Carom seeds are commonly used in Indian cuisine. They have a bitter and pungent flavor and a strong aromatic essence. These seeds are also known as ajwain in Hindi.
Ajwain has long been used in traditional Indian medicine for its health benefits. It is replete with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Carom seeds may help in the treatment of several ailments such as blood pressure, high cholesterol, and premature graying of hair. It is also great for your skin.
Let’s learn a little more about the benefits of ajwain in this article.
In This Article
How Are Carom Seeds Good For You?
Carom seeds are scientifically known as Trachyspermum ammi. They possess antioxidant, antihypertensive, antimicrobial, hypolipidemic, and several other properties.
They contain other phytochemical constituents – including glycosides, saponins, phenolic compounds, and volatile oils (1).
The seeds also contain ajwain oil. Its main component is thymol (1). Thymol may help in the treatment of gastrointestinal ailments.
Carom seeds also have anti-inflammatory potential.
There is more to carom seeds and how they can help you achieve better health.
Read the next section to find out more.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Carom Seeds?
Carom seeds contain important fatty acids, fiber, and other antioxidants. These contribute to their benefits. While the polyunsaturated fats help lower cholesterol levels, the thymol in the seeds regulates blood pressure levels. The seeds also help fight indigestion and inflammation.
1. May Regulate Cholesterol Levels
Ajwain seeds can help you regulate your cholesterol levels.
In rat studies, ingestion of carom seed powder reduced liver cholesterol content. Carom seeds may achieve this by reducing the lipoprotein (soluble proteins that transport fat in the blood) content in your system (2).
Another study showed better results. It found that the intake of carom seeds not only lowers total cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels but also boosts the levels of good cholesterol (3).
Carom seeds contain a great deal of fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These two contribute to healthy cholesterol levels (3).
According to rabbit studies, carom seeds are as efficient as simvastatin (a cholesterol-lowering drug) in reducing cholesterol levels (4).
However, more research on human subjects is required to understand these benefits.
2. May Help In The Management Of Blood Pressure
Carom seeds can help you manage your blood pressure as well. The thymol in the seeds is responsible for this property. In rat studies, it produced a fall in blood pressure and heart rate (5).
Carom seeds also have a calcium channel-blocking effect (6). This effect prevents calcium from entering heart cells and blood vessel walls. This lowers blood pressure (7). Thus, ajwain is recommended to patients with hypertension who before going into surgery.
More research is required to understand the effect of ajwain on blood pressure in humans.
3. May Aid Digestion
Though digestive issues might not seem serious, they can leave us feeling miserable. With carom seeds in our kitchens, that doesn’t have to be the case anymore.
Carom seeds can increase gastric acid secretions, which can enhance digestive health (1).
In rat studies, the ingestion of carom seeds reduced food transit time. The seeds also improved the activity of digestive enzymes and led to a higher secretion of bile acids (1).
4. Fight Inflammation
Carom seeds contain essential components like terpenes, sterols, and glycosides – all of which contribute to their anti-inflammatory effects (9).
Some sources suggest that carom seeds can relieve arthritis pain as well. We need more research on this, though.
5. May Help Treat Cough
Studies on guinea pigs showed that intake of carom seeds produced antitussive (cough-suppressing) effects that were greater than codeine, a drug used to treat coughs (10).
In another study, carom seeds increased airflow to the lungs in asthmatic patients (11). This property may also help in treating cough and boosting respiratory health.
Some sources suggest that consuming water with boiled carom seeds can help relieve cough and the associated chest congestion. The seeds may help treat common cold too.
Studies on this aspect are still being carried out, though. Hence, we recommend you check with your doctor before using the seeds for this purpose.
6. May Prevent Kidney Stones
Carom seeds may prevent calcium oxalate deposition. This can potentially cut the risk of developing kidney stones (12).
Though these seeds are said to maintain renal (kidney) function, reduce renal injury, and prevent the retention of stones in the renal tissues, these claims are not supported by experimental evidence (1).
The various phytochemical compounds in carom seeds must be credited for these benefits. They also contain other important nutrients. Take a look at their nutritional profile in the next section.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Carom Seeds?
Following are the most abundant nutrients in carom seeds (the values in the brackets denote the percentage of the nutrient in any given amount of carom seeds):
- Fiber (12%)
- Carbohydrates (37%)
- Moisture (9%)
- Protein (15%)
- Fat (18%)
- Saponins, flavones, and mineral matter (7%)
Other nutrients present in the seeds include calcium, tannins, glycosides, phosphorus, iron, and nicotinic acid.
Source: Pharmacognosy Review, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Trachyspermum ammi
Carom seeds are simple (yet effective) ingredients. It is much simpler to add them to your diet. But before you do that, you may want to know the potential side effects these seeds can cause.
Do Carom Seeds Have Any Side Effects?
Moderate intake of the seeds will not cause any side effects. But excess consumption (upwards of one teaspoon a day) may lead to nausea and dizziness, heartburn, and other liver issues.
Carom seeds can cause congenital defects and even lead to abortion (1). Hence, pregnant women must consult their doctor before consuming carom seeds.
The presence of fatty acids, fiber, and other antioxidants makes carom seeds important. They might be popular in India – but can be used the world over. Including just a teaspoonful of this Indian spice in your diet can work wonders.
But we recommend pregnant women to be cautious.
The benefits mentioned in the article may need further studies on humans. This is especially true with respect to the dosage of the seeds for different benefits as most of the studies have been conducted on animals.
Have you ever had carom seeds? How did you like them? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the substitute for carom seeds?
You can substitute carom seeds with thyme seeds. The two are rich in thymol and also have similar flavors.
What is carom seed water?
Some proponents of carom seeds say that carom seed water can aid weight loss. But there is no research backing this up. However, carom seed water can give you the benefits and goodness of carom seeds.
All you need to do is soak about 25 grams of carom seeds in water overnight. Strain the water the next morning and drink it on an empty stomach. You can add a couple of drops of honey to the water. Drink this water twice daily.
You can also use a teaspoon of carom seed powder and warm or lukewarm water.
Do carom seeds promote hair growth?
There is very little research on this. However, some anecdotal evidence suggests that the seeds may strengthen hair and prevent premature graying.
Do the seeds offer relief from menstrual cramps?
Research is ongoing in this aspect. We suggest you speak to your doctor before using carom seeds for this purpose.
Can we drink ajwain water at night?
Drinking a glass of ajwain water at night helps boost metabolism and, thus, helps you lose weight.
Is it good to eat ajwain every day?
Yes. Having ajwain every morning on an empty stomach helps your body release digestive juices that aid digestion.
Can ajwain reduce belly fat?
Yes, ajwain can reduce belly fat.
What are the benefits of ajwain for skin?
Thymol, a component of ajwain, acts as a germicide and fungicide that helps treat infections and cuts.
- Trachyspermum ammi, Pharmacognosy Review, US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health.
- Antihyperlipidaemic Efficacy of Trachyspermum ammi in Albino Rabbits, ResearchGate.
- Pharmacological Screening of Trachyspermum ammi for Antihyperlipidemic Activity in Triton X-100 Induced Hyperlipidemia Rat Model, Pharmacognosy Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health.
- Carum copticum L.: A Herbal Medicine with Various Pharmacological Effects, BioMed Research International, US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health.
- Blood pressure lowering action of active principle from Trachyspermum ammi (L.) sprague, Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health.
- Studies on the antihypertensive, antispasmodic, bronchodilator and hepatoprotective activities of the Carum copticum seed extract, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, ScienceDirect.
- Blood pressure lowering effect of calcium channel blockers on perioperative hypertension, Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health.
- Analysis of the essential oil components from different Carum copticum L. samples from Iran, Pharmacognosy Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health.
- Antibacterial And Synergistic Activity Of Ethanolic Ajwain (Trachyspermum Ammi) Extract On Esbl And Mbl Producing Uropathogens, International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
- Antitussive effect of Carum copticum in guinea pigs, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Bronchodilatory effect of Carum copticum in airways of asthmatic patients, Therapie, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- In vivo efficacy of Trachyspermum ammi anticalcifying protein in urolithiatic rat model, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.