Introduction to Carom (Ajwain)
Carom, also known as Ajwain is one of the most healthy and useful spices that can be used both in the kitchen as well as for health benefits. It is slightly olive green to brown in color and it looks like cumin seeds which everyone uses in their cooking.
Ajwain tastes not so awesome but it is quite good to eat after food as it also helps in digestion sometimes and is beneficial for gut health.
It has a strong flavor and bitter taste like oregano, which is another spice used mostly in the preparation of Chinese foods like Pizza, pasta, noodles, etc.
Ajwain or Carom can be used both for cooking and eating raw.
But it is most often added as a spice during cooking rather than eating them raw. It is mostly added to pickles and curries because of its strong and pungent flavor and its addition to any item enhances its taste and is liked by all.
It is one of the rare spices that not only add flavor to food items but is also good for health. It can be considered a health booster because it is beneficial for the digestive health of a human being.
Ajwain can be used not only in grounded form but also in powder form and more often it is used in whole form as it tastes better than the powdered one.
This spice is mainly found in Egypt but is also grown in many parts of South & West Asia, including Iran, India, Pakistan, and other countries.
In India, it is mainly grown in two states i.e. Gujarat and Rajasthan as the soil supports its growth and stability.
Ajwain needs fertile soil to grow and these two regions are perfect for its cultivation. This seed can treat any kind of stomach problems that are often caused due to indigestion like stomach pain or a burning sensation.
It can be used as one of the spices which is both good for health and appetite.
Alt: Carom seeds; Image description: Carom seeds spread on the floor; Source: istockphoto.com
Health benefits of Carom Seeds
Ajwain is basically seeds of the ajwain herb and they are most commonly used in Indian cuisines. These seeds are mainly sold in grounded form and can be made into a fine powder and used for cooking purposes.
Apart from being used in cooking, carom seeds are also highly nutritious, and rich in fiber, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals. Because of these factors, ajwain is very good for health and also it has been used in traditional Indian medicines.
- Helps in fighting bacteria and fungi
Carom seeds have both antibacterial and antifungal properties and so this seed can be considered one of the best remedies to prevent the emergence of any bacteria or fungi in the human body.
This seed has two compounds: thymol and carvacrol, which helps the body to protect against any outside infection which can be harmful if not prevented.
- Helps in balancing cholesterol levels
Carom seeds can also help in balancing the cholesterol level in our body which is very risky for heart problems and can also lead to heart attacks or cardiac arrests. Consuming carom seeds on a regular basis can help in lowering bad cholesterol and keep the heart healthy and energetic.
However, ajwain powder proved to be more effective than grounded seeds because it can be mixed in food or water and can be consumed without eating them raw as the flavor is not so good and is bitter.
3. Lowering Blood Pressure
In today’s fast-paced world, high blood pressure is a common concern that can lead to serious heart-related issues and respiratory problems.
Carom seeds have been found to help in reducing blood pressure.
Including carom seeds or their powder in your regular diet can be an effective way to prevent blood sugar levels from rising.
4. Managing Ulcers and Digestive Issues
Ulcers and indigestion are common problems that many people face. Carom seeds are a natural remedy that can assist in preventing and treating these issues.
They can provide relief from gas and chronic indigestion, even when other treatments have proven ineffective.
5. Easing Coughing Problems
Carom seeds contain anti-cough properties that can be beneficial in treating acute cough problems. Unlike most over-the-counter cough medicines, carom seeds offer a natural and effective solution.
Moreover, they can improve lung airflow, making them helpful for individuals dealing with coughs, breathing difficulties, asthma, and related respiratory concerns.
6.Helps to cure inflammation problems
Carom seeds also help to cure both short-term and acute inflammation problems. Inflammation can be of two types: short-term (less acute) and long term (severe).
Short-term inflammation is the body’s natural way of protecting against illness or injury whereas, chronic inflammation can have negative effects on your body and can increase the risk of certain diseases which can be cured if carom seeds were consumed on daily basis.
7 .Helps in the healing of wounds
Carom seeds contain a component known as ‘thymol’ which acts as a germicide and fungicide.
So, ajwain seeds can be crushed into a fine powder and then can be applied to wounds or cuts when needed, So, carom seeds can be considered a great rescuer if anybody is injured.
8. Helps in the prevention of greying of hairs
Ajwain or carom seeds also help in treating the greying of hair.
One can prepare the mix by adding curry leaves, dry grapes, sugar, and carom seeds in one cup of water and mixing them well, and then drinking it every day until you see the results.
9.Helps to prevent Acne scars
Carom powder can also help in lightening acne scars on the face. One can apply the ajwain powder paste to their skin and leave it for 10-15 mins and thoroughly rinse to see the change in their skin.
It can also be helpful in clearing the dirt from the skin which is usually caused by outside dust and germs.
10. Helps in treating arthritis
Ajwain seeds contain two important qualities that help in fighting arthritis.
First, they have antibiotic properties that reduce the redness and cure the inflammation, and second, they possess anesthetic properties that soothe the pain and swelling of the knee to a great extent.
As a home remedy, one can apply the paste of crushed carom seeds on the joints to get some relief from the pain.
Alt: Carom seeds & powder; Image description: Carom powder with seeds in a spoon; Source: exportersindia.com
Recipes made from Carom leaves
Carom leaves or Ajwain leaves are one of the main centers of attraction as it is more useful and beneficial than carom seeds and powder. The leaves of this plant are green in color and pulpy in structure.
These leaves also can be used in many ways and can also be used in cooking recipes.
Ajwain leaves can be used to make tasty pakodas as these leaves can be mixed with besan batter and then deep fry in oil.
These pakodas are quite tasty to eat if had with tomato ketchup.
- Chutneys and dips
Ajwain leaves can be grounded and then added with yogurt to make a creamy and flavorful dip to have with pakodas and samosas.
These leaves can also be grinded into a fine paste and can be served as chutneys with chips, pakodas, and parathas.
- Green juices
Ajwain leaves can also be added to any vegetable and fruit juices to make the drink more nutritious and healthy. This addition of leaves can also make the juices more flavorful and sweet.
Origin and cultivation of Carom seeds (Ajwain)
- Origin of Carom seeds
Carom seeds have originated in Persia (earlier Iran) and also Turkey. From there the cultivation of ajwain also started in India and now even in the Middle East and North Africa. It has a lot of names depending on which place it is grown.
- Cultivation of Carom seeds
The Ajwain plant is very easy to grow and is quite beautiful to look at. It can be grown as a hedge in a small garden as this plant is very useful both for health and cooking purposes.
Ajwain is generally grown from seeds and it is mainly cultivated between the period from October to November. One should be aware that over-watering the ajwain plants can destroy their growth and the plant may also die.
Ajwain plants are mostly grown in less sunlight and should be put into shady places for smooth growth. After planting the ajwain seeds, they generally germinated within 7 to 10 days.
These seeds as already mentioned are very useful for health so, the cultivation of these plants is highly recommended.
Alt: Ajwain leaves; Image description: Ajwain plants with green leaves; Source: ugaoo.com
Side effects of Ajwain
Ajwain if consumed more can also be harmful to health, so one should limit the consumption of ajwain seeds for the proper benefits.
- Acidity problem
Ajwain seeds or powder if consumed in excess can lead to gas formation in the stomach which in turn causes acidity and is quite harmful to health. So, one should not eat much ajwain on daily basis.
- Mouth inflammation
Ajwain seeds contain a bioactive compound that can even cause inflammation in the mouth which can lead to a burning sensation, redness of the skin, or mouth ulcers.
- Harmful for pregnant women
Ajwain seeds should not be consumed during pregnancy as the components contained in the ajwain can be harmful to fetal development. So, a pregnant woman must avoid eating ajwain seeds during her pregnancy for the safety of her child.
Ajwain or carom seeds, therefore, can be considered a boon for humankind if consumed in a good way. These seeds are often used as spices in cooking as well as for health purposes. So, one can have some amount of ajwain seeds after food to get better digestion and gut health.