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Ajwain

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Botanical Name:Carum Coptium
Family : Umbelliferae; Apiaceae
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Apiales
Genus:    Trachyspermum
Species:T. ammi

Synonyms:  T.copticum. Ammi copticum. Carum copticum.
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.

Habitat :It originated in the eastern Mediterranean, possibly Egypt, and spread up to India from the Near East.

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Description:  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  plant 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
Other Uses: The seeds are rich in essential oil, 30 – 35% of which is thymol, which is more commonly found in Thymus species. The essential oil is added to epoxy derivatives. It is used in perfumes.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

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

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Trachyspermum+ammi

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Categories
Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Black Pepper

black pepper
Image by Pinot & Dita via Flickr

Botanical Name :Piper nigrum
Family: Piperaceae
Genus: Piper
Species: P. nigrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales

Common NameBlack pepper.

Black pepper : Popularly known as “kali mirch” and a native of the western ghats in India , it is endowed with anti-coagulant properties. It is one of the few herbs which ayurveda describes as helping to open obstructions in different channels of the body. Starting from common cold, cough, sinusitis and bronchitis, black pepper is useful in a number of ailments like abdominal colic and sluggishness of the liver. Its overuse can result in intense burning sensation in the mouth. Desi ghee is considered its anti-dote.

Habitat :Black peppers are native to India and are extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. Currently Vietnam is by far the world’s largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world’s Piper nigrum crop as of 2008.

Black Pepper is one of the earliest known spices ever discovered, pepper is used worldwide in almost every household…..

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HISTORY:

Pepper has been used for the last 3,000 years. Native to India, Pepper was first cultivated in the tropics.Trade between India and Europe, introduced the Peppercorn to large audience. Once it arrived in the United States, Pepper become a common household ingredient.

Pepper PLANT:…..Click to  see the picture

Description:
The pepper plant is a perennial woody vine growing up to 4 metres (13 ft) in height on supporting trees, poles, or trellises. It is a spreading vine, rooting readily where trailing stems touch the ground. The leaves are alternate, entire, 5 to 10 centimetres (2.0 to 3.9 in) long and 3 to 6 centimetres (1.2 to 2.4 in) across. The flowers are small, produced on pendulous spikes 4 to 8 centimetres (1.6 to 3.1 in) long at the leaf nodes, the spikes lengthening up to 7 to 15 centimetres (2.8 to 5.9 in) as the fruit matures.[15] The fruit of the black pepper is called a drupe and when dried is known as a peppercorn.

Pepper can be grown in soil that is neither too dry nor susceptible to flooding, moist, well-drained and rich in organic matter (the vines do not do too well over an altitude of 900 m (3,000 ft) above sea level). The plants are propagated by cuttings about 40 to 50 centimetres (16 to 20 in) long, tied up to neighbouring trees or climbing frames at distances of about 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) apart; trees with rough bark are favoured over those with smooth bark, as the pepper plants climb rough bark more readily. Competing plants are cleared away, leaving only sufficient trees to provide shade and permit free ventilation. The roots are covered in leaf mulch and manure, and the shoots are trimmed twice a year. On dry soils the young plants require watering every other day during the dry season for the first three years. The plants bear fruit from the fourth or fifth year, and typically continue to bear fruit for seven years. The cuttings are usually cultivars, selected both for yield and quality of fruit.

A single stem will bear 20 to 30 fruiting spikes. The harvest begins as soon as one or two fruits at the base of the spikes begin to turn red, and before the fruit is fully mature, and still hard; if allowed to ripen completely, the fruit lose pungency, and ultimately fall off and are lost. The spikes are collected and spread out to dry in the sun, then the peppercorns are stripped off the spikes.

When the yellow-red peppercorns are mature, they produce a single seed. Pepper plants are mature enough to bear seeds at the age of 2-years, and will constantly produce fruit for as many as 40-years.

BERRY PICKING AND BOILING:

As berries turn bright red, they are picked and collected. The berries are then dropped into boiling water, where they remain for about 10-minutes. The water causes the berry to turn black.

DRYING

After the berries have been immersed in water, they are spread out to dry in the sun for several days. Once dried, peppercorns are shipped to pepper manufacturers and factories, where they will be ground and processed.

GRINDING

Grinding of whole peppercorns produces black pepper. After the short grinding process, ground black pepper is packaged and sold to distributors.

click to see

PEPPER VARIETIES

The pepper plant peppercorn can not only be made into common black pepper, but also white pepper. White pepper is made from ripe or overly ripe peppercorns. Instead of grinding the peppercorn, workers remove the outer shell of the peppercorn, after they have been exposed to high levels of moisture. The inside of the berry is then dried in the sun, packaged, and sold.

Green pepper
Green pepper, like black, is made from the unripe drupes. Dried green peppercorns are treated in a way that retains the green color, such as treatment with sulfur dioxide, canned or freeze-drying. Pickled peppercorns, also green, are unripe drupes preserved in brine or vinegar. Fresh, unpreserved green pepper drupes, largely unknown in the West, are used in some Asian cuisines, particularly Thai cuisine. Their flavor has been described as piquant and fresh, with a bright aroma.  They decay quickly if not dried or preserved.

Orange pepper and red pepper
A product called orange pepper or red pepper consists of ripe red pepper drupes preserved in brine and vinegar. Ripe red peppercorns can also be dried using the same color-preserving techniques used to produce green pepper. Pink pepper from Piper nigrum is distinct from the more-common dried pink peppercorns, which are the fruits of a plant from a different family, the Peruvian pepper tree, Schinus molle, and its relative the Brazilian pepper tree, Schinus terebinthifolius.

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Medicinal Uses:
Like many eastern spices, pepper was historically both a seasoning and a medicine. Long pepper, being stronger, was often the preferred medication, but both were used.

Black Pepper (or perhaps long pepper) was believed to cure illness such as constipation, diarrhea, Limonene, Safrole, earache, gangrene, heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia, joint pain, liver problems, lung disease, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay, and toothaches. Various sources from the 5th century onward also recommend pepper to treat eye problems, often by applying salves or poultices made with pepper directly to the eye. There is no current medical evidence that any of these treatments has any benefit; pepper applied directly to the eye would be quite uncomfortable and possibly damaging. Nevertheless, Black pepper either powdered or its decoction is widely used in traditional Indian medicine and as a home remedy for relief from sore throat, throat congestion, cough etc.

Pepper is known to cause sneezing. Some sources say that piperine, a substance present in black pepper, irritates the nostrils, causing the sneezing;[31] Few, if any, controlled studies have been carried out to answer the question. It has been shown that piperine can dramatically increase absorption of selenium, vitamin B, beta-carotene and curcumin as well as other nutrients.

As a medicine, pepper appears in the Buddhist Samaññaphala Sutta, chapter five, as one of the few medicines allowed to be carried by a monk.

Pepper contains small amounts of safrole, a mildly carcinogenic compound. Also, it is eliminated from the diet of patients having abdominal surgery and ulcers because of its irritating effect upon the intestines, being replaced by what is referred to as a bland diet. However, extracts from black pepper have been found to have antioxidant properties  and anti-carcinogenic effects, especially when compared to chili.

Piperine present in black pepper acts as a thermogenic compound. Piperine enhances the thermogenesis of lipid and accelerates energy metabolism in the body and also increases the serotonin and beta-endorphin production in the brain.

Piperine and other components from black pepper may also be helpful in treating vitiligo, although when combined with UV radiation should be staggered due to the effect of light on the compound
Pepper has long been recognized as an ingredient for stimulating the appetite as well as being an aid in the relief of nausea and vertigo.  It was used to treat gastro-intestinal upsets, flatulence, fevers and congestive chills.  It is supposed to be of help in anal, rectal and urinary troubles.  In India it has been used as a medicine since time immemorial for the treatment of anything from paralysis to toothache. East Africans are said to believe that body odor produced after eating substantial amounts of pepper repels mosquitoes.  Black pepper contains four anti-osteoporosis compounds.  It is of singular importance as a metabolic stimulant in Ayurvedic medicine.  Black pepper has the ability to recirculate vital nutrients.  When fasting, grind seven peppercorns and take them mixed with a little honey each morning.

PEPPER FACTS

BLACK PEPPER is a healthy addition to any diet. Pepper aids in stimulating circulation and digestion.

BLACK PEPPER has been used for centuries in Asia to help treat colds and cough and muscle aches and pain.

BLACK PEPPER is know as “The King of Spices” worldwide.

PEPPER is the single, most commonly used spice in the world today.

PEPPER is used in many popular brands of multi-purpose spices.

PEPPER contains minute amounts of essential oil.

Key Benefits of black pepper:

# Aids digestion.
# Improves the appetite.
# Prevents disease since it is anti-bacterial.

# It is beneficial in many diseases. If taken in adequate quantity, a man never suffers from flatulation.
# It helps in digesting the food of those people, who are accustomed to having rich food.
# Using rice in the diet with kidney beans, neutralizes its power of causing the formation of excessive wind. It becomes cool and gives complete nourishment

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pepper091.jpg

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

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail45.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_pepper