Ajwain seeds are extracted from a herb plant called Apiaceae. It has a strong aroma and the colour varies from green to brown. Ajwain or also called carom seeds taste a little bitter, but similar to oregano. Besides adding great flavours to our dishes, ajwain also offers several health benefits that include maintaining good digestion, enhancing skin health and even treating mild infections like common cold and cough. Ajwain has a strong nutritional value and provides many important nutrients. In fact, along with the health benefits, ajwain is one of the main spices used in various dishes of the Indian cuisine.
Ajwain is mainly used for adding flavour to pickles, seasoning chicken and fishes along with many other spices and herbs. In fact, it is even used for making herbal tea. Carom seeds can flavour various biscuits, chips, sauces and soups. And, they can even play the role of natural mouth fresheners. Ajwain extract can also be used in several cosmetic products and pharmaceuticals. Mostly, ajwain does not cause any side effects when consumed in moderate amounts. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Anjali Phatak, Director Nutripulse and Senior Clinical Nutritionist, Nutripulse, Jaipur, to know about the health benefits and side effects of ajwain.
Ajwain health benefits
Ajwain is a powerhouse of many essential nutrients as it contains a good amount of dietary fibre, fatty acids as well as protein. It is also full of various types of important oils such as thymol, cymene, pinene, terpinene and limonene. The plant compounds present in ajwain offer a wide range of amazing health benefits and improves the overall wellbeing and health of an individual. As per Dr. Anjali, here are the health benefits of ajwain:
1. Promotes digestion
Ajwain is one of the major spices used in Indian cuisines as it is beneficial for gut health. It helps in treating several digestive issues such as acidity, indigestion and bloating. The active enzymes present in in ajwain help in promoting digestion by enhancing the secretion process of gastric juices. In fact, ajwain seeds extract is used to treat the ulcers and sores in esophagus, stomach and intestine.
2. Treats mild infections
Ajwain is also beneficial in treating mild infections such as common cold and cough. According to a study, ajwain contains anti coughing agents that can improve the flow in your lungs, this instant relief from constant coughing. You can make a healthy concoction using ajwain and other herbs and spices such as turmeric and ginger.
3. Regulates blood pressure
Spike in blood pressure is a primary risk factor of many heart problems and stroke. Ajwain is even used in traditional medicine to regulate blood pressure levels. The active plant enzyme thymol that is present in carom seeds is an effective natural way to block the calcium channel. This helps in restricting calcium from entering the blood vessels of the heart which relaxes blood vessels, hence reducing the blood pressure levels.
4. Improves skin health
Carom seeds contain beneficial anti-inflammatory properties that can help in treating the damage caused by free radical damage on your skin. Moreover, it also helps in preventing and treating various signs of aging such as wrinkles, pigmentation spots and dark circles. You can even use it to lighten scars that are caused by acne, pimples, which promote healthy and active skin. You can make a smooth paste of ajwain seeds and apply it on your skin directly. It can also be used to prevent premature greying of hair.
5. Relieves arthritis pain
Another health benefit of carom seeds is that it can help in relieving arthritis pain. The kitchen ingredient has beneficial analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help in reducing joint and muscle pain, thus lowering the risk of several chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Moderate consumption of ajwain is advised to many arthritis patients.
6. Aids weight loss
You must have heard that people drink ajwain or jeera warm water in the morning to lose weight. Ajwain is used as an age old home remedy for weight loss because the appetite stimulating properties and the laxative components of this kitchen ingredient help in improving the bowel movement, thereby aiding weight loss.
Side effects of ajwain
Generally, ajwain does not cause any side effects but it should be consumed in the correct quantity. Overconsuming carom seeds can lead to various adverse health effects. According to Dr. Anjali, here are the side effects of ajwain:
1. Stomach ulcer
Although, ajwain is beneficial for treating ulcers and sores in the stomach and esophagus, it can still react in an opposite way if not taken in moderate amounts. Overconsumption of ajwain can lead to stomach ulcers as it can produce too much heat in the body.
2. Heartburn and nausea
Heartburn is also another side effect of overconsuming ajwain or carom seeds. It is a strong ingredient and contains active enzymes, thus having too much of this spice can cause heartburn and nausea. Take care of the quantity of ajwain you are consuming even if taken as a home remedy to treat acid reflux.
3. Increases liver problems
The overuse of ajwain can create difficulties for people already suffering from liver diseases. It increases the risk of liver problems. It is best to consume it in moderation to prevent any liver related issues.
These were the health benefits and side effects of ajwain by Dr. Anjali Phatak. You can include ajwain in your daily diet but in moderate amounts as overconsumption can lead to potential side effects. However, make sure to talk to your doctor about the quantity to consume if you are suffering from any pre existing medical conditions.