Bloating, Congestion or Period Cramps—Carom Seeds (Ajwain) Is The Magic Ingredient You Need
Infuse it in your tea or level up your teatime snack—ajwain or carom seeds are perfect as a seed spice as well as a star medicinal ingredient. Here are some of the best health benefits of carom seeds and a few ways to use them.
Every desi household has that designated box of spices—and ajwain seeds is a constant in all of them. And why not? The seeds of the versatile Trachyspermum ammi or carom plant are delicious and aromatic, making them a star ingredient in beverages, curries, parathas, snacks—you name it.
According to Hyderabad-based nutritionist Dr. Lakshmi Kilaru, "ajwain contains thymol, an essential oil that gives the spice its distinct taste and aroma". Not just a treat for the taste buds, the innumerable benefits of eating ajwain make it a medicinally important seed spice all around the world. In a 2021 review published in Pharmacognosy Communications, it was concluded that carom seeds and oil have antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and digestive properties—to name a few. Studies suggest that cryo-ground carom seed powder (cooled, chilled and then ground) has a higher bioavailability of phytochemicals, which enhance its health benefits. The following are few of the many ajwain uses and benefits, though Dr. Kilaru recommends 5 milligrams per day as the maximum dosage. Overconsumption may have side effects, especially in the case of pregnancy—wherein it can cause uterine contractions.
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1. Boosts digestion: Looking for a quick detox drink for your gut? Ajwain seeds have active enzymes that not only prevent indigestion but also reduce acidity and bloating. Add 7 to 10 ajwain leaves or 2 teaspoons of dry roasted ajwain seeds to 500ml of water. Cover, boil on a low flame and let it seep until the quantity of water reduces to half. When it turns brown, strain and drink half a cup on an empty stomach to reap maximum benefits.
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2. Clears congestion: Carom seeds are a godsend when it comes to respiratory and bronchial ailments. According to Dr. Kilaru, they help clear out mucus from the lungs as well as provide relief from cold, cough, headaches and asthma issues. Steam inhalation of ajwain infused water is recommended.
3. Cures infections and cleans wounds: Carom seeds are rich in antifungal and antibacterial properties. The presence of thymol prevents the growth of harmful microbes, thereby providing relief from inflammation and a variety of infections. Moreover, carom is also antiseptic, so it can be used as a germicide for minor cuts and wounds. This also makes ajwain a powerful ayurvedic component.
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4. Reduces period cramps: Debilitated by those nasty period cramps but don't want to pop a painkiller? "Using a warm ajwain bag or potli instead of internal consumption can help fight period cramps," says Dr. Kilaru. You can also use carom seed oil as a muscle relaxant.
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5. Relieves ear and tooth pain: Ajwain has both anti-inflammatory and pain-relief qualities, making it a quick and easy fix for aches, swellings, mouth ulcers etc. A salt-water and ajwain gargle can do wonders for a toothache, and a few drops of oil can help with ear pain.