Ajwain is a very popular spice in India and ajwain oil has been in use here since centuries for flavouring and medicinal remedies. Ajwain oil is extracted from the crushed seeds of ajwain by the method of steam distillation.
Ajwain is also called Ajowan or Carom Seed or Bishop’s Weed or Trachyspermum ammi, Carum copticum, Trachyspermum copticum.
Ajwain Plant Description
Ajwain is an annual, aromatic, erect herb from the family of Apiaceae. It grows up to 60-90 cm. Ajwain herb bear white flowers and small brownish fruit. Ajwain seeds are tiny grey in colour and have a distinct bitterly pungent taste which comes to be quite peppery when taken raw.
Ajwain originated in the Eastern Mediterranean region, possibly Egypt. Ajwain is known for its unique flavour and medicinal properties. It found its way to India with the Greeks and subsequently is grown in many parts of the country. Additionally, it is cultivated in India, Central Europe, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Ajwain herb has been in use since centuries in several cultures for its aromatic and healing properties. In Ayurveda especially, ajwain is known for stimulating digestion and increasing appetite. It is recommended to help in reducing stomach discomfort and pain associated with gas and helps in providing relief from menstrual cramps.
Extraction of Ajwain Oil
Ajwain oil is extracted from the crushed seeds by the method of hydrodistillation by using a clevenger-type apparatus.
Characteristics of Ajwain Oil
|Botanical Name||Trachyspermum ammi|
|Colour||Light orange to reddish brown|
|Aroma||Warm, Pungent, Peppery|
Composition of Ajwain Oil
The main constituents of the ajwain oil are thymol, gamma-terpinene, p-cymene, and beta-pinene. Alpha-pinene, alpha-thujene, beta-myrcene, carvacrol, limonene, and terpinene-4-ol.
There are variations in the composition of ajwain oils depending upon the region where it is cultivated. For instance, ajwain oil collected from Southern India is rich in thymol.
The principal constituents which are responsible for typical flavour of ajwain seed essential oil are thymol and carvacrol.
Properties of Ajwain Oil
Ajwain oil has insecticidal, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-filarial, nematicidal, anthelmintic, hypotensive, analgesic and antitussive properties.
Ajwain seeds contain ethanol and acetone extracts which have antibacterial properties. Furthermore, Ajwain is rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids that give antioxidant protection. Apart from these, ajwain contains alkaloids, terpenoids, glycosides and various other bioactive compounds.
Ajwain is great for muscle spasms. It contains antispasmodic properties due to the presence of thymol which also makes it a great pain killer. This means, ajwain is great for treating colic and griping pains, asthma, menstrual cramps, arthritis and edema.
Ajwain is also rich in moisture, protein, carbohydrates, fat, minerals, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
Usages of Ajwain Oil
- Kidney and Liver Disorders: Various Ayurvedic medicines have Ajwain as an important ingredient as it provides relief in kidney and liver ailments.
- Skin Ailments: Ajwain can help with pimples and is effective for digestion which helps in having great skin.
- Postnatal Care: New mothers are given ajwain boiled water for a week for strengthening and cleansing of the body post delivery.
- Digestive Aid: Containing mineral, fiber, moisture, carotene, thiamine, and calcium, iron, phosphorus, niacin and riboflavin; ajwain helps in treating many digestive and skin ailments. Owing to the presence of thymol, Ajwain essential oil has various therapeutic properties. It is antiviral, digestive, spasmodic, anti-bacterial, antiseptic, expectorant, antipyretic, tonic and germicidal. It is explicitly beneficial in curing acute digestive ailments such as cholera and diarrhoea. One can treat indigestion, ulcers, and various other bacterial infections of the gut with ajwain seeds and essential oil.
- Respiratory Benefits: Respiratory ailments such as sore throat, cough and cold, asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis can be cured with ajwain oil.
- Aromatherapy: Useful in aromatherapy, ajwain oil offers calming sensations that relieves neuralgia and migraines.
How to Use Ajwain Oil
- Mix 1 drop of ajwain oil in a cup of warm water and gargle with it to relieve toothache, sore throat, and pharyngitis.
- Mix 2 drops of ajwain oil with 1 drop of clove oil, 1 drop of thyme oil and 2 ml of sweet almond oil. Gently massage forehead, chest, throat and back to experience relief in runny nose, headache, watery eyes, chest congestion and breathing problems.
- Mix 2 drops of ajwain oil with 1 drop of black cumin seed oil and 1.5 ml coconut oil. Massage foot soles to reduce fever and enhance immunity.
- Add 2 drops of ajwain oil in steam inhaler and experience release of body toxins through sweating.
- If you are suffering from kidney stones or urinary tract infections ajwain oil application can benefit you immensely. Add 2 drops of ajwain oil in your bathing water or massage lower abdomen and back with 4 drops of ajwain oil mixed with 2 drops of cumin oil and 5 ml of sesame oil.
Safety with Ajwain Oil
Pregnant women, lactating mothers and children should use ajwain oil under the directions of a qualified medical practitioner. If you suffer from liver disorders or hyperacidity, avoid consumption of ajwain.