Ajwain or carom seeds are scientifically known as Trachyspermum ammi, belonging to the apiaceae family andoriginating in Egypt. They are also cultivated in India, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan, being used by naturopathic medicine for centuries. They are called seeds, but they are actually pod-shaped fruits that grow on ajwain herb, very similar to parsley.
These fruits are ovoid in shape and are green or brown in color, similar to cumin. They have an odor almost the same as thyme due to the presence of an active substance, thymol, which gives them the medicinal characteristic. In addition to being aromatic, it has a slight bitter taste and spice in culinary preparations.
Properties of ajwain seeds
Ajwain fruits contain nutrients and phytochemicals that give them their characteristic nutritional properties. They have 38.6% carbohydrates, of which almost 12% is fiber. The protein value is 15.4%, fat 18% and they are rich in saponins, flavones and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, iron and niacin).
Among the active compounds, the essential oils of brown color stand out. These, according to recent studies, are 69% thymol and 23% gamma terpinene. Other components are eudesmol and 3-thujeno.
The presence of these substances give the fruits antispasmodic, stimulant and antiflatulent properties. It is also used as a traditional remedy to relieve asthma and bronchial problems, although more research is required to determine its safe use in humans.
According to Ranjan Bairwa and other pharmacists, they also highlight the antioxidant properties of ajwain seeds, as well as their anti-inflammatory, antifungal and lipid-lowering action, as we will see below.
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Ajwain seeds benefits
The presence of phytochemicals in ajwain seeds is important and several of its properties attributed in traditional medicine can be traced to these substances.
Combat some bacterial and fungal infections
Some research has proposed the antimicrobial effect of the seeds of T. ammi against bacteria like S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, and B. subtilis. Other studies also hypothesized about the effect that thymol and carvacrol have in destroying multi-resistant pathogenic bacteria.
Khan and other specialists revealed that ajwain seeds are capable of fighting not only resistant bacteria, but also certain fungi, such asCandida krusei and Candida albicans. In the magazine Pharmacognosy Reviews It is also noted that other fungi, such as Curvularia lunata, Fusarium chlamydosporum, and Alternaria grisea are fought for the fruit.
Control of high blood pressure
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that high blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. That is why its control is important for public health.
Calcium causes the heart and arteries to contract. In medicine, calcium channel blockers are used to relax the arteries and lower blood pressure. Some researchers support that the thymol present in ajwain seeds may act as a calcium blocker.
In studies in vivo With laboratory animals a significant reduction in blood pressure levels has been found using seeds of T. ammi. However, more research is needed that can better explain the effect in humans.
essays in vitro have proposed that ajwain seeds increase gastric acid secretion up to 4 times. While in vivo, the addition of these seeds to the diet decreased the intestinal transit of food, improved the activity of digestive enzymes and stimulated the secretion of bile acids in experimental animals.
Many gastrointestinal diseases, such as ulcers, are treated with the fruits of ajwain. A reduction in gastric lesions has been obtained in laboratory animals. Likewise, an aqueous extract of this seed used for 2 weeks improved peptic ulcers just like traditional gastric protectors do. However, human clinical studies are required to corroborate these effects.
Antitussive and bronchodilator
The antitussive effect of ajwain has been described in traditional medicine. Some recent studies have revealed the reduction of cough when using extracts of this seed. The presence of carvacrol also has bronchodilator effects.
Lowers blood lipid levels
It has been shown that ajwain seed powder can lower total cholesterol, LDL or bad and triglycerides. An extract also managed to reduce clogging of the arteries and increase HDL or cholesterol Okay in albino rabbits.
Read also: Lipids: what are they, types and functions
An investigation established that the ingestion of ajwain extract for 12 weeks in laboratory rats decreases the levels of lipid peroxides in the liver and increases the activity of enzymes that degrade it. This reduces toxicity caused by the presence of free radicals.
How can ajwain seeds be used?
Using ajwain seeds is very practical and simple. For example, boiling them whole in a cup of water until they are reduced by half is the most common. Then you must filter them and let them rest. You can take one ounce on an empty stomach.
Another way to use them is by crushing the fruit and adding brown sugar. Then in hot water you can dissolve 1 teaspoon of this mixture and drink it as a coffee. You will have a slight taste between bitter and sweet.
For congestion, traditional medicine recommends placing the seeds in hot water and breathing in their vapors or wrapping them in a damp cloth and heating it over a container or in the microwave. Once warm, it is placed on the chest for 30 minutes.
Too they can be used as a paste, grinding the previously soaked seeds in lukewarm water. The paste is applied to areas with itching or eczema.
Contraindications of ajwain seeds
Although ajwain seeds are safe for most people, precaution is taken to avoid its consumption during pregnancy or lactation, until its innocuous nature is confirmed. In the magazine Phytotherapy congenital defects are reported in fetuses of rats that consumed them.
Is the use of ajwain seeds safe and effective?
Traditionally, ajwain seeds are used for medicinal and nutritional purposes. Nevertheless, there is still much to study regarding its direct effect on some pathologies in humans, since most of the investigations are carried out in animals or in vitro.
There are people who consider them safe and use them frequently. If you are within that group and you trust its benefits, it is worth consulting a trusted specialist for use in very specific pathologies.
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