Caraway

Caraway: The Caraway plant (Carum carvi) is similar in appearance to a carrot plant, with finely divided, feathery leaves with thread-like divisions, growing on 20–30 cm stems. The main flower stem is 40–60 cm tall, with small white or pink flowers in umbels. Caraway fruits are crescent-shaped achenes, around 2 mm long, with five pale ridges. They evolve a pleasant, aromatic odour when bruised, and have an agreeable taste. The leaves possess similar properties and afford an oil identical with that of the fruit. The tender leaves in spring have been boiled in soup, to give it an aromatic flavour.

Nutrition facts of caraway: Caraway seeds are rich source of dietary fiber. 100 g seeds provide 38 g of fiber. Caraway spice is an excellent source of minerals like copper, iron, potassium, calcium, selenium, manganese, zinc and magnesium. The seeds indeed are storehouse for many vital vitamins. Vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C as well as many B-complex vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and niacin particularly are concentrated in the caraway seeds.

Medicinal uses: Both fruit and oil possess aromatic, stimulant and carminative properties. Caraway was widely employed at one time as a carminative cordial, and was recommended in dyspepsia and symptoms attending hysteria and other disorders. For flatulent indigestion, however, from 1 to 4 drops of the essential oil of Caraway given on a lump of sugar, or in a teaspoonful of water, will be found efficacious. Distilled Caraway water is considered a useful remedy in the flatulent colic of infants, and is an excellent vehicle for children’s medicine. When sweetened, its flavour is agreeable.

One ounce of the bruised seeds infused for 6 hours in a pint of cold water makes a good Caraway julep for infants, from 1 to 3 teaspoonsful being given for a dose. Caraway water is sometimes used in treating flatulence and indigestion in traditional medicines, especially used to relive infantile colic. It is also used in pharmaceuticals as flavoring agent in mouth-wash and gargle preparations.

Medicinally caraway has a long history of use. It is mostly used as a decoction (tea) (tisane), either from the fruits or from fresh or dried foliage. As a (tisane) the “seeds” are used as a remedy for colic, loss of appetite and digestive disorders. An infusion of fruits and foliage is used as a vermifuge (to dispel intestinal worms).

Caraway seed oil is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions, and perfumes. The roots may be cooked as a root vegetable like parsnips or carrots.

A few studies have found that peppermint oil, in combination with caraway oil, may help relieve indigestion.

Warning: Before starting treatment with products based on caraway it is recommended to see a specialist. It is known that it can trigger epilepsy states in children and overdoses taken by pregnant women can lead to miscarriages.

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