If there are ingredients that are beneficial to the skin, hair and health alike, then caraway seeds will top that list. These super seeds are a gourmet spice used all over the world for their distinctive aromatic flavour and health benefits!
So let’s take a closer look at how this ‘spice extraordinaire’ can help us live healthy and act as a super duper beauty aid!
Caraway Seeds- An Introduction:
Caraway seed aroma is just a little bitter than cumin seeds, a very popular spice in India. It is popularly known as ‘Shah Jeera’ in Hindi, ‘Sheema jilkara’ in Telugu, ‘Shimayishiragam’ in Tamil, ‘Kari jeerige’ in Kannada, ‘Shaahjeeru’ in Gujarati, ‘Shahaajire’ in Marathi. This unique aroma has made caraway a key ingredient in Indian, Russian, German and Scandinavian cooking. It is used in a big way for baking, and it has a strong affinity with cabbage and coleslaw.
[ Read: Benefits Of Cumin/ Jeera For Health ]
Nutrition Profile Of Caraway:
- The constituents that give caraway its distinct flavour and taste are ‘carvones’ and ‘caveols’. These compounds are responsible for giving the spice its antioxidant, digestive, carminative, and anti-flatulent properties.
- Caraway contains several essential oils and several flavonoid antioxidants such as lutein, carotene, crypto-xanthin andzea-xanthin. These remove harmful free radicals from our bodies, protecting us from cancers, ageing and degenerative neurological diseases like Parkinson’s.
- The caraway spice is also an excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Copper and iron are required in the production of red blood cells. Zinc helps in the working of several enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, and digestion in our bodies, while Potassium helps in controlling our heart rate and blood pressure.
- The seeds also contain many vital vitamins like A, E, C as well as a number of B-complex vitamins.
Caraway seeds are also a rich source of dietary fibre. According to experts, eating just 100 gm seeds provide the daily recommended intake of fibre. Fibre, as we know, is vital for digestive health- it increases the bulk of food and prevents constipation. It does so by substantially speeding up the movement of food in the gut. Fibre in caraway seeds plays an anti-carcinogenic role by binding to toxins in food, protecting the colon mucus membrane from cancers. In addition, fibres also lower the levels of the bad LDL cholesterol.
Caraway Seeds For Health:
Typically, caraway seeds are used as tea, as a seasoning and tincture for skin. They make a super healthy ‘Tisane’ or herbal tea. Caraway tea and infusions are best for treating intestinal parasites, urinary tract infections, coughs, colds, bronchitis, and fever. They also help in boosting immunity. They are known to increase appetite in patients undergoing chemotherapy and are also useful for improving lactation in new mothers.
Here’s a list of caraway seeds health benefits that are beneficial to us:
- Both the caraway seeds and oil strengthen the stomach, kill hookworms (anthelmintic). ‘Carvone’, a constituent in caraway oil, is used as anthelmintic.
- It is an excellent carminative. It eases the gut, providing relief from gas, flatulence and bowel spasms.
- It is very effective for treating cough (Antitussive effect).
- Caraway seeds are excellent for heart as they strengthen muscle, prevent atherosclerosis, lower blood pressure and bring down cholesterol levels.
- The oil has excellent disinfectant and antiseptic properties, so is effective for curing infections anywhere in the body.
- Oral intake of caraway seed oil is useful in getting rid of bad breath and gum disease.
- Helps in starting menstruation and increases production of milk in lactating mothers.
- Cures menstrual cramps.
[ Read: Benefits Of Nigella / Black Cumin Seeds ]
Caraway In Skin Care:
- Caraway essential oil has been used since ancient times for reducing puffiness and skin inflammation. Usually, a poultice made using the essential oil helps in treating inflamed or injured skin.
- Caraway essential oil is also used as aromatic facial steam for rejuvenation and disinfecting skin.
- It is known to reduce wrinkles and boost skin health, making you feel young and recharged.
- This essential oil has been documented as having properties to reduce boils, acne and similar skin eruptions.
- It has also been shown to help regenerate skin cells, thus lightening scars due to acne or pigmentation.
- The essential oil is extremely beneficial in getting rid of scalp infections because of its antiseptic properties. It can end the problem of hair lice, reduce hair loss due to infections and improve hair texture.
Other benefits of caraway seeds include their use in treating oily skin, relieving itching and curing infected wounds.
The Right Way To Use Caraway Essential Oil:
It should not be applied directly on the skin and should be mixed with a carrier oil like olive oil before application. The oil is safe but can cause irritation when overused, so it’s best to follow the instructions.
Caraway For Hair:
14. The essential oil is extremely beneficial in getting rid of scalp infections because of its antiseptic properties. It can end the problem of hair lice, reduce hair loss due to infections and improve hair texture.
[ Read: Benefits Of Black Chickpeas For Health ]
Side Effects Of Caraway:
According to experts, caraway is safe if taken in small amounts. You can use it safely for up to 8 weeks.
- Pregnant women should use caraway sparingly as it can cause a miscarriage (1), (2).
- As caraway can lower blood sugar, a diabetic should not use caraway, without watching his or her blood sugar.
- If you are going in for surgery, stop using caraway at least two days in advance as it might interfere with the blood sugar control during and after surgery (3).
Caraway, today, is being used more as a spice and seasoning for food, rather than a medicine. But it’s time we revive its medicinal use as it possesses a lot many health benefits.
Did you ever use caraway seeds before? You found them beneficial? Share with us in the comments section below!
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