seed water and fight oxidative damage.

Carom seed water: Things to Remember

Carom seed, per se, has no adverse effects when used in moderation. However, if taken excessively, it may cause inevitable adversities in some people.

Allergy: If you are allergic to carom seeds, you should avoid eating them. It may cause rashes, palpitations, sweating or nausea.

Overconsumption: Excessive consumption of carom seeds may aggravate stomach ulcers. Hence, avoid them if you have a liver illness or ulcerative colitis. If you suffer from any of these, contact your health care provider before consuming carom seeds.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Most people generally regard Carom seeds as safe. Unfortunately, carom seeds are not safe for pregnant women. Ajwain may cause adverse effects on fetuses. Therefore, it may be best to avoid carom seeds during pregnancy and nursing.

How to store carom seeds?

Now that you know all the perks of this super seed, you may want to add them to your pantry. It would help if you stored them properly. It will ensure the preservation of its aroma and essential oils.

When purchasing carom seeds in bulk, move them to a different container. First, store them in a repurposed spice box or small glass container. Then, keep the rest in a large glass container. Unlike plastic cans, glass does not absorb flavour. As a result, carom seeds can last up to a year when stored in a cold, dry, dark place.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What are carom seeds good for?

A. Carom seeds have excellent anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-microbial properties. Additionally, it helps in various respiratory conditions, lowers cholesterol and helps ease arthritic pain. Carom seeds are also notable for their ability to treat indigestion.

Q2. What can I substitute for carom seeds?

A. Spices like caraway seeds, thyme can be used. Likewise, one can substitute cumin and fennel seeds for carom seeds.

Q3. What are the disadvantages of carom seeds?

A. Carom seed is a harmless addition to most people’s diets. However, pregnant or nursing women should avoid it. Carom seed contains compounds that may lead to birth abnormalities and miscarriage. However, more research would substantiate this.

Q4. What are carom seeds in Hindi?

A. Carom seeds are the English name for ajwain.

Q5. What is the side effect of ajwain?

A. Ajwain has no adverse side effects when taken in moderation. However, it may cause side effects in some people who are allergic to it. In addition, overconsumption of carom seeds may cause heartburn, dizziness, nausea or vomiting.

Q6. Can ajwain reduce belly fat?

A. Ajwain helps in improving digestive health. Swapping a calorie-dense drink for ajwain water may help to reduce weight.

Q7. Is ajwain good for skin whitening?

A. Ajwain is anti-inflammatory and protects against oxidative damage. Consequently, it may contribute to preventing skin damage caused by the sun.

Q8. Is it good to eat carom seeds every day?

A. Yes, carom seeds are safe to consume daily. Yet, you should avoid eating excessive amounts of these seeds as this might lead to gastrointestinal troubles. Carom seeds may aggravate diverticulitis, liver illness, or ulcerative colitis.

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Q9. Is carom seed good for periods?

A . Yes, carom seeds may work as a nerve relaxant and soothe menstrual cramps.

Q10. Can ajwain seeds help to lose weight?

A . Ajwain may help weight loss when incorporated into a balanced diet.

Q11. Can we drink ajwain water daily?

A. Yes, you can drink ajwain water daily. It helps soothe an array of digestive issues. Like stomach pain, cramps, indigestion and flatulence.

Q12. When should we drink ajwain water?

A. You can drink ajwain water anytime. But for getting the most out of it, consume it on an empty stomach. It may help improve digestion.

Q13. Are there any side effects of ajwain water?

A. Ajwain water is safe to be consumed by most people. However, some individuals are allergic to ajwain water. Therefore, they should avoid it as it may cause side effects.

Q14. What is ajwain tea good for?

A. Ajwain tea is excellent for relieving digestive issues. It may also provide relief from the common cold.

Q15. How do you make carom seed tea?

A. Carom seed tea is easy to prepare. Put water and carom seeds into a pan and bring them to a boil. Simmer this mixture for 8-10 minutes on low to medium heat. Turn off the heat. Allow it to cool. Serve lukewarm after sieving.

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Parul Dube

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

9 Super Benefits Of Ajwain (Carom Seeds) For Hair, Skin And Health

A spice that every Indian household is all too familiar with and without which every dal tadka is incomplete, ajwain is derived from a herb plant that originated in our very own country. Ajwain seeds vary from being slightly olive green to brown in colour. All parts of this herb have a very strong scent hence it is also known as Ugragandha in Sanskrit. The seeds have a bitter and pungent flavour, somewhat like oregano, and because of its strong aromatic essence, it is often added to curries and pickles. It is one of those rare spices that fulfill the twin purpose of adding flavour and being good for health. Ayurvedic expert, Dr.B.N. Sinha shares the reason behind its wide use in Indian households, “Carom seeds help in maintaining your digestive health. They treat any kind of abdominal discomfort due to indigestion like stomach pain or burning sensation. It increases the appetite for those suffering from loss of appetite.” The benefits of ajwain are aplenty.

You may have wondered why some people roast ajwain seeds. Doing so refines the aroma as well as the flavour. Therefore, a lot of people dry roast it or even toast it in ghee or butter before adding them to the dishes.

“Ajwain seeds are rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They can even be chewed raw, added to water or tea to extract maximum benefits from them,” says Dr. Sinha. Adding flavour and aroma to your meals is not the only purpose these nutrient boosters serve. The benefits of ajwain seeds are many and you should know them to be able to put them to good use.

Here are some benefits of ajwain for hair, skin and health:

1. Instant Relief from Acidity and Indigestion

One of the most crucial health benefits of ajwain seeds and why your mother never forgets to add it to your meals is because it keeps your stomach strong. Nothing disrupts our daily routine more than an upset stomach. The active enzymes in ajwain help in boosting our digestive functions by facilitating the release of gastric juices. Take 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1 teaspoon of carom seeds and add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder to it. Take this mix with water daily to cure heartburns.(Also Read: 9 Incredible Uses And Health Benefits Of Ginger – From Digestion To Flu And Cold)

The active enzymes in ajwain help in boosting our digestive functions

2. Treats Common Cold

Ajwain helps in avoiding nasal blockage by discharging the mucus easily. Prepare a paste of ajwain seeds and jaggery by heating it and take 2 teaspoons of it twice a day to feel better. This also helps in dealing with respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis. To provide relief from a migraine headache, take ajwain powder in a thin cloth and inhale it frequently or keep it under your pillow.

3. For Ear and Tooth Ache

To ease a dreaded ear pain, two drops of ajwain oil are enough. For instant relief from tooth-ache, gargle with a mix of lukewarm water, 1 teaspoon of ajwain and salt. Simply inhaling the fumes of burning ajwain seeds can do wonders for an aching tooth. Besides this, it acts as a great mouth wash and maintains good oral hygiene.

4. For Cleaning Wounds

A component called thymol in ajwain seeds acts as a strong fungicide and germicide. Thus, ajwain seeds can be crushed and applied on the skin to treat infections or cuts. So if next time you come across any such injury, bring carom seeds to your rescue.

Ajwain seeds can be crushed and applied on the skin to treat infections or cuts

5. Oma Water

Ajwain or Oma water is an ayurvedic marvel, especially for women. It cures the problem of indigestion for pregnant ladies by cleaning the uterus and stomach and solves the issue of irregular periods. Oma water is also often given to babies to reduce the problem of gas that causes discomfort. To prepare ajwain water, boil 2 teaspoons of roasted ajwain seeds in water. Strain this mixture and drink. You can add 1 teaspoon of honey for flavour. Drinking ajwain water regularly is known to enhance your rate of metabolism, burns fat and thus helps in losing weight.

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6. To Stop Greying of Hair

Ajwain seeds help in halting pre-mature greying of hair. To prepare this mixture, add curry leaves, dry grapes, sugar and carom seeds in a single cup of water and cook. Drink one glass of this every day until you start seeing the results.

Ajwain seeds help in halting pre-mature greying of hair

7. Mosquito Repellent

If your market bought mosquito repellent fails to work, you can always make one at home. Combine mustard oil with ajwain seeds and apply on cardboard pieces which you can tie in the corners of your room to ward off mosquitoes. Using this spice as a repellent fills your house with a beautiful scent unlike the fumes released from coils.

Combine mustard oil with ajwain seeds to ward off mosquitoes
Photo Credit: iStock

8. Cleansing skin

“Ajwain powder is especially useful in lightening acne scars. Apply a paste on the affected area for 10-15 minutes and then rinse,” advises Dr. Sinha. This effective home remedy can come to great help in getting rid of dirt from the skin.

9. Eases the Pain Due to Arthritis

Ajwain seeds possess two qualities that help them fight arthritis. They have antibiotic properties that reduce redness and combat inflammation, and they possess anaesthetic properties that soothe the pain and swelling. As a home remedy, you can apply the paste of crushed seeds on the joints or soak in a tub of hot water with a handful of carom seeds.

Ajwain seeds possess two qualities that help them fight arthritis

Disclaimer:

The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Health Secrets of Ayurveda #11: Ajwain or Carom seeds

A spice that every Indian household is all too familiar with is Ajwain. Ajwain (scientific name Trachyspermum ammi) is also known as Carom seeds, Ajowan Caraway or Bishop’s Weed. The Latin name for this spice is carum copticum. An annual herb belonging to the Apiaceae family, both the leaves and the seed‑like fruit (often mistakenly called seeds) of the plant are edible.

Ajwain's small, oval-shaped, seed-like fruits which vary from olive green to brown in colour, resemble the seeds of other plants in the family such as caraway, cumin and fennel. Ajwain seeds have a bitter and pungent taste, with a flavour similar to Anise and Oregano. They smell almost exactly like thyme because they also contain Thymol, but they are more aromatic and less subtle in taste.

Double benefit

All parts of this herb have a very strong scent hence it is also known as Ugragandha in Sanskrit. It is one of those rare spices that fulfill the double purpose of adding flavour and being good for health.

According to Ayurveda, it is a potent Amanashak, which means it reduces toxin formation in the digestive canal, restricting indigestion and malabsorption. It provides relief against constipation and treats flatulence. In India, it is commonly added to deep-fried foods, such as fritters, to help ease of digestion. A pinch added to buttermilk or lassi is good to promote digestion if taken after lunch.

Oma (Ajwain) water is also often given to babies to reduce the problem of gas that causes discomfort. Boil 2 teaspoons of roasted Ajwain seeds in water. Strain this mixture and use. Ajwain water is also said to be good for weight loss.

Ajwain seeds are rich in fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. As the seeds contain saponins and phenolic compounds, they are used in Ayurvedic medicines for digestive ailments, mental diseases and respiratory disorders. It also helps to increase the appetite. These seeds also have powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties due to its active compounds, Thymol and Carvacrol.

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Ajwain has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in reducing long term or chronic inflammation especially the soreness related to arthritis. They also contain vitamins and minerals like niacin, thiamine, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium.

A lot of people dry roast Ajwain seeds or even toast it in ghee or butter before adding it to a dish as this refines the aroma as well as the flavour. They can even be chewed raw, added to water or tea to extract maximum benefits.

Benefits of Ajwain:

Loss of appetite

Gas or flatulence

Abdominal pain or cramps

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

High cholesterol levels

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Backache during periods

The active enzymes present in this drink will allow your body to release gastric juices, helping deal with indigestion and acidity.

Ajwain can help bring down triglyceride and cholesterol levels in your body and can improve HDL levels (good cholesterol) in your body.

It is good for the common cold as Ajwain water helps to discharge the mucus present in the nasal passage. To ease symptoms of cold, inhale the steam of Ajwain seeds infused in hot water.