Ajwain Health Benefits Uses And Side Effects

Ajwain Health Benefits Uses And Side Effects

Ajwain is a spice native to Egypt, but it has become one of the most common condiments in the Indian subcontinent today. The bitter taste of ajwain is often compared to that of thyme. This is because both these herbs share a chemical constituent known as thymol. If you compare the two herbs, you’ll find that the flavor of ajwain is much more pungent than that of thyme. Nonetheless, both of these herbs find their own space in the kitchen cabinets.

If you love making your home remedies, you might already know that ajwain isn’t just a savory delight, but it has a lot of medicinal properties too. Traditionally, ajwain is a go-to herb for the most common gut problems like gas, acidity, and stomach cramps. Ajwain water is a known galactagogue (improves milk secretion in nursing mothers) and it is a pretty famous remedy for weight loss.

Ajwain plant is a herbaceous annual, which means that it needs to be replanted every year. The normal average height of this plant is around 60 to 90 meters. Ajwain stems have grooves on the surface (parallel lines) and ajwain leaves have a distinct aroma that can’t be missed. The tiny white ajwain flowers grow in clusters on the tip of the branches.

Ajwain seed is greenish to brown in shades and they have clear groves on the surface.


Did you know?

Some folk traditions believe that keeping ajwain with you brings good luck in all aspects of life.

Some basic facts about ajwain:

Botanical name: Trachyspermum Ammi

Family: Apiaceae

Common name: Ajwain, carom seeds

Sanskrit name: Ajamoda, Yamini

Parts used: Seeds

Native region and geographical distribution: Ajwain is a native of Egypt but it is also found in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. In India, ajwain is mainly cultivated in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra

Energetics: Warming.

  • Ajwain benefits for health
  • How to use ajwain
  • How much ajwain can be taken per day
  • Ajwain side effects

Ajwain benefits for health

Ajwain finds many uses in traditional and folk medicine. Unfortunately, when it comes to the healing benefits of ajwain for humans, not much has yet been confirmed scientifically.

Still, there have been a lot of pre-clinical trials that confirm the ayurvedic and folk claims. Let’s explore what we know about ajwain:

Ajwain for the stomach: Ajwain seeds have a soothing effect on your stomach and have been evidenced to relieve several stomach problems including stomach pain, gas, flatulence, bloating, and indigestion. According to Ayurveda, ajwain seeds are also effective in the management of diarrhea and constipation as they improve the secretion of digestive enzymes.

Ajwain for weight loss and cholesterol management: By relieving major digestive issues, ajwain seeds also assist in weight loss and reduction of cholesterol when taken with water.

Ajwain for women: Ajwain has numerous benefits for women. Its anti-spasmodic effects help to relieve menstrual pain and cramps. During nursing, the use of ajwain helps to improve the flow of milk for feeding. But, care must be taken before using this herb during pregnancy as it has abortifacient effects.

Ajwain as an antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory: Ajwain has been evidenced to have actions against a wide range of microorganisms, which is why it is useful in the treatment of stomach worms. Its antioxidant properties make it excellent for the health of your skin and hair while its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce arthritis pain.

Ajwain for respiratory health: Ajwain seeds are helpful in the management of common colds, coughs, and asthma.

  • Ajwain for digestion
  • Ajwain for gas
  • Ajwain for stomach pain
  • Ajwain for diarrhea
  • Ajwain for constipation
  • Ajwain for weight loss
  • Ajwain during pregnancy
  • Ajwain for nursing mothers
  • Ajwain for cough
  • Ajwain for asthma
  • Ajwain for cold
  • Ajwan for hair
  • Ajwain water for babies
  • Ajwain as a blood thinner
  • Ajwain antioxidant potential
  • Ajwain for arthritis
  • Ajwain for stomach worms
  • Ajwain for cholesterol
  • Ajwain for menstrual cramps
  • Ajwain antimicrobial properties

Ajwain for digestion

According to two different in vivo studies (i.e. animal studies), ajwain increases gastric acid secretion and decreases the transit time of food through the stomach and intestines. Additionally, it was reported that ajwain intake increases bile secretion and digestive enzyme secretion. Thus, ajwain has a definite potential for improving the digestion process. Due to the absence of clinical studies, it is difficult to confirm the similar efficiency of ajwain for humans.

Ajwain for gas

Traditional and folk medicine recognizes ajwain as an excellent remedy against gas and flatulence. A traditional recipe for gas is made by adding 500g of ajwain seeds to a 60g mixture of rock salt, black salt, and table salt in a ratio of 1:1:1 by weight. 1 tsp of this mixture is then taken with warm water to provide relief from symptoms of gas, vomiting, and nausea. According to ayurvedic doctors, ajwain also reduces intestinal gas by helping pass the stools more easily.

Ajwain for stomach pain

Ajwain is one of the most commonly used remedies for stomach pain and spasms. Ayurvedic doctors suggest a mixture of ajwain seeds and ginger for relieving stomach pains. Recent studies hint that ajwain acts as a blocker of calcium channels which leads to an evident decrease in spasms. Additionally, this property of ajwain is also claimed to be beneficial in relieving symptoms of diarrhea.

Ajwain for diarrhea

In vivo studies suggest the anti-diarrheal activity of the alcoholic extracts of ajwain. It was further suggested that this anti-diarrheal property may be attributed to the presence of biological compounds like saponins, flavonoids, sterols, and tannins. However, due to the absence of human studies, it’s hard to confirm the anti-diarrheal potential of ajwain.

Ajwain for constipation

While there haven’t been specialized studies that focus on the laxative properties of ajwain, it remains one of the most sought-after remedies for relieving constipation. Some laboratory-based studies suggest that ajwain improves the digestion process along with reducing the passing time of food through our gastrointestinal tract. These two properties may be responsible for making ajwain a much-loved remedy for constipation. But, it doesn’t confirm its efficiency as a constipation reliever. It’s better to talk to your ayurvedic doctor to know more about the possible uses of ajwain for constipation.

Ajwain for weight loss

According to ayurvedic doctors, ajwain helps digest food properly and relieves digestive disorders like gas and flatulence. Together, these three properties of ajwain may help you lose weight. But, it also increases appetite. Which is in direct contradiction to any weight loss benefits of this spice. Animal studies suggest that consuming ajwain may have some benefits in losing body weight. But, in the absence of human studies, it is best to talk to your doctor before taking ajwain in any form.

Ajwain during pregnancy

Ajwain seeds are listed as one of the top abortifacients in folk medicine. In a people-based study in India, about 155 women had agreed to have used ajwain seeds for aborting the fetus. Additionally, it has been noted that this herb doesn’t have 100% efficiency in inducing abortions but consumption of ajwain during pregnancy has been observed as a cause of birth defects. Animal models suggest the toxicity of ajwain seeds for the fetus based on their teratogenic action.

Ajwain for nursing mothers

Ajwain is traditionally used by nursing mothers to promote the flow of milk from mammary glands. Animal studies were done by The National Dairy Research Institute hint that ajwain water is an effective galactagogue. It was further suggested that ajwain has some phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen) which mimic estrogen in the body. Nursing mothers are suggested to talk to their doctor before taking ajwain in any form.

Ajwain for cough

Preclinical studies indicate that ajwain is a potent antitussive (relieves cough). It was further suggested that this antitussive effect of ajwain is more prominently noticed in higher doses of administration of the ajwain extracts. Additionally, ajwain has also been reported as an efficient antispasmodic. So, it may help in a cough by relaxing throat muscles. But, in the absence of clinical trials, it’s better to talk to your doctor before taking ajwain as a cough remedy.

Ajwain for asthma

According to a clinical study done in Iran, ajwain is an efficient bronchodilatory. In this study, a group of asthma patients was given two different doses of ajwain or a common anti-asthma drug on a random basis. Another group was kept on a placebo. At the end of the required time, it was noted that ajwain had a bronchodilator action that was similar to that of the commercial drug. So, it can be safely said that ajwain has some benefits against asthma symptoms. It is always advisable to check in with your doctor before taking ajwain.

Ajwain for cold

According to ayurvedic doctors, ajwain aggravates pitta which means its energetically warming to the body. Thus it may help relieve symptoms of a cold. However, it is best to refer to a doctor to know more about the benefits of ajwain.

Ajwan for hair

in the busy and stressed lifestyle of this day, it is very difficult to take time out for special hair care. The chemicals used in cosmetics and conditioners may give you shinier-looking hairs but most often they are not that useful when it comes to infections and scalp conditions. Add to it, the rising pollution and it becomes almost impossible to avoid common diseases and infections.

According to researchers, fungal hair and skin infections are becoming common pretty quickly, especially in the heat and humidity of the tropics. Adding to it, the rise of drug-resistant microbes, it has become really difficult to combat these common infections.

Studies suggest that ajwain has a strong antifungal action against Aspergillus and the common skin and hair fungi Trichophyton rubrum. One such study used ajwain in combination with a known antifungal drug and it was observed that there was a marked reduction in the growth of this fungus.

Additionally, ajwain is an excellent antioxidant, so it may help make your hair shinier and less prone to damage by the Ultraviolet radiation

Ajwain water for babies

Ajwain water is a popular remedy for relieving gas stomach and symptoms of cold in babies. It is considered a warming herb in Ayurveda and in vivo studies have indicated the efficiency of ajwain in relieving gas and flatulence. But no clinical trials are available so far to moderate a proper dosage of ajwain in infants and babies. So, in the best interest of your young one, it is better to ask your ayurvedic doctor about the proper dosage of ajwain water for your baby.

Ajwain is a blood thinner

Laboratory and animal-based studies suggest that ajwain is a natural blood thinner. According to in vivo studies, the mechanism of action of ajwain is quite similar to that of the most common anticoagulant drug, warfarin. But, the effects of ajwain on human clotting factors are still not completely understood. So, it is best to talk to your doctor to know more about this particular benefit of ajwain.

Ajwain antioxidant potential

Numerous types of research have been done to test the antioxidant potential of ajwain seeds. And all lab studies indicate that ajwain has great antioxidant potential. According to a study published in the International Journal of Green Pharmacy, essential oil made from ajwain seeds is an excellent antioxidant. Another study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry hints that frozen ajwain seeds display much more potent antioxidant activity as compared to fresh ajwain seeds. It was further suggested that the antioxidant potential of this herb can be directly attributed to the content of phenolics in its seeds.

Ajwain for arthritis

In vitro studies suggest that alcoholic and aqueous extracts of ajwain seeds exhibit strong anti-inflammatory effects. According to researchers, oxidative stress is one of the major factors responsible the wear and tear in rheumatoid arthritis. Keeping this factor in view, the antioxidant properties of ajwain were tested on animal models of arthritis and it was found that administration of ajwain does have some useful effects in alleviating the symptoms of arthritis. However, not much can be said about the possibility of side effects on humans.

Ajwain for stomach worms

Ajwain remains one of the top ayurvedic remedies against worms in the gastrointestinal tract. Ayurvedic doctors suggest ajwain sat (ajwain extract) for treating stomach worm worms is further suggested that ajwain sat is especially effective in hookworm infections.

Numerous studies have been done to test this claim of Ayurveda and almost all lab studies confirm the anthelmintic properties of ajwain seeds. Laboratory-based studies claim that ajwain is very efficient against ringworm infections.

In a further study, it was observed that ajwain seeds help kill stomach worms by inhibiting some intracellular signaling in their bodies. Additionally, studies claim ajwain seeds to be excellent cholinergic, they increase the peristaltic movement in the intestines, thus leading to a quicker and easier expulsion of worms from the gut.

Ajwain for cholesterol

Studies suggest that ajwain is a strong hypolipidemic (reduces body cholesterol). In an animal-based study, it was observed that consuming ajwain seeds and methanolic extracts reduces the levels of low-density cholesterol and other triglycerides in the body. But the exact mechanism of action and dosage has not been studied in clinical situations. So, it’s best to follow moderation while taking ajwain.

Ajwain for menstrual cramps

Menstrual cramps are a troublesome and recurring situation for some women. It is characterized by pain in the lower abdomen right before or during the menstrual phase of the monthly cycle. While conditions like fibroids and PCOS may be the causative agent of this problem, it’s more often associated with muscle spasms due to lack of exercise or individual anatomy. Preclinical studies associate ajwain seeds with potent antispasmodic benefits. This means consuming ajwain seeds may help relieve muscle spasms in the lower abdomen and alleviate menstrual pains. Clinical studies are still underway in this field. So, you should check in with your doctor to know about the benefits and dosage of ajwain seeds during menstruation.

Ajwain antimicrobial properties

In recent times, the primary concern against antibiotic treatment is the development of more and more antibiotic-resistant microbes. If you are a follower of scientific research, you might have noted that names like MRSA, VRSA, and MDR tuberculosis have become fairly common. There is a rising and immediate need for better alternatives for the current generation of drugs. Preferably one which stops or slows down the rise of microbial resistance. According to researchers, natural substances like herbs and spices have evolved alongside these microbes so it is hard that they’ll develop a strong resistance against them. Studies suggest that thymol and carvacrol present in ajwain seeds hold a strong antibiotic potential. Laboratory-based studies demonstrate that ajwain shows marked antibacterial action in combination therapies with ampicillin and minerals like iron and copper.

How to use ajwain

Ajwain seeds are extensively used in various cuisines in the form of a condiment or spice. Both dry and roasted form of this spice is savored for their pungent taste all around the world. If you don’t like the crunch of ajwain seeds you can always substitute it with ajwain powder.

Another way you can add ajwain to your diet is by using ajwain oil and other products like toothpaste and aromatic oils. Apart from this, ajwain seeds are also used for their slightly bitter flavor in various confectionaries like biscuits, snacks, bread, and soups.

Ajwain essential oil finds great value in aromatherapy for its healing benefits.

Furthermore, ajwain tablets and capsules are also commercially available in the market.

How to make Ajwain Tea

One of the most common health-boosting recipes made from dry ajwain seeds is ajwain tea. Let’s look at a simple recipe for making ajwain tea at home:

Take some ajwain seeds in a cup.

Boil water in a pan and put this boiled water in the cup with ajwain seeds.

Let it sit for 5 minutes. You’ll notice the water starts turning a light shade of golden brown.

Strain the water after 5-6 minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea.

You can drink it hot or let it sit for a while before consuming it.

You shouldn’t add sugar in it. if you want to sweeten the tea a bit, you can always add some honey. The upside would be that adding honey will give your tea a health boost with its antibacterial and weight loss benefits.

How much ajwain can be taken per day

Ideally, 2 grams of ajwain seeds can be used per day without many side effects. But, if you want to take ajwain for its health benefits, it is best to refer to a doctor to know the right dosage for your condition.

Ajwain side effects

Ajwain seeds are a known abortifacient. So, pregnant women are strongly recommended to avoid this herb.

According to Ayurveda, ajwain has a warming effect on the body. So, if you have a warm body constituency, it’s best to follow moderation while consuming ajwain.

Not much is known about the proper dosage of ajwain for babies. So, it’s best to ask your doctor to determine the right dosage of ajwain for your baby.

Studies hint that ajwain is a blood thinner. If you are about to undergo surgery or are on blood thinning medication, it is best not to consume ajwain in any form.

Ajwain seeds contain thymol as a major chemical constituent. Thymol is known to cause mild skin irritation in some people. Additionally, over-consumption of thymol is also reported to have caused conditions like dizziness, nausea, and vomiting in some people. So, it’s best not to take ajwain in large amounts.