Carom Seeds (Ajwain) Benefits & Side Effects

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Ajwain (also called carom seeds and ajowan caraway) is an Indian spice and ayurvedic medicines used in digestive ailment, mental diseases and respiratory disorders.

It is also a common home remedy used for a variety of health conditions such as abdominal pain, cramps, intestinal gas, indigestion, vomiting, and abdominal distension, and diarrhea, loose stool, breathing trouble and heaviness in abdomen after meal.

Botanical Description

Basic Information

Scientific NameTRACHYSPERMUM AMMI
Plant FamilyAPIACEAE
Hindi NameAJWAIN
Sanskrit NameAJWAIN
English NameCAROM SEEDS, AJOWAN CARAWAY, BISHOP’S WEED

Botanical Classification (Taxonomy)

KingdomPLANTAE
Sub-KingdomVIRIDIPLANTAE
Infra KingdomSTREPTOPHYTA  (land plants)
Super DivisionEMBRYOPHYTA
DivisionTRACHEOPHYTA (TRACHEOPHYTES or Vascular Plants)
Sub DivisionSPERMATOPHYTINA (SPERMATOPHYTES or Seed Plants)
ClassMAGNOLIOPSIDA
Super OrderASTERANAE
OrderAPIALES
FamilyAPIACEAE
GenusTRACHYSPERMUM (AJOWAN CARAWAY)
SpeciesTRACHYSPERMUM AMMI

Medicinal Parts

Seeds are used for therapeutic purposes.

Phytochemistry (Active Constituents)

Ajwain (carom) seeds contain saponins and phenolic compounds. The following volatile oils are also present in ajwain seeds.

  • Thymol
  • Para-cymene
  • α- pinene
  • β-pinene
  • γ-terpinene

All these volatile oils are responsible for its medicinal properties given below.

Medicinal Properties

Ajwain (carom seed) has following healing properties.

  1. Anti-inflammatory
  2. Anti-arthritic
  3. Antispasmodic
  4. Carminative
  5. Antiflatulent
  6. Digestive Stimulant
  7. Hypo-glycemic
  8. Analgesic
  9. Muscle relaxant
  10. Anthelmintic
  11. Galactagogue
  12. Emmenagogue
  13. Antifungal
  14. Antioxidant
  15. Antimicrobial
  16. Antinociceptive
  17. Hypolipidemic
  18. Antihypertensive
  19. Bronchodilator
  20. Antitussive
  21. Abortifacient (in excess amounts)
  22. Antilithiasis
  23. Diuretic
  24. Antifilarial
  25. Cardiac Stimulant

Culinary uses of Ajwain (carom seeds)

Ajwain or carom seeds have a great importance in Indian cooking. These seeds provide flavor and fragrance to food recipes. Carom seeds have a strong aroma and provide a unique taste to chapattis and recipes.

Indian people also believe using carom seeds in food also prevents indigestion, abdominal pain and all other abdominal disorders.

You should also remember that ajwain seeds contain volatile oil, so heat will destroy it. Therefore, you should add ajwain seeds after cooking or in final stage of cooking.

Powder of ajwain seeds is also added in cooked vegetables along with black pepper, long pepper and coriander seeds.

Therapeutic Indications

Ajwain (carom seeds) is helpful in following health conditions.

Digestive Health
  • Loss of appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Gas or flatulence
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal distension
  • Loose stools or diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Intestinal parasites or worms
Heart & Blood
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Bradycardia (Slow Heart Rate)
Lungs & Airways
  • Chronic cough
  • Asthma
  • Productive cough with foul smelly sputum
Muscle, Bones & Joints
  • Muscle spasm
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout (used with celery seeds)
Women’s Health
  • Membranous dysmenorrhea
  • Secondary amenorrhea
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Backache during periods

Benefits & Medicinal Uses

Ajwain (carom seeds) are famous home remedy for abdominal pain. It is usually found in every Kitchen in India and used to enhance the flavor of the foods and prevents the diseases occurring due to gas formation in the abdomen. Its digestive action helps to promote digestion of the food and proper assimilation of the nutrients from the food into the blood. According to Ayurveda, it is potent AMANASHAK, which means it reduces toxin formation in the digestive canal restricting indigestion and malabsorption.

Disease Prevention

The general use of Ajwain (carom) prevent following health conditions:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of feeling to eat
  • Difficult to digest foods
  • Malabsorption
  • Intestinal Gas
  • Bloating
  • Worm infestation
  • Spleen disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Abdominal pains
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Dysmenorrhea

Loss of Appetite

The appetizer action of Ajwain is due its effect on the stomach and liver. In stomach, it modulates the gastric secretion and increases the digestive action. On liver, it is likely to reduce inflammation of hepatic tissue and treats fatty liver disease, which is also a common cause of poor appetite.

In ayurveda, Ajwain is recommended for loss of appetite in following combination:

Roasted Ajwain (carom seeds)2 grams
Rock Salt (Sendha Namak)1 gram
Kali Mirch (Black Pepper)250 mg
Ajwain mixture should be taken twice daily with water or honey and preferably after food.

Flatulence & Intestinal Gas

Ajwain has potent carminative and antiflatulent action. It reduces gas formation in the intestine and also increases its elimination by removing the blockage due to thick and sticky stools.

3 grams Ajwain powder is advised to take with lukewarm water in the morning and evening for excess flatulence or gas problems.

Bloating & Abdominal Distension

The most common cause of bloating and abdominal distension is excess gas accumulation in the abdomen. Ajwain along with other herbs promotes elimination of gas and precludes excess gas formation. In India, it is added in foods because it prevents other foods to form gas in the abdomen and promotes their easier digestion. If condition is mild, then alone Ajwain is sufficient to cure this condition, but if one has obstinate abdominal distension, then following Ajwain combination is proved to be helpful.

Ajwain (carom seeds)500 mg
Black Salt (Kala Namak)500 mg
Jeera (Cumin)500 mg
Sonth (dried ginger)500 mg
Ajwain mixture should be taken twice daily with water preferably after food.

Hookworm

However, Ajwain (carom) can help in all types of intestinal worms by stopping the growth of parasites, but is reported by ayurvedic practitioners that it is more effective in hookworm infestation.

Its extract called Ajwain Sat (Carom seed extract) is used in dosage of 125 mg twice daily for a week to eradicate hookworm from the alimentary canal.

Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

Ajwain (carom seeds) has bacteriostatic, bactericidal and antibacterial actions, which helps to fight off upper respiratory tract infections.

In many cases with chronic upper respiratory tract infections, bad odor with the sputum and altered taste of mouth due to it is a main concern reported by patients. In such cases, Ajwain is highly useful remedy. It reduces microbial growth and thickness of the mucus, and increases the expulsion of the accumulated mucus content from the lungs.

In ayurveda, Ajwain (carom seed) powder (Churna) is given along with Shringa Bhasma Praval Pishti and Sitopaladi Churna in following dosage.

Ajwain (carom seed) powder1000 mg
Sitopaladi Churna1000 mg
Shringa Bhasma125 mg
Praval Pishti250 mg
This dosage is advised to repeat for 2 times a day for 1 to 2 weeks.

Urticaria (Hives)

Ajwain (carom seed) appears to have similar action as modern antihistamine drugs work. In combination as follows, it reduces itching and a good alternative treatment for hives.

Ajwain (carom seed) powder2 grams
Jaggery (Gur)4 grams
Haldi (Turmeric)1 grams
Black Pepper50 mg
This dosage should be repeated for 3 to 4 times in a day during acute onset of Urticaria, and then it should be taken twice daily.

Some ayurvedic doctors also use 2 grams Ajwain Churna along with 2 grams jaggery and 125 mg Ras Sindoor to provide immediate relief from intense itching. With this combination effects start within an hour after its intake, which results in complete remission of intense itching within 3 to 6 hours.

Dosage

Ajwain seeds or carom seeds dosage varies according to health condition, age and symptoms. The general dosage table is as follows.

Culinary Use1 to 3 grams a day
Therapeutic Dosage2 to 4 grams
Ajwain mixed with black salt1 to 2 grams
Water extract of ajwain or carom seeds10 to 100 mg
Thymol5 to 20 mg

Caution & Side Effects

Ajwain (carom seeds) are LIKELY SAFE in food amounts. Ajwain seeds are also POSSIBLY SAFE in therapeutic dosage. The excess amount (exceeding 10 grams a day) can cause following side effects.

  • Acidity
  • Burning sensation
  • Mouth ulcer

Contraindications

You should not eat ajwain in following conditions.

  • Stomach ulcer
  • Internal bleeding
  • Ulcerative colitis (acute phase)
  • Mouth ulcer

Ajwain (carom seeds) can exacerbate these conditions and increase the symptoms of these diseases.

Words of Caution

Some facts should be cleared as follows:

Constipation

Commonly or mistakenly Ajwain (carom) is advised to eat in constipation, but the fact is that it does not work in constipation if you have hard and dry stools or constipation with little lumps of the stools. In such cases, Ajwain must be avoided because it may cause more dryness and hardness of the fecal matter. In such cases, increase water intake, include fiber and you may require stool softeners or laxative medicines.

If you have soft, but sticky clay like stool or pasty and putty like stools with mucus content in the stool, and experience difficulty in bowel movement and feel incomplete emptiness of the bowel after defecation, then Ajwain (carom seeds) can be beneficial. In such case, it is common to have excessive flatulence. Ajwain reduces inflammation of the inner linings of alimentary canal, so it prevents mucus formation. This difference should be understood properly.

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6 Comments

  1. Gautam says

    Is oregano and ajwain same?

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      However, both plants have similar health benefits, but both are botanically different species. Oregano’s botanical name is Origanum vulgare and botanical name of Ajwain (carom) is Trachyspermum ammi.

      Even each belongs to different family, as per botanical classification. Oregano belongs to Mint Family (Lamiaceae) and Ajwain belongs to Apiaceae family.

  2. Kirth Manku says

    I eat a lot of Ajwain possibly 6 to 8 tablespoons daily. More, if the urge is there. I’ve been doing this for four years. Is this bad for me? Is this considered too much? How should Ajwain be consumed for weight loss purposes? Please reply, thank you.

  3. Suman Roy says

    Is ajwain safe during pregnancy?

  4. Sahni Anita says

    Dr. Dev. someone suggested me to soak 2 spoons of carom seeds overnight and to have it first thing in the morning to shed some overweight.
    My question to you is Can I have this over the months without any side effects. Does it really help to reduce weight or it is just a bag.

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Yes, Carom seeds are helpful for losing weight. It acts by stimulating metabolism and boosting fat burning. However, short-term use may not give expected benefits, so it should be taken for at least 3 months or more.

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