Carom Herby Bittersweet Peppery

Raw carom seeds have a very pungent aroma reminiscent of thyme. Carom also has a bittersweet peppery flavor. The bitterness can be reduced by toasting the seeds in a frying pan. Thymol, the main flavor compound starts to degrade around 100 degrees Celcius, reducing the bitterness and creating new nutty, roasted flavors.

Flavor chart carom seeds

Carom seedsCarom or Ajwain seeds has been a treasured medicinal spice for centuries. The Romans mistakenly believed that the seeds from the ‘Trachyspermum ammi’ plant were a variety of cumin, which is why carom is also referred to as ‘Ethiopian cumin’ or ‘Coptic carom’. Although both cumin and carom belong to the botanical Apiaceae family, they are different plants. The medicinal properties do overlap, as most spices originating from the Apiaceae family promote a healthy digestion. In Ayurvedic medicine, Omam water’ is the name for a brew made from the carom seeds that is prescribed for treating digestive disorders, arthritis, and fevers.

Most of the health benefits attributed to carom seeds are from their thymol content. Thymol is the main flavour compound in carom seeds, having a slightly bitter, herby, and cooling flavour. The cooling flavour occurs because thymol stimulates the cold receptors on your tongue. Thymol is also the main flavour compound in the herb thyme. Carom seeds also contain other important components which give the seeds their medicinal effect.

The traditional use of carom seeds to treat all kinds of digestive issues has proven to be beneficial. The dietary fibre present in the seeds is one reason why they improve the digestion. Besides the fibre, carom seeds also increase stomach acid secretions, and increases the secretion of digestive juices. Carom seeds have also been used to treat stomach ulcers and relieve the abdominal pain associated with the ulcer. This effect has been attributed to the antioxidants in the carom seeds.

Carom seeds can also help with high blood pressure. A commonly prescribed medication for high blood pressure is a calcium channel blocker. These medications disrupt the movement of calcium into the cells of your heart, and relax your arteries, which results into a lowering of the blood pressure. Carom seeds also have a calcium channel blocking effect.

Traditional medicine has prescribed carom seeds also for respiratory problems. Carom seeds have a relaxant effect on the airways and open on the bronchi. These effects make carom seeds a therapeutic agent for people with asthma or other obstructive pulmonary diseases. The anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties of carom are here also beneficial as with for example asthma, there is inflammation in the lungs.

Carom has long history of use in the Indian and Persian culture. The consumption of carom seeds is considered safe in the quantities used in cooking. And because the seeds are highly aromatic, you will only use small quantities. Here are some of the health benefits of carom summed up.

  • Carom seeds are antibacterial.
  • Carom seeds are antifungal.
  • Carom seeds are anti-inflammatory.
  • Carom seeds aid the digestion.
  • Carom seeds can help to lower a high blood pressure.
  • Carom seeds open the airways and bronchi.
  • Carom seeds can help lower high cholesterol levels.
  • Carom seeds contain plant oestrogens, which can help stabilize your hormone levels.
  • Carom seeds are a source of vitamin B1 & B3 (niacin).
  • Carom seeds are a source of iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium.


Therapeutic Potential of Ajwain (Tracyspermum ammi L.) Seeds

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Carum copticum L.: A Herbal Medicine with Various Pharmacological Effects

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