Ajwain

Botanical Name:Carum Coptium

Family : Umbelliferae; Apiaceae

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Other names: .
Carom, omoum,Ajowan, Bishop’s Weed , Seeds Of Bishop’s Weed,Wishep’s weed or Ajova Seed, is an uncommon spice except in certain areas of Asia. It is the small seed-like fruit of the Bishop’s Weed plant, (Trachyspermum ammi syn. Carum copticum), egg-shaped and grayish in colour. The plant has a similarity to parsley.

Ajwain is often confused with Lovage seed; even some dictionaries mistakenly state that ajwain comes from the lovage plant

Ajowan looks like wild parsley (similar to caraway, celery and cumin seeds) and is a native of India. It is grown throughout the country in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal. It is also grown in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Egypt. The striped seeds are used as the spice.

Botany

Ajowan is an erect, glabrous or minutely pubescent, branched annual that grows upto 90 cm. Stems are striate and leaves are distant and pinnately divided. Small white flowers are on terminal or seemingly lateral pedunculate, compound umbels. The fruits are ovoid, greyish brown, aromatic cremocarps with single seed.

Cultivation

Ajowan grows on all kinds of soil but does well on loams or clayey loams, both as a dry crop and under irrigation. Seeds are sown from September to November. The plants flower in about two months and the fruits become ready for harvesting when then flower heads turn brown. They are pulled out, dried on mats and the fruits are separated by rubbing by hands or feet.

Aroma and flavour

The sensoric quality of ajowan is similar to thyme, but stronger and less subtle. The essential oil (2.5 to 5% in the dried fruits) is dominated by thymol (35 to 60%); furthermore, a-pinene, b-cymene, limonene and e-terpinene have been found.

History:
Ajwain originated in the Middle East, possibly in Egypt. It is now primarily grown and used in the Indian Subcontinent, but also in Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in berbere, an Ethiopian spice mixture

Recipes:

Ajwain flavour chicken,Palda,Fried Bhindi,Papdi,Jalebi Paratha and Amritsari Fish.

Culinary use:
Usage of ajowan is almost confined to Central Asia and Northern India. Ajowan is particularly popular in savoury Indian recipes like savoury pastries, snacks and breads. For example, the Bengali spic mixture panch phoron is sometimes enhanced with ajowan. Ajowan enjoys, however, some popularity in the Arabic world and is found in berebere, a spice mixture of Ethiopia which shows both Indian and Arabic heritage. In Southern Indian cuisine (which is predominantly vegetarian), tadka-like preparations are not only applied to dried lentils and beans, but also to green vegetables.

Herbal dishes of Chattisgarh, India is Ajwain Ka Halwa.   Material required: Ajwain, Cow ghee, Gud and Ata(wheet flower)

Method: Cow ghee is taken in a pan, Ajwain, gud and ata  are required to be roasted  till the color  turns redish and then water or milk is added. It is served hot.


Medicinal and Other use:
Ajowan is much used as a medicinal plant is ayurvedic medicine for its antispasmodic, stimulant, tonic and carminative properties. The seeds are used to ease asthma and indigestion. It is also widely used to treat diarrhoea and flatulence. In the West, thymol is used in medicines against cough and throat irritation. The thymol content makes ajowan a potent fungicide.

Ajwain holds a reputed position as medicinal herb in different systems of medicine in India.  According to Ayurveda, its seeds are hot, bitter, pungent, stomachic, appetizer, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, carminative, laxative and cure ascites, abdominal tumours, spleen enlargement, piles, vomiting, abdominal pain, good for heart and toothache etc. According to Unani system of medicine, the seeds are bitter and hot, carminative, diuretic, good in weakness of limbs, paralysis, chest pains etc. it is useful in treatment of ear boils, liver spleen, hiccup, vomiting, dyspepsia, kidney troubles, inflammation etc. Ajwain Ke Halwa is a sweet preparation popular among the senior natives and traditional healers of Chhattisgarh.  It is not prepared by the natives.  The senior natives and traditional healers are aware of above mentioned medicinal uses of Ajwain but they prepare Ajwain Ke Halwa only for female patients having gynaecological troubles.  This preparation is considered as a boon for these patients.

Ajowan is recommended for diarrhea, cholera, heartcare , stresscare . Oil extracted from the fruit contains cardiac depressive activity. Green Earth Products is engaged in manufacturing, exporting and global sourcing of a complete range of herbal extracts such as carum coptium (soft ext ratio 8:01). The healing & preventative effects of carum coptium have led to wide demand of this extract in the western societies. We export Carum coptium to various countries of the world.
In the Middle East, ajowan water is often used for diarrhoea and wind and in India the seeds are a home remedy for indigestion and asthma.  For reasons of both flavor and practicality its natural affinity is with starchy foods and legumes.  Because of its thymol content, it is a strong germicide, anti-spasmodic, fungicide, and anthelmintic.  Regular use of Ajwain leaves seems to prevent kidney stone formation.   It also has aphrodisiac properties and the Ananga Ranga prescribes it for increasing the enjoyment of a husband in the flower of his life

Ajwain is very useful in alleviating spasmodic pains of the stomach and intestines, in adults as well as children. Any colicky pain due to flatulence (gas), indigestion and infections in the intestines can easily be relieved by taking one teaspoonful of ajwain along with 2-3 pinches of common salt in warm water. Use half the dose in children. Mixed with buttermilk it is a good anti-acidic agent

For chronic bronchitis and asthma, mix ajwain with jaggery (gur). Heat the mixture to make a paste and take 2 teaspoonsful twice a day. However, diabetics should not take this preparation because of the sugar content. It helps to bring out the mucus easily. It also helps in chronic cold.

In an acute attack of common cold or migraine headache, put ajwain powder in a thin cloth and smell this frequently. It gives tremendous symptomatic relief according to some Ayurvedic experts.
If people who consume excessive alcohol develop discomfort in the stomach, taking ajwain twice a day, will be very useful. It will also reduce the craving and desire for alcohol.

Some Home Remedies:

# Chucking wishep’s weed into the mouth cures coryza and cough.
# If a pregnant woman takes wishep’s weed then it helps her in digestion of food, increases her appetite, controls her flatulation and her uterus gets purified.
# Grinding dry wishep’s weed and wrapping the powder thus formed in a piece of cloth and then smelling or sniffing this cloth, cures coryza.
# Taking powdered wishep’s weed along with powdered sesame, cures diabetes.
# If three “rattis” of the flowers of wishep’s weed and along with ghee and honey is taken thrice a day, it cures cough by clearing out the phlegms from the body.
# If wishep’s weed is taken with hot water, it cures cough too.
# If 3 gms of powdered wishep’s weed is taken with hot water, flatulation gets cured.
# If powdered wisheps weed is made into paste and then pasted on to a cold body, it regains temperature.
# If a bundle of wishep’s weed is heated on a heating pan and applying this heat on the cold hands and feet of a person suffering from cholera or asthma, helps in regarding the temperature
# Drinking warm water after having wishep’s weed, cures indigestion, flatulation, pain and excessive formation of saliva.
# If the oil of wishep’s weed is applied on the joints of a rheumatic patient and then trying a bundle filled with wishep’s weed is applied on it, gives relief from pain.
# The flower of wishep’s weed controls the intensity of Hysteria.
# Eating the flower of wishep’s weed controls the development of worms in the intestines.
# Use of wishep’s weed by a woman who has just given birth to a child, helps her in producing milk.
# If a bundle of wishep’s weed is kept in the vagina after the birth of a child, it gives protection against germs.
# If the oil of wishep’s weed is massaged on the part of the body having sweeling, it gives relief.

Click to learn more about Ajowan

Resources:

(http://www.harvestfields.ca/CookBooks/spice/ajwan.htmland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajwain and http://www.urday.com/spice.html)

http://botanical.com/site/column_poudhia/publish/journal/693.txt

http://www.greenearthproducts.net/asparagus-adscendens.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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  1. Pingback: Singledom with ajwain parathas at Quick Indian Cooking

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