The most impressive health benefits of carom seeds are its ability to improve the appearance of the hair, optimize digestion, support weight loss efforts, reduce excess flatulence and boost respiratory health, among others. Using carom seeds in the preparation of food, as well as for health purposes, has been a tradition for thousands of years.
What are Carom Seeds (Ajwain)?
Carom seeds commonly known as ajwain are the fruits of its herb that are native to India. Despite not being seeds, the small fruit is easily mistaken for one, considering its diminutive size. The tiny brown fruits are oval and have a rather bitter taste, which is why they are rarely eaten raw. However, there is no danger in doing so, particularly if you are using them for various medicinal purposes.
Carom Seeds Nutrition
According to an article by Ranjan Bairwa, et al. published in Pharmacognosy Reviews, ajwain seeds are rich in many nutrients that include the following:
Carom seeds are highly valuable in natural medicine, due to the impressive essential oil they contain, including compounds such as thymol, limonene, pinene, and terpinene. This is in addition to the small amount of dietary fiber and various other antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Carom Seeds
Due to its growing popularity, it is important to understand a bit more about this herb, as well as the potential benefits it can have on your health.
For people who feel that their hair is turning grey a bit early, consuming carom seeds is a well-known traditional remedy. If you toss a few carom seeds in a glass of warm water and drink it early in the morning, its high antioxidant and mineral content can help stimulate the health of the hair.
Despite the ability of carom seeds to stimulate the appetite, it also has laxative properties and can speed up the digestive process. This will help your body pull out the nutrients and prevent the excess storage of fat. Carom seeds can boost metabolism, which further helps with weight loss efforts. Some people also prefer to drink lukewarm water boiled with carom seeds, particularly after a meal, to help with weight loss.
Aid in Digestion
Known primarily as a digestive aid, carom seeds are regularly consumed before or after meals. It helps to improve the digestive efficiency of the gut and stimulate the release of gastric juices. It is also well known to eliminate constipation, which prevents bloating and cramping and even lower your risk of gastric ulcer.
For generations, ajwain has been known to settle the stomach and reduce acidity in the gut, which can stop the excessive production of gas. Flatulence can be an embarrassing ailment, but consuming a handful of these seeds after a meal will show great results.
Boost Respiratory Health & Relieve Asthma
The active ingredient in carom seeds, thymol, has potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it an ideal solution for sore throats and other infections of the respiratory system. By promoting smooth mucus discharge, the seeds prevent nasal blockage and reduce the chances of cold and cough. This also promotes respiratory health and prevents the risk of conditions like asthma, influenza, and bronchitis.
Crushing carom seeds and then mixing them with water can be a quick and easy remedy to soothe your respiratory tract, provide relief from coughs, and also promote the elimination of mucus and phlegm.
Strengthen Immune System
The essential oils in these seeds have strong antioxidant and antiviral properties that give the immune system a major boost. Whether you consume these seeds raw, boil them in water, or crush them up into various dishes or sauces, thymol and limonene will help ward off dangerous pathogens and infections before they can take hold.
Prevent Chronic Diseases
Various antioxidants found in carom seeds, such as terpinene and pinene, are directly linked to reducing oxidative stress in certain parts of the body. Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals, produced as a result of cellular respiration, but it can lead to inflammation and mutation of healthy cells and cause chronic diseases. These seeds, despite being small, can have a major impact on such conditions.
The antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties of carom seeds can help ease the discomfort and pain of arthritis, as well as other inflammatory conditions. Ranging from gout and psoriasis to joint pain or a recent injury, soaking the affected part of the body in water mixed with carom seeds can help reduce swelling.
Stimulate Sex Drive
Anecdotal evidence points to carom seeds as being an excellent stimulant for the sex drive of both men and women. It can overcome infertility issues, as well as get the libido pumping. It can increase virility in men due to its natural aphrodisiac qualities. The best way to benefit from this is to roast the seeds and then mix them with butter or oil.
With monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in these seeds, you can maintain your cholesterol balance with regular consumption. The dietary fiber in carom seeds will also help to scrape excess cholesterol, thus lowering your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular complications.
Give Relief from Headaches
One of the most common uses of carom seeds is in the prevention or treatment of headaches. In some cases, you don’t need to consume these seeds but simply crush them into a poultice and apply to the inflamed or affected area. In the case of migraines, when you apply the crushed seeds, your temples, it can provide rapid relief from the pain. The crushed seeds release thymol, which is an important component in reducing the pain.
Prevent a Toothache
Carom seeds can help in easing toothache, by improving the overall gum and oral health. One can also inhale the fumes from burning these seeds, as this helps to give instant relief from a toothache.
Use in Cleaning Wounds
Act as a Mosquito Repellent
Mix mustard oil with carom seeds, apply it to pieces of cardboard and then place them in the corners of your house to prevent mosquito bites and attacks.
Carom seeds are beneficial in improving the overall skin health, by reducing the occurrence of boils, acne, and other skin eruptions. It also prevents acne scars and can be used in the treatment of eczema.
Carom seeds prevent the formation of kidney stones and thereby reducing the pain related to the condition.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Carom seeds have a calcium-channel-blocking effect which plays a remarkable role in heart rate and blood pressure regulation. The presence of thymol compound in carom seeds may cause blood pressure to drop.
How to Use?
Ajwain is an aromatic spice that has been a staple in Asia and the Middle East. They have a pungent bitter flavor and can easily overpower a dish. Due to the presence of certain active ingredients, such as thymol, these seeds have a taste that resembles licorice, which is similar to anise. They are often dry-roasted, fried, or added to sauces.
If you eat an excessive amount of these seeds, it can result in side effects like acidity, indigestion, bleeding problems, and mouth ulcers.
- Gastrointestinal Problems: Eating too many carom seeds can increase acidity in the gut. This, in turn, can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, flatulence, and gastric ulcers.
- Bleeding Disorders: One of the possible effects of these seeds is a reduction in blood clotting. So, if you suffer from a bleeding disorder, it is best to speak with your doctor before using these seeds.
- Mouth Ulcers: When plenty of carom seeds are consumed or chewed, the powerful active ingredients can cause inflammation in the mouth or mouth ulcers.
- Liver Issues: Research has shown that some of the organic compounds in carom seeds can exacerbate existing liver conditions. If you are suffering from cirrhosis, hepatitis, or other liver conditions, speak to a doctor before making these seeds a part of your diet.