Think of carom seeds and you, involuntarily, get a hot bitter taste in your mouth. But, if you are an Indian, chances are you already know the benefits of ajwain.
Carom seeds are actually a spice that is liberally used in Indian cooking. However, as a small child, I remember whenever my classmate or I had a stomach ache in the school, our teacher would ask us to go to the kitchen and get a mixture of carom seeds and salt. Apparently, chewing on it (we preferred gulping it down with plain water) helps with stomach aches.
Carom seeds are actually not seeds, they are fruits of the herb. I had got a small ajwain plant from Kolkata and potted it. Within a few days, it spread and started hanging out of the pot. I even cut it from time to time and gave it to my neighbour who made fries with its leaves.
My mother puts ajwain liberally in kadhi, okra subzi, mathris, paranthas, puris, etc. I never took notice of this spice until I delivered my daughter. Post delivery, I was given a big bowl of crushed ajwain roasted in ghee with sugar. This was my breakfast for 30 days. Apparently, it helps in digestion, lactation, and cleaning of the uterus. I had taken such a dislike to this spice that after the 30-day mandatory breakfast of ajwain, I didn’t touch it for many months.
Ajwain has many health benefits. Let’s look at them:
- It relieves stomach ache, gas and flatulence.
- It enhances appetite.
- It helps in cold and cough.
- It controls acidity.
- It relieves headache and migraine.
- It has antibiotic and anti inflammatory properties that soothe joint pains, gout, psoriasis, arthritis pain and many other inflammation.
- It helps in weight loss.
However, an over-consumption can lead to many undesirable effects like bleeding problems, gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting, mouth ulcers, etc.
How to consume ajwain?
For cold and cough remedy – When my newborn had cold, I dry roasted some seeds and put them in a muslin cloth, and pressed this cloth with lukewarm seeds against my baby’s chest. To an older child, you can even administer ajwain seed water (carom seeds boiled in water, reduced to half the quantity) with a tsp of honey. However, give in small doses or it can lead to loose motion.
For digestion/flatulence remedy – As I mentioned in the post of Saunf-Fennel Seeds, I dry roast equal quantity of fennel seeds and carom seeds till they change slight colour or emit aroma. Add some rock salt. Mix and pour it in an airtight container. Have 1-2 spoonfuls after meals.
Oregano leaves are used as fritters. Pluck fresh and plump leaves, coat them with thick spicy chickpea batter and deep fry them.
How do you consume carom seeds/ajwain?