An important commercial spice crop in India where the pungent, aromatic seeds are in great demand in curries, pickles, confectionery and beverages. Used medicinally for sore throat, bronchitis and cough. Potent antifungal against pathogenic fungi. Grows like cumin or dill: start in peat or paper pots in April; do not disturb roots when transplanting. Ht. 30-100 cm/1-3 ft.
Ajowan, sometimes called bishop's weed or carom, is relatively unknown outside of its native India. Generally used as an addition to vegetarian food, ajowan seeds resemble cumin and exude a fragrance similar to thyme. This fragrance becomes stronger when the seeds are ground or fried in butter or oil, but the seeds will lose their bitter and somewhat hot taste once cooked. Ajowan seeds are often chewed for medicinal purposes because of it high thymol. Thymol, an ingredient also found in thyme, is used in many toothpastes, mouthwashes and cough syrups. It is known for its antiseptic properties and is added to cigarettes to enhance their flavor.
Ajowan is used mainly in Asian, Indian, Arabic and Ethiopian cuisines to compliment fish and potatoes, but most commonly legumes. Seeds are fried in butter to bring out the thyme-like fragrance, but also to help enhance the flavor of the butter or fat. Legumes are then tossed in the butter mixture and served hot. Whole seeds are sometimes baked into breads, but raw seeds are rarely used in cooking as their flavor is overpowering.
Belonging to the Umbelliferae family, the ajowan plant can grow up to two feet tall and resembles fresh parsley. Seed-like in appearance, the pods from the ajowan plant are usually referred to as seeds, however they are actually the fruit of the plant. Fruit pods should be stored away from light, in a cool, dark place.
Purported Medicinal Qualities*
Ajowan seeds have many purported medicinal properties, most deriving from thymol oil. Ajowan seeds are said to clean eyes, cure deafness and impotence, and ajowan oil was once used in surgery as an antiseptic.
Historically, ajowan has been used to:
- Prevent infection
- Prevent spasms
- As a germicide
- As a fungicide
- As a carminative
- As an aphrodisiac
- Relieve asthma and shortness of breath
* Always check with your healthcare provider before consuming, inhaling or otherwise ingesting any non-prescription or prescription natural or homeopathic substance or pharmaceutical. Amber's Organics is not recommending, suggesting, inferring or otherwise endorsing the use of any herb or spice as a medication.