10 Reasons to Add Ajwain to Your Meals TodayLuke Coutinho
This ingredient is a staple in almost every Indian kitchen. From kadhas and parathas to pakoras and mukhwas, these lend a unique flavor to numerous desi preparations. It has a strong taste and pungent aroma. It is often dry-roasted, ground, and added to spice mixtures.
The nutrition and health benefits can work wonders for digestion, acidity, bloating, hair and skin health, fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and respiratory and appetite issues. Did you guess it? Yes, we are speaking about carom seeds.
Also known as ajwain in Hindi or bishop’s weed, its scientific name is Carum copticum L. It is native to India and Iran. More than 90% of its cultivation in India happens in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Research points to its antifungal, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and cholesterol-lowering properties. Ajwain is also rich in fiber, essential fatty acids, and minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and nicotinic acid (niacin).
Need 10 reasons ro add ajwain to your meals? Read this.
For indigestion and peptic ulcers
When do you suffer from indigestion? When you overeat or eat meals that are not balanced. This puts an additional burden on your digestive system and causes it to go into overdrive to break down this food. Indigestion can also happen when you excessively eat spicy foods, keep long gaps between meals, or eat under stress. How can ajwain help?
Ajwain is fantastic for your digestive health, thanks to its active ingredient, thymol. Chewing these seeds help you produce more digestive enzymes and break down food particles better. They also improve the flow of stomach acids and provide relief from discomfort.
You may have observed that most Indian homes and restaurants have mukhwas or a post-digestive mix. It is a tradition to chew on ajwain seeds post your meal. You can roast them and eat them with a mix of roasted cumin seeds (jeera) and fennel seeds (saunf). It is excellent to stimulate your digestive system. Research also shows that carom seed extract helps tackle peptic ulcers which are sores of the stomach, esophagus, or small intestine.
If you struggle with acidity, popping antacids like candy isn’t going to work. It helps with temporary relief, but it will cause more health issues in the long run, like low stomach acids and bacterial infections. The quickest grandma’s remedy to deal with acid reflux is chewing ajwain. Another way is making ajwain or oma water. All you need to do is boil them in 3 cups of water, reduce the concoction to half and sip it warm. But remember you still need to address the root cause of your acidity by changing your lifestyle.
For nausea and morning sickness
Most women going through pregnancy experience nausea, morning sickness, and indigestion. Drinking oma or ajwain water can help. But it is always important to make an informed decision. While it is generally considered safe, keep your doctor in the loop before adding it to your meals, especially if you are on any medication.
For natural deworming
Many of us have parasites and worms inside our intestines. Once they begin thriving, they block the absorption of nutrients into our blood. It can lead to bacterial infections and gastrointestinal issues like indigestion, gas, and bloating. Approved and recognized by the AYUSH ministry in India, ajwain can help you naturally deworm. Thymol and carvacrol in ajwain help combat the growth of these bacteria like salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori).
Of course, if your doctor puts you on a deworming tablet, listen to them. But if you are looking for a natural remedy, take half a teaspoon of jaggery and ajwain, mix it into a paste and chew it. Do this in between your meals or on an empty stomach.
It is also important to remember that this remedy will not work for all worms and parasites. If you have a chronic infection, seek medical help and treatment.
To soothe your nerves
You can also make ajwain tea by boiling a teaspoon of the seeds and adding a dash of Ceylon cinnamon powder. Once the concoction reduces to half and cools a little, add raw honey or a pinch of jaggery. It tastes good. It is also calming and soothing for your nerves when stressed. You can have it once a day or a week, depending on what works for you.
For congestion, cough, and asthma
Ajwain can help break down and clear the buildup of mucus and provide relief from cough and congestion. You can use it in your kadhas or even make an ajwain potli where you roast about 2 tablespoons of ajwain until the aroma wafts in the air. Then transfer this to a clean muslin cloth. Tie the end to make a pouch or potli and use this as a hot pad for the chest. Ensure it is not very hot. Science points out that ajwain also helps widen the bronchial tubes and make breathing easier for those with asthma.
Thanks to its high anti-inflammatory properties, ajwain can be effective in soothing toothaches and improving your oral hygiene due to its antibacterial properties.
For acne and skin infections
Its anti-inflammatory properties can rescue pain and redness caused by pimples. It can also help lighten acne scars when made into a face pack. Ajwain has naturally blood-purifying properties that can help you get rid of toxins and give a natural glow. Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties make it effective in remedying skin infections too. Always do a patch test to strike out allergic reactions.
For dandruff and hair fall
Using ajwain hair oil can reduce hair breakage, hair fall, dandruff, and scalp dryness. Its compound, p-cymene, fights bacteria and other parasites. It is also considered powerful in preventing premature graying and strengthening your hair follicles. Always do a patch test to see if it suits you first.
For arthritic pains
It can relieve arthritic flare-ups because it is highly anti-inflammatory. Include ajwain in your diet. A study suggested that ajwain’s analgesic (pain-relieving) effect can be compared to that of morphine.
You can also make a paste of ajwain and apply it to the area of pain or swelling for relief. Another method can be filling a tub with warm water, adding ajwain seeds, and bathing with it.
For babies with colic
Ajwain can be powerful for babies struggling with colic when they get gassy. Heat some ajwain and crush it. Make a paste of it using A2 ghee or castor oil. Apply this paste to the navel area of the baby. It will combat gas and provide instant relief. It works for adults too.
What are other ways to get ajwain in your meals?
From parathas to fish, meat, dals, and curries, add ajwain to various meal preparations. You can use it in the spice mixture to marinate meat or give your rice, soups, and sauces a nutritional boost.
Disclaimer: Make an informed decision. If you have an allergy to it or it doesn’t suit you, don’t do it.
Want to buy ethically-sourced ajwain seeds? Shop them here.
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