Ajwain: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects
By Apollo Pharmacy, Published on- 15 September 2023
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Ajwain, also known as carom seeds, is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine. It is known for its unique taste and strong aroma, which adds depth and flavour to various dishes. However, Ajwain benefits prove more to be than just a culinary spice. Its medicinal properties have made it a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic remedies and natural healing practices. In this article, we will explore the uses, benefits, and potential Ajwain side effects.
What is Ajwain?
Ajwain seeds are small, oval-shaped, and have a brownish colour. They are often used in small quantities because of their intense flavour and aromatic qualities. Ajwain is rich in essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus and iron. The spice is low in calories and fat. It contains essential vitamins such as:
Moreover, it contains active compounds that have numerous health benefits, such as:
- Thymol: Thymol is the main active compound in ajwain. It has antimicrobial properties and can help in treating digestive disorders like indigestion, flatulence, and stomachache.
- Terpenes: Ajwain contains various terpenes that aid digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes and juices.
- Fibre: Ajwain is a good dietary fibre source, promoting healthy bowel movements and preventing constipation.
Health Benefits of Ajwain
Ajwain (carom seeds) offers several health benefits due to its unique blend of compounds and properties. Read on to learn more about Ajwain benefits.
1. Digestive Health
Ajwain is believed to improve digestive health through various mechanisms
- Aids in digestion: Ajwain contains active compounds like thymol, which have been found to enhance the secretion of digestive enzymes. This can help improve digestion and alleviate common digestive issues like indigestion.
- Alleviates stomach pain and bloating: Ajwain has carminative properties, meaning it can help relieve stomach pain and bloating by promoting the expulsion of gas from the digestive tract. It also helps relax the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, reducing discomfort.
- Prevents flatulence and acidity: The essential oils present in ajwain have been shown to have antiflatulent properties, which means they can prevent the formation of excess gas in the digestive system. Additionally, ajwain can help balance stomach acid levels, reducing acidity.
2. Respiratory Health
Ajwain is often used in traditional medicine for its potential respiratory health benefits.
- Relieves cough and cold symptoms: Ajwain has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help in relieving cough and cold symptoms. It acts as an expectorant, promoting the expulsion of mucus from the respiratory tract and providing relief from congestion.
- Reduces bronchial congestion and asthma symptoms: The active compounds in ajwain have bronchodilator properties, which means they can help to widen the airways and reduce bronchial congestion. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions.
- Promotes respiratory health: Ajwain has soothing properties that can help alleviate sore throat symptoms. It can also help to clear phlegm and reduce inflammation in the throat, promoting overall respiratory health.
3. Weight Management
Ajwain is believed to have certain properties that may aid in weight management.
- Boosts metabolism: Ajwain contains compounds that can help boost your metabolism, which is crucial for weight loss. A faster metabolism means your body burns calories more efficiently, leading to weight loss.
- Reduces appetite and food cravings: Ajwain has appetite-suppressing properties that can help control your hunger pangs. It can reduce food cravings, especially for unhealthy snacks or sugary treats. By curbing your appetite, ajwain can contribute to healthier eating habits and weight management.
4. Skin Health
Ajwain is primarily used as a spice in cooking but also offers some potential benefits for skin health.
- Treats skin infections and acne: Ajwain possesses antimicrobial properties that can help in treating various skin infections, such as eczema and psoriasis. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce redness and swelling associated with acne breakouts.
- Improves skin complexion: The antioxidants present in ajwain can help fight free radicals and prevent oxidative stress, which contributes to premature ageing and dull skin. Regular consumption or topical application of ajwain can improve blood circulation and assist in skin care.
5. Oral Health
Oral health is a fundamental aspect of overall well-being.
- Alleviates toothache and gum problems: Ajwain has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate toothache and gum problems. You can apply a paste of ajwain seeds mixed with water on the affected area for relief.
- Freshens breath: Chewing on a few ajwain seeds can help freshen your breath and prevent bad breath. The essential oils present in ajwain have antimicrobial properties that can kill bacteria causing foul odour in the mouth.
6. Women's Health
Rich in essential compounds, ajwain is believed to offer a range of advantages that aid in women's health.
- Relieves menstrual pain: Ajwain can help alleviate menstrual pain due to its analgesic and antispasmodic properties. Consuming ajwain water or tea can reduce cramping.
- Promotes lactation in breastfeeding mothers: Ajwain has been traditionally used to stimulate milk production in lactating mothers. It is believed to increase the secretion of prolactin, a hormone responsible for milk production.
How to Use Ajwain for Maximum Benefits?
In this section, we will explore the culinary uses of ajwain and how it can be used as an herbal remedy.
1. Culinary Uses
Ajwain is commonly used as a spice in Indian cuisine.
- Add a pinch of ajwain seeds to enhance the flavour of curries, lentils, and vegetables.
- It also pairs well with bread, especially in parathas and naans.
2. Herbal Remedies and Preparations
Here are several ways to use Ajwain in herbal remedies:
- Infusions and herbal teas: Prepare an herbal tea by boiling ajwain seeds in water. Strain the mixture and drink it to ease indigestion and bloating. You can also add ginger or fennel seeds to enhance the taste.
- Ajwain water for digestive health: Soak a teaspoon of ajwain seeds overnight in a glass of water. Drink this water on an empty stomach in the morning to improve digestion. This remedy is particularly beneficial for those suffering from acidity and stomach ulcers.
- Topical applications for skin and oral health: Make a paste using ajwain seeds and apply it on insect bites to reduce itching and swelling. Gargle with Ajwain water to alleviate tooth pain and bad breath. Ajwain oil can be used as a massage oil to relieve joint pain and inflammation.
Safety and Precautions
When it comes to using Ajwain, it is essential to be aware of any possible Ajwain side effects and allergies. While ajwain is generally safe for consumption, some individuals may experience adverse reactions. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating ajwain into your diet or using it for medicinal purposes.
1. Possible Side Effects to Ajwain
Excessive consumption of ajwain or using it in large quantities can potentially lead to side effects and adverse reactions.
- Skin Irritation: Some individuals may develop skin irritation or redness when Ajwain comes in direct contact with their skin. It is advisable to do a patch test before using Ajwain topically.
- Digestive Issues: Consuming excessive amounts of ajwain can cause digestive discomfort, such as heartburn, bloating, or gas. It is best to consume ajwain in moderation.
2. Dosage Recommendations
The appropriate dosage can vary depending on the specific purpose and individual factors.
- Children: Ajwain should not be given to infants below six months of age. For older children, it is recommended to start with small amounts and monitor their reactions.
- Pregnant and Nursing Women: While ajwain is generally considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using it in larger quantities or for extended periods.
3. Interactions with Medical Conditions
It's important to be aware of potential interactions between ajwain and certain medications, particularly when used in larger quantities or concentrated forms.
- Diabetes: Ajwain may lower blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes or are taking medications to control your blood sugar, monitor your levels closely when using Ajwain.
- Surgery: Ajwain may interfere with blood clotting, so it is essential to stop consuming it for at least two weeks before undergoing any surgical procedure.
Ajwain is a versatile spice that offers numerous health benefits. By incorporating this aromatic herb into your daily life, you can enhance your overall well-being and improve your health in various ways. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before using Ajwain as a medicinal remedy or if you have any concerns about Ajwain side effects. Incorporating Ajwain into your healthy lifestyle can provide numerous benefits, but it is important to consume it in moderation. Enjoy its unique taste and reap the rewards of this wonderful spice!
Q. Is Ajwain safe for children?
Yes, ajwain is generally safe for children when used in moderation. However, it is advisable to consult a paediatrician before introducing it into their diet.
Q. Can Ajwain be used for skincare?
Yes, ajwain can be used for skincare. It has antimicrobial properties that can help in treating acne and other skin conditions. However, it is important to do a patch test before using it on the face.
Q. Can ajwain be used as a natural insect repellent?
Yes, ajwain can be used as a natural insect repellent. Burning ajwain seeds emits a strong aroma that repels mosquitoes and other insects.
Q. What is the recommended dosage of ajwain?
The recommended dosage of ajwain varies depending on the individual's age, health condition, and purpose of use. It is best to consult a healthcare professional for personalised advice.
Q. Can ajwain be used for hair growth?
Ajwain is believed to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. It can be used in hair masks, but more research is needed to establish its effectiveness.
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