Ajwain (also called Carom or Bishop’s weed) is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Its leaves or seed-like fruit are pale brown schizocarps. Ajwain seeds are used as a spice in cuisines of several cultures, especially in the Indian Cuisine due to it’s medicinal value. The grayish-green seeds are striped and curved. The seeds are often chewed on their own for medicinal value, tasting bitingly hot and bitter. When crushed, they have a strong and distinctive thyme-like fragrance. Ajwain is often used for flavouring curries.
Ajwain seeds contain an essential oil which is about 50% thymol which is a strong germicide, anti-spasmodic and fungicide. In Ayurvedic medicine, the seeds are used as a remedy for indigestion and colic, and used in poultices to relieve asthma and arthritis. Carom seeds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and may reduce inflammation in your body. They have been shown to possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects and may be effective in treating peptic ulcers and reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. (Pregnant women should consult with their doctor before consumption of Ajwain).