Ajwain(Carom seeds)


This is about ajwain, a spice that tends to not get its fair share of mention, IMO.

I have often come across people to whom Indian food is all about the usual suspects – turmeric, chilly powder, “curry” powder (though just as there is no one pan-indian cuisine, there is no one standard curry powder, in actual fact).

But ajwain has a very integral place in most of my Indian cooking, and finds a prominent spot on my spice shelf. I am a firm believer that it helps with digestion – any time you find yourself with this heavy feeling in your stomach, perhaps induced by some gastronomic indulgence, try this old home remedy. Chew just 1/2 a teaspoon of ajwain (if the taste is too strong for you, squeeze a couple of drops of lime juice in to it) , and you’ll be surprised by how quickly you’ll feel some relief.

I therefore use ajwain in many recipes – in curries (especially those made with chickpeas, kidney beans and kala chana) , when cooking vegetables such as cauliflower and potatoes that are said to cause gas to develop in the stomach, and I add it also to the dough for puris and paranthas for the same reason.

Here are a few things I have found about ajwain (sources below):

scientific name – trachyspermum ammi

Ayurveda counts ajwain among the 10 foremost herbs known for their anti-colic or anti-spasmodic action; infant colic is often treated with a poultice of ajwain. It has a stimulant action on the uterus and the digestive and circulatory systems, and can help with asthma and arthritis.

Ajwain seeds contain an essential oil which is about 50% thymol, which is a strong germicide, anti-spasmodic and fungicide.

Ahwain is sometimes used in a steeped liquid form against diarrhea and flatulence.

Research in India has shown that its oil can effectively cure ringworm infections.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2005/20050622/health.htm#6

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Three-spices-that-aid-digestion/242736/

http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/ajowan.html

http://www.downtoearth.org.in/full6.asp?foldername=20030915&filename=news&sec_id=4&sid=21

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