Caraway (Carum Carvi) - Uses & Health Benefits
(Ref: Bhavaprakasa Nighantu)
Caraway is very effective and essential herb used to treat ailments associated with digestive system and uterine system according to Bhavprakash nighantu. Effective seeds are anti-spasmodic and anti-microbial in nature.
Caraway seeds contains large amounts of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This herb is richest source of minerals like iron, calcium, phosphorus, niacin, sodium and thiamine. Very effective and aromatic oil is obtained from caraway seeds that contains large amount of carovene.
In ancient medicine system Ayurveda caraway seeds are used to balance both vata and kapha dosha and due to its hot potency it increases pitta dosha in body.
Ayurvedic treatment with different herbs is totally based on the prakriti of individual and imbalance of dosha, dhatu and malas. So caraway seeds are potent to maintain balance of kapha and vata dosha.
Caraway is a biennial plant that grows approximately 60cms in height. Feathery leaves of this plant is finely divided into thread like structure. Straight and soft stem of the plant is dark green in colour. Umbrella shaped flowers are white in colour. Aromatic fruit is about 2mm long with five ridges, slightly bent, brownish black in colour and sharp at both the ends. Plant of caraway is similar to carrot plant.
Caraway is plant that is native to regions of Himalayan range. In lowers areas it is widely found in Kashmir, Kumaun, Garhwal, Chamba and other hilly areas. This plant is also found in Iran and Afghanistan.
- Latin Name - Carum Carvi
- English Name - Caraway, Persian Cumin, Wild Cumin, Carvi
- Hindi Name - Kali Jeera, Syahjeera
- Tamil Name - Shimayishiraga
- Kannada Name - Shahajirige
- Malayalam Name - Karunjeraka
- Telugu Name - Shimayiapu
- Marathi Name - Shahajire
- Bengali Name - Kala Jeere, Sojeere
- Gujarati Name - Shaahjeeru
- Kashmiri Name - Krihinujur
- Persian Name - Zira
- Arabic Name - Kamuna
- Urdu Name - Kalajeera, Jeerasiyah
- Sanskrit Name - Krishan Jeerak
- Roman Name - Chirnan
According to Bhavprakash
Jeerak, jaran, ajaji, kana and dhirag jeerak are the names of white type of cumin. Krishan jeerak, sugandh, undarshodhan are the names of caraway seeds or black cumin. Kalajaji, sushavi, kalika, upkalika, prithvika, karvi, prithavi, prithu, Krishna, upkuchika, upkuchi, kuchi and brihjirak are the various names of kalunji (nigella sativa). All the three types of jeerak mentioned in this shalok are rukash (rough), katu rasa (pungent taste), ushan virya (hot in potency), agnideepak (helps to stimulate digestive fire), laghu paripak (easily digested), sangrahi, pittakarak (vitiate pitta dosha) and medhya (good to improve memory). All three are good for grabhshya dushti (remove impurities of uterus), jawarnashak (treat fever), pachak (promotes digestion), virshya (rejuvenate body cells), balkarak (give energy to body), ruchijanak (improve appetite), kapha nashak (pacify kapha dosha) and netra hitkarak (good for eyes). All are good to treat vayuroga (vata dosha related disorders), adhmaan (stomach distention), gulma, vaman (vomiting) and atisara (diarrhoea).
Health Benefits of Caraway (Carum Carvi)
According to Bhavprakash nighantu various health benefits of caraway include:-
- Deepan - Caraway seeds helps to pacify all three doshas in body and helps to stimulate digestive fire and good for promoting overall health of digestive system.
- Pachan - This herb helps amashya to easily digest the food. Also used to treat problems related with digestive system. It is used as best herb to relieve colic pain in small infants.
- Vatanuloman - Caraway seeds are very effective for pacifying vitiated vata dosha in body. Ideally apan vayu in its normal condition is good for digestive system and disturbed apan vayu is main reason of stomach related problems so these seeds helps to promote natural state of vata dosha.
- Stnyajanan - Seeds are good for lactating mothers because they are considered to increase the production of milk in mothers.
- Adhmaan - Adhmaan is word used in Ayurveda for stomach distention. This herbs helps to treat bloating and flatus and helps to reduce abdominal distention.
- Udarshool - It is very beneficial for reducing severe stomach ache.
- Atisara - Seeds are also used in the treatment of diarrhoea. It also relieves severe ache associated with disease.
- Jeeran jawara - According to Ayurveda all three dosha are responsible for causing fever in body. Seeds are used to treat chronic fever and also treat other underlying symptoms associated with fever.
Uses of Caraway (Carum Carvi)
- Oil obtained from caraway seeds are very aromatic in nature and are used in other medicines to give aroma and it is also used to treat convulsions and delirium caused by reaction of other medicines.
- Pure extract obtained from caraway seeds are used to treat flatus and severe stomach ache in children.
- Decoction prepared from seeds are used for the sufferers of piles to easy healing.
- Decoction prepared by this herb is also good for uterine health in women. It is used to excrete out impurities from uterus and also very effective to reduce severe uterine pain.
Caraway seed powder- ½ - 2 gm.
Medicinal Properties of Caraway (Carum Carvi)
- Aromatic oil obtained from caraway seeds are used to treat bad odour in mouth.
- Caraway oil is applied over skin gently is also helpful to treat scabies.
- This herb is also used as expectorant. It is used to excrete out extra phlegm and good for relieving cough and congestion.
- This herb is also beneficial for treating intestinal worms in children and other stomach related problems. It is also very beneficial herb for treating acid reflux.
- Caraway is very effective herb for nervous system. It is used to promote the overall health of brain and improve memory.
- Due to its anti-spasmodic nature seeds helps to relieve spasm and severe menstrual pain.
- Caraway seeds are also very effective for improving eyesight.
- Ideally it is power house of various nutrients so adding caraway seeds to your diet helps to promote overall health of body and stimulate immune system.
- Decoction prepared by caraway seeds are good to treat mukhpaka (sore mouth) and other mouth related problems and laryngitis.
- Commercially leaves of caraway are used as dressing in salads and also used to flavour stews and soups.
- Caraway seeds are also liver friendly they help to protect liver from the damage of free radicals and toxins.
- Its daily use can improve memory and also helps to reduce high blood sugar level.
Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan
MD (ALT. MEDICINE) View Profile