Ajowan Spice Healing Powers
Other names: Carom seeds and ajwain (pronounced aj’o-wen)
Ajowan spice healing powers are popular in India, where the spice is used in cooking to add zest to curries and aroma to breads and biscuits. As an added bonus, ajowan spice healing powers are known to have the ability to heal every day ills.
Think of how often we run to our medicine cabinets to grab aspirin for aches, cough medicine for coughs and sore throats, antacids for our tummies or antihistamine for allergies. Well, in India, people are more likely to prepare a beverage called “omam water – ajowan spice seeds steeped in warm distilled water.
Oman water is generally used for digestive ailments such as heartburn, belching, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea. This beverage is technically considered a folk remedy; however, researchers are studying ajowan now giving it scientific support as a spice with healing powers.
Soothe the Digestive Tract
Researchers have thus far discovered more than two dozen medicinally active compounds in ajowan’s tiny seeds. One of them is as strong as morphine!
Relief for Pain
Raw ajowan seeds have a hot, bitter flavor that is so intense they will actually numb your tongue for a moment. When used in cooking, the sting is abated. In any event, the cause of this temporary numbing is the thymol in ajowan. It literally numbs pain.
Researchers believe further relief is due to the choline and acetylcholine (controls involuntary muscles) in ajowan seeds. Choline is a nutrient that aids the brain in sending healing messages to the body. To get the most relief, one must use the seeds roasted.
â€œThe present study supports claims of traditional Iranian medicine showing the Carum copticum
[ajowan] extract possesses a clear-cut analgesic [pain-relieving] effect.â€ -Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
Getting to Know Ajowan
Ajowan may be a stranger to most American kitchens but in American medicine cabinets you may find use of its active ingredients in cough medicines and lozenges. The essential oil from ajowan is thymol, which can be found in mouthwash and toothpaste.
Components of the spice are also used to maintain the shelf life of packaged foods and perfumes.
In the Kitchen with Ajowan
Ajowan works well with starchy foods, and is used to flavor dishes of root vegetables and legumes. In India, it is an essential ingredient in lentil dishes for its taste as well as its ability to improve digestion and prevent flatulence.
An appetizer fritter called pakora or a filled dumpling called samosa are popular in Indian baked goods. In Afghanistan, ajowan is used in breads and pastries. It is also a key ingredient in the Ethiopian spice blend berbere.
Ajowan pairs well with these spices:
- Mustard seed
Ajowan complements recipes featuring:
- Fish curries
- Root vegetables
- Savory pastries
- Vegetarian entrees
Ajowan is inexpensive but somewhat hard to find locally. Indian markets and possibly some specialty spice shops may carry the product. Online, Amazon is your best bet – we recommend Ajwain Seeds.
The small seeds are about the size of celery seeds and are sold whole, as they are rarely used in ground form. If stored in an airtight container away from heat and moisture, they will keep for two years or more.