Ajwain is an essential commodity in every Indian kitchen. It is loaded with benefits for the gut, hair, and skin.
Ajwain is also known as Trachyspermum Ammi, bishop’s weed, ajowan caraway or carom. It belongs to the family of herbs known as Apiaceae. Its seeds are used as a common spice in Indian kitchens. The plant including the seeds and leaves has immense medicinal value. Traditionally, Ajwain has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes. Ajwain is also known as Ethiopian cumin, omum and ajave.
What is Ajwain?
Ajwain belongs to the Apiaceae family of herbs. It is the same family to which other very common spices, coriander (dhania), cumin (jeera) and fennel (saunf) belong. Thought to have originated in the Turkey and Persian regions of West Asia, the Ajwain plant subsequently spread to the Middle East, South Asia and parts of North Africa. The Ajwain leaf is broad, pulpy and the seeds which are the fruits of the plant are pale brown to olive green and oval-shaped.
In Indian kitchens, Ajwain seeds are the most used part of the plant. Its pungent aroma and taste make it a choice for flavouring pickles. It is also used in curries and preparations such as rasam or kadhi. It is also used in Indian bread such as paratha and poori. The Ajwain seeds are also sometimes used in tea and in making kadha, a traditional Indian immunity boosting drink.
It is no surprise that the wide variety of application of Ajwain across preparation of an array of dishes, whether it is soup, bread, or drinks comes on account of the highly rich medicinal properties of the herb. Ajwain seeds are rich in antioxidants. The seeds are also packed with minerals, vitamins and fibres. The Ajwain seeds are beneficial for the skin, hair and gut. We will learn more about such applications in further sections. The Ajwain seeds can be chewed raw or roasted simply or roasted in ghee or butter to enhance the aroma. Drinking Ajwain infused water is a more potent way of reaping the health benefits of Ajwain.
In Ayurveda Ajwain is often an active ingredient in many recommended preparations. People with Vata and Kapha doshas should include Ajwain in their diet. Thymol, a compound found in Ajwain, imparts a distinct taste and aroma to the seeds. It is due to this compound that Ajwain has multiple health benefits.
Benefits of Ajwain For Hair
Ajwain is very beneficial for hair and hair related problems. We look at few benefits of Ajwain for hair-
One of the major applications of Ajwain for hair is in reducing and preventing the greying of hair. Ajwain promotes cell reinforcement and the nutrients in the seeds nourish the hair.
Ajwain water is a beneficial way to take the benefits of Ajwain for hair. You can prepare Ajwain water by boiling two tablespoons of Ajwain in water, straining and drinking the water on an empty stomach.
You can also boil Ajwain seeds in coconut oil and onion and apply the solution to your hair and scalp, massaging thoroughly. Leave for an hour before washing off normally.
Carom or Ajwain oil is also very beneficial for the hair. For an intense treatment, it is recommended that you apply a few drops of Ajwain oil on your scalp and massage thoroughly. For best results, leave the oil overnight before washing it off the next morning.
Dandruff and hair fall are two major hair related problems that an overwhelming number of people face today. Ajwain can be very beneficial in preventing dandruff and reducing hair fall. Due to the presence of a compound known as p-cymene, Ajwain seeds are effective in fighting against bacteria and microorganisms, aiding in the prevention of dandruff. For best results, use Ajwain oil on the hair and scalp, messaging thoroughly. You will notice a considerable reduction in dandruff within a few days if you use the oil regularly. Using Ajwain oil also prevents the hair roots from breaking suddenly, thus preventing hair fall.
Due to its effectiveness in fighting against bacteria, Ajwain seeds help treat the itching of the scalp. This benefit of Ajwain can be availed in the form of very simple treatments. You can apply a mixture of Ajwain seeds and lemon juice on the scalp and wash after some time. Another method is by mixing Ajwain seeds in tepid water (two parts cold water and one part boiling water) and apply the mixture to the scalp.
Many other hair issues such as damp hair, scalp rashes and scalp irritation can also be addressed by Ajwain seeds. You can boil Ajwain seeds in your regular hair oil such as coconut oil, mustard oil and apply the same on the scalp. Another method is adding crushed Ajwain seeds or Ajwain powder in your regular oil bottle and using the same oil. In both cases, you can either leave the oil overnight or for at least an hour on the scalp before washing.
Uses of Ajwain for Skin and Health
Ajwain has numerous benefits for the skin and the digestive system. Ajwain seeds have anti-inflammatory properties. The Ajwain herb finds a variety of applications due to these benefits.
Ajwain can heal marks and spots on the skin and helps control pimples too. It removes dead skin, pigmentation and marks on the skin. You can either use it in face masks or consume it in the form of Ajwain water for targeted healing. Ajwain water also aids in removing toxins from the body. Here we look at some of the benefits of the Ajwain seeds for the skin -
Ajwain is very helpful in treating scars and marks caused due to acne. Acne and skin inflammations are very common problems that people in most age groups, especially teenagers are faced with. Ajwain comes to the rescue as an easy home remedy in treating such marks. You can soak a few seeds in lukewarm water for a few hours. After the seeds become soft, mash them along with a little lemon juice and apply this paste to the scars. After application, you can leave it for 10-15 minutes. For quick results, apply this on the acne scars regularly. The paste deep cleans the skin and lightens the scars by targeting the underlying melanin clusters.
In addition to helping get rid of acne scars, Ajwain is also effective in treating scars and marks caused due to pimples. It lends a fresh and clear look to your face by eliminating such scars. You can apply a paste made out of soaked Ajwain seeds in the impacted area for 10-15 minutes to lighten the marks. You can also make a paste with yoghurt and Ajwain powder and apply it to the impacted area in a similar fashion. Wash off after leaving for 10-15 minutes and practice this regularly for quick and best results.
Thymol, an active compound present in Ajwain has antiseptic properties. This makes Ajwain effective as a fungicide and a germicide and effective in treating cuts and wounds. Simple cuts that are on the skin surface and not serious or chronic can be treated with Ajwain. You can smash a few seeds of Ajwain and apply this to the wound. Minor skin irritations can be treated with a similar application. Make sure that the wound is not deep and chronic as in those cases a professional medical help would be needed to dress the wound. The Ajwain seeds can be used as a home remedy for only minor cuts and inflammation.
Mustard oil along with Ajwain seeds can act as a simple home remedy to keep mosquitoes away. Put this solution on cardboard pieces at the corners of the room to keep mosquitoes away. This option is natural and much better as compared to coils that fill the room with harmful smoke or electric liquid dispensers that dispense harmful chemicals in the air.
Ajwain is also helpful in relieving pain
Ajwain seeds have anti-inflammatory properties and are also antibiotic in nature. They soothe pain during arthritis and help in reducing swelling. You can crush a few Ajwain seeds and apply the paste to the joints. Alternatively, you can soak the feet in a hot tub with the seeds.
A few drops of Ajwain oil can help in relieving ear pain. Similarly, for toothache, you can gargle with lukewarm water mixed with a few drops of Ajwain oil and salt. This gargling not only relieves toothache but also acts as a mouthwash and promotes oral hygiene.
Ajwain is also helpful in dealing with migraine headaches. Tie a few Ajwain seeds in a small cloth and inhale frequently to relieve migraine headaches.
Ajwain seeds can help treat stomach ulcers and sores in the intestine, stomach and oesophagus. You can use Ajwain for stomach ache by boiling a few seeds in water and drinking the strained liquid. The benefits of Ajwain for stomach are aplenty. It helps in digestion and fights acidity.
One of the most effective uses is Ajwain for cough. Ajwain is effective in relieving nasal blockage and also helps in asthma related to the common cold. You can consume a paste prepared with Ajwain seeds and jaggery. Take two teaspoons of this paste twice a day for best results.
The benefits of Ajwain for stomach are aplenty. One of the most important health benefits of Ajwain is for the digestive system. It keeps the stomach and the digestive tract strong and clean. Promoting digestion is also an important use of the Ajwain leaf.
Excessive production of acids by gastric glands in the stomach can lead to acidity. Ajwain seeds can help treat acidity. You can either chew few Ajwain seeds with fennel seeds after a heavy meal or consume Ajwain water for more instant relief. Stomach ulcers and sores in the intestine, stomach and oesophagus can also be treated with Ajwain water. You can use Ajwain for relieving stomach ache too, by boiling a few seeds in water and drinking the strained liquid.
Treating gas and chronic indigestion is a major use of Ajwain seeds. Thymol present in Ajwain seeds promotes the secretion of gastric juices and improves and accelerates the digestion process. Take equal amounts of cumin and Ajwain seeds and mix with half the amount of ginger powder in lukewarm water. Consume this daily to cure heartburns and improve the overall health of your digestive system.
Is Ajwain effective for weight loss?
Aiding your weight loss regime is also one major use of Ajwain.
- Ajwain is highly beneficial for the digestive system and makes sure that the digestive tract stays strong and healthy.
- It also promotes the secretion of gastric juices and helps improve metabolism.
- It is also an antioxidant and eliminates the toxic build-up in the body.
Due to these factors, for weight loss, Ajwain can be considered as an effective support. Although an effective weight loss can only be achieved by a good balance of healthy diet and exercise, Ajwain can aid this journey by speeding metabolism and keeping the digestive system healthy. When the food gets digested and excreted properly, unwarranted weight gain is reduced. It is to these effects that you can use Ajwain for weight loss.
Side effects of Ajwain
When consumed in small amounts, the Ajwain seeds are perfectly safe and rarely have any side effects. However, overconsumption can lead to side effects such as nausea, vomiting, mouth ulcers and heartburns. If you are suffering from liver diseases, you can avoid Ajwain as it enhances secretion in the gut. Also, Ajwain has an effect of lowering the blood pressure and must be avoided if you are taking medications to lower blood pressure. If you’re having a surgery then also you must avoid Ajwain as it slows down blood clotting.