Ajwain is an indigenous spice used in ayurveda from ancient times. Ajwain, sometimes called ajowan, is a commonly used ayurvedic spice. Ajwain is a popular spice throughout India . It used in savory snacks like Farsan. Ajwain seeds are found in most Indian households due to their medicinal properties. Ajwain is considered to be an effective medicine for treating indigestion. The Latin name for this spice is carum copticum. Ajwain is much used as a medical plant in Ayurvedic medicine (India). Mainly, it helps against diseases of the digestive tract and fever.

The fruits are small, egg shaped and grayish / gray-green in color. They are quite peppery when raw, but milder when cooked. Ajwain is pungent and hot, stomachic, bitter, spasmodic, germicidal, antiseptic, appetizer, digestive, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, carminative, diuretic, diaphoretic, laxative , antipyretic, expectorant and an extra ordinary stomach tonic. It is counted among the 10 foremost herbs known for their anti-colic or anti-spasmodic action. Ajwain is a trusted household remedy to treat indigestion, flatulence, urticaria and menstrual spasm.

Ajwain seeds consist of moisture, protein, fat, minerals, fiber, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. Its calorific value is 363.

It is useful in treatment of ascites, abdominal tumours, enlargement of spleen, piles, vomiting, abdominal pains and disease of heart and mouth.

It is useful in treatment of weakness of limbs, paralysis, chest pains, diseases of liver, spleen, hiccup, vomiting, dyspepsia, kidney troubles, inflammations etc. Excellent painkiller and heart tonic. Reduces gas in intestines. It is hot, sharp and penetrating hence good for kindling Agni and aids in digestion. Alleviate Kapha and Vata may increases Pitta.

During ancient times Ayurvedic physicians used ajwain, or celery seed to treat the following conditions: colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion, fevers, various types of arthritis, and liver and spleen ailments. As a strong nerve, digestive and respiratory stimulant, it may be taken as a powder, 1-3 grams/day before meals. It promotes kidney function, energizes the nerves, is a powerful decongestant for both the digestive and respiratory tract, clearing out deep-seated ama (toxins), reviving obstructed, stagnant metabolic functioning, relieving intestinal spasms, vitalizing Prana, samana & udana, It is often used in weight-reducing formulas.

Ajwan works on the dhatus, or tissues, of plasma, marrow and the nerves. As a stimulant, it increases internal heat, dispels internal chill, strengthens metabolism & circulation. As a diaphoretic, it causes perspiration & increases elimination through the skin. As an expectorant, it cures coughs, promoting the discharge of phlegm and mucus from the lungs & throat, curing laryngitis, & bronchitis. As a carminative, it relieves intestinal gas, pain & distention, & promotes peristalsis. As an antispasmodic, it relieves spasms of voluntary & involuntary muscles. As a diuretic, it promotes the activity of kidney & bladder & increase urination, and as a lithotriptic, it dissolves & discharges gall bladder & urinary stones & gravel.

Ayurveda says that ajwain promotes kidney function and generally benefits the nerves. It is also considered to benefit the respiratory system. It is considered to be powerfully detoxifying. Ajwain has relatively high calcium and iron content.

They are an excellent pain-killer and act as an anodyne, soothing, calming, comforting and diminishing pain. They contain the essential oil thymol, which acts very quickly on the system, subduing excess wind (vata) and mucus (kapha). They have the same gas killing quality as the onion/garlic substitute known as hing, or asafetida, increasing the stomach fire like the power of black pepper, the sublimation quality of cloves, and effective in ridding the body of worms, like cinnamon. It is effective against hemorrhoids.

Due to its action on Agni, (the fire of digestion), it makes food more appetizing & delicious.. It is used in pickle recipes and with various dal or bean recipes such as soy, chana (split chick pea), & chick pea (garbanzos). For every 2 cups of dahl or bean flour, you can add 1 tsp. of ajwain seeds to help speed digestion & reduce gas. For every 4 cups of wheat flour, use 1 tsp. of seeds to enhance the digestive fire when making bread. Just add one tsp. of the seeds to any chickpea flour or wheat flour recipe for tastiness and improved assimilation of your meal. They should be taken with foods that take a long time to digest, because the energy that they provide will conserve your energy.

Ajwan seeds help cure fever, has an antiseptic effect on the intestinal canal & stomachaches, cure problems caused by overeating, strengthen the liver/spleen, & cure dysentery. Smoking ajwan in a pipe relieves shortness of breath in asthmatic patients, and relieves toothaches. It is used in Ayurvedic tooth powders. To help cleanse the uterus & benefit digestion during pregnancy, it is prescribed, and beneficial for post-delivery fever. Ajwan increases sexual feeling & virility. Soaking the seeds in lemon juice, and drying them seven times will cure impotence when ingested. Ajwan tea helps paralysis and shaking, and as an eyewash cleanses the eyes & is said to cure deafness! Next time you have the hiccups, or belching, drink ajwan tea. Instead of using chemical deodorants to mask body odor, ajwan tea will cure the cause of the odor from the inside out by destroying bad bacteria. Due to their dryness and pitta heat, they should be limited to use in hot climates. They can be used freely in cold climates.

An essential oil is eracted by steam distillation of the crushed seeds of ajwain. This valued considerably in medicine on account of the presence of thymol. For a long time this oil was the main source of thymol. Some very valuable Ayurvedic medicines are prepared from Ajwain seeds.

Ajwain is called omam in the southern part of India. Omam (Ajwain) water that is the water distilled from the seeds in an excellent carminative that cures flatulence, indigestion & low appetite. It is also good appetiser.This water is a household medicine not only in south India but also in Sri lanka, Malaysia and even in some Arabian countries. Ajwain water is call "Ajwain Ark" in Ayurveda. In case of stomach pain, the natives chattisgarh use Ajwain seeds with namak (salt). Two parts of Ajwain and one part of Salt is taken with lukewarm water.

For relieving flatulence, dyspepsia, dry cough and spasmodic orders, the seeds may be eaten with betel leaves. A teaspoon of ajwain with a little rock salt is a household remedy for indigestion. Bronchitis and asthma - Taking one-teaspoon ajwain with hot water morning and evening lesson sputum. Drinking hot water after chewing little ajwain cures cough. Mixed with butter milk, it is a good anti-acidic agent.

A tablespoon of seeds crushed and tied up in a small cloth bundle can be used for inhalation. A similar bundle placed near the pillow, while sleeping, also relieves nasal congestion.

Heartache : Taking one-tsp. ajwain with hot water stimulates the heart and relieves heartache. In Unani medicine ajowan is used as a liver tonic, an antiinflammatory agent and for paralysis. It is an excellent pain killer and heart tonic.

Mouth disorders : An infusion of seeds mixed with common salt is an effective gargle in a cut pharyngitis, sore and congested throat and hoarse ness of the voice due to colds or shouting.

Kidney : Ajwain leaves seems to prevent formation of kidney stones. In kidney stone removal home- made herbal remedy of Ajwain works well. Patients are to intake Ajwain seeds with honey or vinegar for a week regularly, this medicine helps to remove stone with urine flow as claimed by the users.

Other uses
During pregnancy, Ajwain is given with gud (Jaggery) in order to treat lumbago (Kamar dard). According to the healers, the use of Ajwain with gud, not only cures the lumbago but also purifies the blood and act as tonic.

Ajwain is helpful for pacifying Vata and Kapha, and increases Pitta. It contributes the pungent taste, with a slight bitter undertone.

According to ayurveda, ajwain is a powerful cleanser. It is helpful for stimulating the appetite and enhancing digestion. It is recommended to help alleviate gas and discomfort in the stomach. It is also helpful for the functioning of the respiratory system and the kidneys.

Ajwain is commonly added to deep-fried foods, such as fritters, in Indian cooking, to help ease of digestion. A pinch added to buttermilk or digestive lassi can promote digestion if taken after lunch. Add a pinch to rice as it is cooking, for aroma and flavor. Ajwain can be combined with other spices such as turmeric, paprika, cumin, black pepper, fennel and coriander.

A drink made from ajwain (carom) seeds is good for people suffering from paralysis and trembling. Water in which ajwain (carom) seeds have been boiled will clean the eyes and cure the ears of deafness.

Ajwain is useful in treating diarrhea, colic and other bowel problems. It also helps relieve flatulence (gas) and discomfort in the stomach. According to Ayurvedic medicine, Ajwain is a powerful cleanser of the body. This medicinal plant is also good for its antispasmodic, stimulant properties and expelling gas from the stomach or intestines so as to relieve abdominal pain or distension. It is helpful for stimulating the appetite and enhancing digestion.

Kokolu Ankarao
14th October 2008
Nagpur, Maharastra, India


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