Caraway (Carum carvi), also referred to as Meridian Fennel or Persian Cumin, is a biennial plant that belongs to the family Apiaceae. Black Caraway is known for its wonderful health benefits and medicinal properties. It is the remedy for numerous diseases and disorders. This is a common household plant grown around the world and used as a flavoring agent in foods and beverages, and has various traditional uses in ethnomedicine.
Caraway seeds have a fragrant odor, distinct flavor and provide a warm feeling when chewed. Because of its sweet aroma, they are used in the manufacture of perfumes, soaps, and lotions as a fragrance component.
Here, we cover its various health benefits, culinary uses, and also its side-effects.
1. Promotes Sleep
Caraway seeds are a rich source of magnesium, which can help individuals sleep better. Magnesium is a mineral that is associated with enhancing the quality and the duration of sleep. Caraway seeds also help manage the metabolism, and as a result prevent
2. Treats Diabetes
Many studies show that caraway can even benefit individuals with diabetes. In the Moroccan traditional medicine, caraway seeds are used as diuretics and given to treat diabetes. A 2006 study on diabetic rats showed that caraway extract resulted in a substantial reduction in levels of cholesterol in the rats.
Another study by researchers at Mysore University in India discovered the potential anti-diabetic properties of caraway. In this study, the research team fed diabetes-induced rats a diet of ground caraway for eight weeks with positive results. The rats showed a reduction in hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar and glucosuria, in which the urine contains too much glucose. Some studies confirm that caraway may aid hyperglycemia. Aqueous extract of caraway showed potent lipid lowering activity in both normal and diabetic rats after single and repeated oral administration.1 People with diabetes can include caraway in their diet as it has hypoglycemic properties that aid to reduce high blood sugar levels.
3. Colic Remedy
Colic is a non-definable disease that frequently affects neonates as well as infants. A common use of caraway seeds is to cure a colic condition. Colic could be cured with the addition of a few grains of caraway seeds into boiling milk and by combining it with honey. In many cases, infants may have stomach problems, which can be easily cured by giving them ground caraway seeds with milk.2
How To Use:
- Grind an ounce of caraway seed, pour a quart of distilled water to the seeds and allow sit for six hours.
- You may add a spoon of honey to sweeten it.
- Give one or two teaspoons when needed, up to four times every day.
4. Improves Appetite
Our food habits and lifestyle adversely affects our appetite. Even adolescents and young children may suffer from loss of appetite. Caraway seeds are an excellent remedy to increase the appetite. Tea brewed by including caraway seeds is an excellent remedy for bad appetite. If consumed over time, you will observe the advancement in your appetite progressively. In Poland, caraway is recommended as a remedy to cure the lack of appetite.3
5. Inhibits Cancer Growth
Caraway seeds include a chemical compound known as ‘limonene’, that has anti-cancer properties and inhibits the development of breast, liver, lung, as well as stomach cancer. In some studies, dietary supplementation of caraway was found
6. Cures Digestive Problems
One of the main reasons caraway is used in the preparation of many traditional dishes is because of its power to cure digestive disorders. Caraway contains many bioactive compounds that balance gut microflora (GM), which help in food digestion and absorption.5 The therapeutic qualities of caraway seeds can improve the digestion. It is prescribed in traditional medicines for its ability to heal gastrointestinal as well as digestive complaints. It is also used to heal stomach ulcers owing to its calming effects.6
7. Reduces Cholesterol
Scientific studies have confirmed the health effects of fiber-rich foods in reducing LDL cholesterol within the body. Fiber also helps enhance the amount of HDL cholesterol. These functions are very important in reducing the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases. After a single oral administration, caraway extract produced a significant decrease in triglycerides levels in normal rats. In STZ diabetic rats, cholesterol levels were decreased significantly after caraway treatment. Repeated oral administration of caraway extract exhibited a significant hypotriglyceridemic
8. Treats Skin Conditions
Caraway seeds are an effective ingredient in many skin care products. Many organic skin care products use the essential oils extracted from caraway for skin care usage or aromatic facial steams. It is effective in treating oily skin, cleaning infected wounds, and relieving itching (including scabies). The essential oil is known to have some effect in reducing boils, acne, and similar eruptions. It has the potential to aid regeneration of skin cells and help remove acne scars or dark spots.
9. Relieves Menstrual Cramps
For ages, in many parts of the world, caraway seeds have been used to treat menstrual cramps and stomach problems. Its anti-spasmodic properties are useful in treating bouts of pain that are usually associated with menstruation. Even today, in parts of India, women use caraway oil to start menstruation and relieve menstrual cramps.8
How To Use:
- Boil some caraway seed oil and wait for it to cool down to the room temperature.
- Then, gently massage the oil over the stomach area for a quick relief from abdominal cramps.
- Alternatively, you can grind a few caraway seeds and combine it with lime juice.
- Add this mix to lukewarm water and drink twice daily.
10. Relieves Flatulence
Flatulence is the accumulation of abdominal gases that causes discomfort among the young and the old. Caraway is known to aid digestion, facilitate the movement of gases and prevent excess gas formation in the stomach. This condition can affect the appetite of a person, causes bloating, abdominal fullness and can be quite embarrassing at times. Persian traditional scholars advised using caraway to relieve flatulence.9 10
11. Relieves Heartburn
Often, acidity or even heartburn is mistaken for the symptoms of a heart attack. Heartburn is the burning sensation we experience within the chest and the throat area, often accompanied with burps or hiccups. Consuming caraway seeds along with food or after food can relieve this uncomfortable feeling.11
How To Use:
- Caraway seeds can be either include in boiling water and consumed or mixed with a bowl of curd.
- It may also be consumed in conjunction with peppermint oil to ease heartburn.
12. Cures Dry And Itchy Scalp
Caraway contains antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which can be useful in preventing and treating scalp problems. Caraway essential oil acts as an effective antimicrobial agent and inhibits the growth of many bacteria and fungi. People who suffer from scalp irritation and dry scalp may experience unprecedented hair fall as a result. Caraway acts as an effective remedy for this problem and can inhibit the growth of scalp bacteria.12
How To Use:
- Use a paste made of caraway seeds mixed with a few drops of lemon and massage it gently on the scalp for ten minutes.
- Then, wash it off with warm water.
- To fight any type of itchiness, you can prepare a caraway seeds pack.
- Create a paste of banana mixed with caraway seed paste and apply it on the scalp once a week.
Caraway seed can provide relief to many health conditions associated with spasms. It instantly reduces the signs of muscular cramps and muscle pulls as it shuts down the effects of compounds and enzymes accountable for muscle contraction. It may also help in reducing respiratory-related spasms while curing hiccups, trouble in breathing as well as coughs. As an expectorant, caraway seed can reduce blockage related to cold and cough. It can also deal with an inflamed nasal tract, pharynx, larynx, bronchi and throat linked to the common cold.
Using Caraway Seeds In Everyday Cooking
Caraway seeds are commonly used in the preparation of bread, cheese, and soups. It is highly valued because of its distinctive flavor. Butter is also flavored along with caraway seeds combined with ginger and salt. In Germany and Russia, it is used in preparing some alcoholic drinks. Here are some of the ways that caraway can be used in cooking.
- When fermenting cabbage to make sauerkraut, include a few seeds of caraway to give it a distinctive flavor.
- When making rye bread or recipes derived from rye bread, use of caraway seeds.
- Bakery foods like bread, muffins and hot buns taste better when caraway seeds are added.
- Include a few seeds of caraway roasted in olive oil on bread toast.
- Salads taste much better when seasoned with a dressing of caraway seeds.
- Boil caraway seeds in milk or tea. It works as an excellent tonic for expecting mothers.
- Nursing mothers should consume caraway seed oil with honey to improve the milk production.
- Dilute a spoon of caraway seed oil in warm water, include a pinch of plain or black salt and consume it to avoid indigestion. It improves digestion by revitalizing the secretion of gastric juices, acids and bile juice in the stomach.
- Caraway seeds are also utilized as a seasoning and pickling spice.
Side-Effects Of Caraway Seeds
Caraway seeds may have a number of negative effects. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before using it for therapeutic purposes.
1. Liver Damage
Caraway oil is an extremely volatile essential oil present in caraway seed. It may cause kidney and liver damage when consumed in excessive doses over a prolonged period of time.
2. Abortifacient Effects
Caraway might have an abortifacient effect on pregnant women, meaning that it may trigger an abortion or stimulate premature labor. Lactating mothers also must avoid caraway seeds and, particularly, caraway oil.
Caraway seeds help the expulsion of excess gas within the gastrointestinal tract. On the contrary, while reducing the discomfort of gas within the stomach, this may also trigger heartburn by reducing pressure within the esophageal sphincter, a valve which normally keeps stomach contents within the stomach. This may result in heartburn.
The carminative effects of caraway seed may also result in extreme belching. Belching, also known as burping, requires the expulsion of excess gas and bloating through the stomach and intestinal tract from the mouth.
5. Narcotic Effects
Caraway seeds contain some narcotic properties. Caraway must be combined with caution because, just like a narcotic, it may become addictive. Other side-effects linked to the herb’s narcotic effects consist of drowsiness, mental clouding, and nausea.
|↑1||Johri, R. K. “Cuminum cyminum and Carum carvi: An update.” Pharmacognosy reviews 5, no. 9 (2011):
|↑2, ↑6, ↑8, ↑11||Miraj Sepide and Kiani Sara. Pharmacological activities of Carum carvi L. Scholars Research Library. 2016.|
|↑3, ↑4||Johri, R. K. “Cuminum cyminum and Carum carvi: An update.” Pharmacognosy reviews 5, no. 9 (2011): 63.|
|↑5||Kazemipoor, Mahnaz, Majid Hajifaraji, Batoul Sadat Haerian, Mohammad Hossein Mosaddegh, and Geoffrey A. Cordell. “Antiobesity effect of
|↑7||Lemhadri, A., L. Hajji, J-B. Michel, and M. Eddouks. “Cholesterol and triglycerides lowering activities of caraway fruits in normal and streptozotocin diabetic rats.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 106, no. 3 (2006): 321-326.|
|↑9||Larijani, Bagher, Mohammad Medhi Esfahani, Maryam Moghimi, Mohammad Reza Shams Ardakani, Mansoor Keshavarz, Gholamreza Kordafshari, Esmaiel Nazem, Shirin Hasani Ranjbar, Hoorieh Mohammadi Kenari, and Arman Zargaran. “Prevention and Treatment of Flatulence From a Traditional Persian Medicine Perspective.” Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal 18, no. 4 (2016).|
|↑10||Kazemipoor, Mahnaz, Majid Hajifaraji, Batoul Sadat Haerian, Mohammad Hossein Mosaddegh, and Geoffrey A. Cordell. “Antiobesity effect of caraway extract on overweight and obese women: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).|
|↑12||Seidler-Łożykowska, Katarzyna, Bogdan Kędzia, Elżbieta Karpińska, and Jan Bocianowski. “Microbiological activity of caraway (Carum carvi L.) essential oil obtained from different origin.” Acta Scientiarum. Agronomy 35, no. 4 (2013): 495-500.|