A medicinal indoor plant with beautiful leaves definitely deserves a place in your garden!
Ajwain is a common Indian spice and is also used for flavouring in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. Its pungent aroma and taste make it a highly useful spice in flavouring. Whether it is curries, bread or tea, and other drinks, Ajwain finds an application. It is also a plant with innumerable benefits medicinally. It is loaded with benefits for the digestive system and is effective in treating skin pigmentation, infections and making the hair strong and healthy. For centuries it has been used as a traditional remedy for common cold and acidity. Ayurveda also recommends the usage of Ajwain for a variety of conditions.
The Ajwain tree is a perennial plant and stands erect. The Ajwain plant leaves are broad, pulpy, soft, and have soft hair on their surface. The fruit is oval and is often referred to as the Ajwain seed. They range from olive green to khaki brown. These seeds are similar to cumin (jeera) or fennel (saunf) seeds and all these three plants belong to the same family of herbs. Along with its usage as a medicinal plant, the Ajwain plant is also used as an indoor ornamental plant owing to its beautiful pulpy leaves.
How to grow Ajwain plant
Growing an Ajwain plant is not difficult at all. If you reside in a tropical region, it is even easier to grow the plant. Let us look at the step-by-step process from germinating to growing and caring for the Ajwain herb plant.
You can either germinate Ajwain seeds or use the cutting method. Another option is to buy the Ajwain plant online.
Ajwain plant can be grown using seeds. Plant the seeds about a quarter inches deep in rich potting soil. You can also scatter the seeds on the soil. Make sure that the seeds are evenly scattered and are not clustered in one corner. After this is done, cover the pot with a plastic sheet to make sure that the moisture does not escape and the seeds get a comfortable humid environment to germinate. Avoid watering in this duration and try a mister if one is available to you. If you’re watering, do not directly pour water, rather sprinkle it around to avoid washing away the seeds to a corner of the pot. After one to two weeks, the seeds will start germinating and in four to five weeks they will be ready to transplant. While transplanting make sure to carefully take the plants out and bury them a little above the root, covering a small portion of the stem.
You can also grow the Ajwain plant with herbaceous green cuttings as this is one of the easiest methods to grow the herb. Take stems that are about three to four inches long from an Ajwain plant. Remove all leaves except the two sets of leaves at the top. Bury this in a pot with the upper set of leaves exposed and water regularly. The roots will emerge soon and the plant will start to grow. In a humid environment, even old stems can successfully start rooting and form a new plant.
For replantation of the germinated seedlings or the planting of the stem cuttings, use a pot that is about 8-12 inches deep and sufficiently wide. This will ensure optimum growth for the plant. Make sure there is a hole at the bottom of the plant to let excess water escape.
Alkaline soil is preferred by all types of Ajwain plants. It grows well in loose, well-aerated, and well-drained soil. Make sure you add a sufficient amount of organic manure to the soil. If you’re growing the plant in a garden, you can also use cow dung for this purpose. For pots, you can use a potting mix. The potting mix can be easily prepared by mixing equal parts of peat moss, coarse sand, and organic manure.
The Ajwain plant needs moderate watering daily. Make sure you do not over-water the plant as it might spoil it. Along with this keep the soil drainage in check to make sure water is not clogging the soil, for this purpose, we suggest well-aerated soil with a humble mix of coarse sand.
Ajwain plant grows well in full sun to partial shade. For best growth, it is recommended to place the plant in partial sunlight and make sure that plant is not placed at indoor locations such that it misses ample sunlight. If the leaves start turning dark green, the plant is not getting sufficient sunlight.
Mostly, using organic manure in your soil mix should be best suited. However, you can use 10-10-10 NPK ratio fertilizer which is soluble and slow-release in nature. Alternatively, once a month you can apply compost tea or cow dung manure.
When the plant is about 6-8 inches in height it starts to grow fast. Make sure that you are cutting the stems regularly as they tend to take over a large area. As soon as a stem touches the ground it starts rooting, that is why it is recommended that you grow the plant in a pot. Also remove broken, damaged leaves and deadhead flowers from the plant. Regular pruning encourages fresh growth and also makes the plant bushier.
If you’re growing the Ajwain plant in a garden, the stems may start leaning down after maturing and may require support.
Generally, the Ajwain plant is not affected by pests and diseases. However, in some cases, it can suffer from bug attacks. In such cases, remove the affected part from the plant and use a neem spray.
If growing in a garden, the Ajwain plant can be grown as a companion plant with cabbage, strawberry, or tomato.
After six to seven weeks, the flowers and leaves are ready to be harvested and used for culinary and medicinal purposes. The leaves can be plucked before they start developing the hair on their surface. You can handpick the Ajwain plant flowers when they’re opening. Make use of fresh leaves and flowers and not store them for later use.
Benefits of Ajwain plant
Ajwain plant benefits are many from the therapeutic and medicinal to the culinary. Both the Ajwain seeds, as well as the leaves have many benefits and usage.
- Ajwain seeds (or Ajwain powder) have a variety of applications and benefits -
- reduces premature greying of hair
- prevents hair fall
- reduces dandruff and provides relief during scalp itching, scalp irritation, and scalp rashes
- makes the hair roots strong and promotes silky and smooth hair
- helps in reducing the scars caused by acne and pimples
- prevents skin infection and can be used to treat and heal minor wounds and cuts
- acts as a mosquito repellent when used along with mustard oil
- eases pain during arthritis in joints and knee
- Ajwain oil is useful in treating ear pain
- Ajwain oil solution provides relief during toothache and is an excellent natural mouthwash
- useful in relieving migraine headaches
- useful in treating sores in the stomach
- effective in reducing acidity
- promotes digestive health and provides relief from gas and chronic indigestion
- improves metabolism and can thus you can use Ajwain for weight loss aid
- Ajwain plant leaves benefits span across medicinal to culinary applications -
- Helpful in relieving cold and cough. The leaves can be boiled and the strained concoction consumed for cold relief.
- Useful in making a variety of dips and chutneys in combination with other herbs and ingredients. Ajwain leaf pakora is a delicious savoury.
- Can be added while making fresh vegetable juices to lend additional refreshing flavour.
Medicinal Uses of Ajwain plant
Ajwain seeds have shown to have many medicinal applications as well. Here we look at some of the Ajwain plant medicinal uses –
Thymol and carvacrol are two active components present in Ajwain seeds that have exhibited effectiveness in inhibiting the growth of bacteria and fungi. This makes it useful in treating dandruff, scalp itchiness, preventing infections, and treating minor cuts and wounds.
Ajwain seeds have an anti-inflammatory effect. The seeds can be thus used to treat acne and pimple scars and reduce pigmentation on the skin. This effect is also useful in relieving various kinds of pains such as toothache and pain in the joints characterized in conditions such as arthritis.
Thymol in Ajwain seeds helps in lowering blood pressure levels. The studies on this medicinal effect are limited and more needs to be explored here.
This has been the most prevalent traditional use of the Ajwain seeds. They help provide relief from various symptoms of the common cold such as coughing and nasal congestion.
Ajwain seeds are known to enhance and promote the secretion of gastric juice and improve and accelerate metabolism. This effect makes it useful in treating conditions such as acidity, indigestion, and bloating. Some studies have also shown that Ajwain seeds are useful in treating ulcers in the esophagus, stomach, and intestine.
Ajwain seeds may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
We hope that now you’re ready to plant your first Ajwain plant and take the benefits of its many medicinal and culinary applications. It is very easy to grow and care for the plant and it is equally easy to include Ajwain in your diet for the variety of benefits it has to offer.