A spice that every Indian household is all too familiar with and without which every dal tadka is incomplete, ajwain is derived from a herb plant that originated in our very own country. Ajwain seeds vary from being slightly olive green to brown in colour. All parts of this herb have a very strong scent hence it is also known as Ugragandha in Sanskrit. The seeds have a bitter and pungent flavour, somewhat like oregano, and because of its strong aromatic essence, it is often added to curries and pickles. It is one of those rare spices that fulfill the twin purpose of adding flavour and being good for health. Ayurvedic expert, Dr.B.N. Sinha shares the reason behind its wide use in Indian households, “Carom seeds help in maintaining your digestive health. They treat any kind of abdominal discomfort due to indigestion like stomach pain or burning sensation. It increases the appetite for those suffering from loss of appetite.”You may have wondered why some people roast ajwain seeds. Doing so refines the aroma as well as the flavour. Therefore, a lot of people dry roast it or even toast it in ghee or butter before adding them to the dishes.”Ajwain seeds are rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They can even be chewed raw, added to water or tea to extract maximum benefits from them,” says Dr. Sinha. Adding flavour and aroma to your meals is not the only purpose these nutrient boosters serve. The benefits of ajwain seeds are many and you should know them to be able to put them to good use.
Dr Sheela Krishnaswamy, a Bangalore-based nutrition and wellness consultant says, “being an excellent digestive and having rich aroma, ajwain seeds are commonly added in masalas, sprinkled in dough before making rotis or in bread before baking. It is also added in fruits.”
1. Instant Relief from Acidity and IndigestionOne of the most crucial health benefits of ajwain seeds and why your mother never forgets to add it to your meals is because it keeps your stomach strong. Nothing disrupts our daily routine more than an upset stomach. The active enzymes in ajwain help in boosting our digestive functions by facilitating the release of gastric juices. Take 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1 teaspoon of carom seeds and add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder to it. Take this mix with water daily to cure heartburns.
2. Treats Common ColdAjwain helps in avoiding nasal blockage by discharging the mucus easily. Prepare a paste of ajwain seeds and jaggery by heating it and take 2 teaspoons of it twice a day to feel better. This also helps in dealing with respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis. To provide relief from a migraine headache, take ajwain powder in a thin cloth and inhale it frequently or keep it under your pillow.
3. For Ear and Tooth AcheTo ease a dreaded ear pain, two drops of ajwain oil are enough. For instant relief from tooth-ache, gargle with a mix of lukewarm water, 1 teaspoon of ajwain and salt. Simply inhaling the fumes of burning ajwain seeds can do wonders for an aching tooth. Besides this, it acts as a great mouth wash and maintains good oral hygiene.
4. For Cleaning WoundsA component called thymol in ajwain seeds acts as a strong fungicide and germicide. Thus, ajwain seeds can be crushed and applied on the skin to treat infections or cuts.
5. Oma WaterAjwain or Oma water is an ayurvedic marvel, especially for women. It cures the problem of indigestion for pregnant ladies by cleaning the uterus and stomach and solves the issue of irregular periods. Oma water is also often given to babies to reduce the problem of gas that causes discomfort. To prepare ajwain water, boil 2 teaspoons of roasted ajwain seeds in water. Strain this mixture and drink. You can add 1 teaspoon of honey for flavour. Drinking ajwain water regularly is known to enhance your rate of metabolism, burns fat and thus helps in losing weight.
6. To Stop Greying of HairAjwain seeds help in halting pre-mature greying of hair. To prepare this mixture, add curry leaves, dry grapes, sugar and carom seeds in a single cup of water and cook. Drink one glass of this every day until you start seeing the results.
7. Mosquito RepellentIf your market bought mosquito repellent fails to work, you can always make one at home. Combine mustard oil with ajwain seeds and apply on cardboard pieces which you can tie in the corners of your room to ward off mosquitoes. Using this spice as a repellent fills your house with a beautiful scent unlike the fumes released from coils.
8. Cleansing skin”Ajwain powder is especially useful in lightening acne scars. Apply a paste on the affected area for 10-15 minutes and then rinse,” advises Dr. Sinha.
9. Eases the Pain Due to ArthritisAjwain seeds possess two qualities that help them fight arthritis. They have antibiotic properties that reduce redness and combat inflammation, and they possess anaesthetic properties that soothe the pain and swelling. As a home remedy, you can apply the paste of crushed seeds on the joints or soak in a tub of hot water with a handful of carom seeds.