Posted by Bangzkie Thursday, April 12, 2012
Trachyspermum ammi, commonly known as ajowan, bishop's weed, ajwain, ajowan caraway, carom seeds, or thymol seeds, is a plant of India and the Near East whose seeds are used as a spice.
The plant has a similarity to parsley. Because of their seed-like appearance, the fruit pods are sometimes called seeds; they are egg-shaped and grayish in colour. Ajwain is often confused with lovage seed; even some dictionaries mistakenly state ajwain comes from the lovage plant.
Raw ajwain smells almost exactly like thyme because it also contains thymol, but is more aromatic and less subtle in taste, as well as slightly bitter and pungent. Even a small amount of raw ajwain will completely dominate the flavor of a dish. In Indian cuisine, ajwain is almost never used raw, but either dry-roasted or fried in ghee or oil. This develops a much more subtle and complex aroma, somewhat similar to caraway but "brighter". Among other things, it is used for making a type of parantha, called ajwain ka parantha.
It is also traditionally known as a digestive aid, a relief for abdominal discomfort due to indigestion and an antiseptic. In southern parts of India, dry ajwain seeds are powdered and soaked in milk, which is then filtered and fed to babies. Many assume it relieves colic in babies, and for children it also improves digestion and appetite. Ajwain can be used as digestive mixture in large animals.In India, it is often added to heavy fried dishes to aid digestion. A study conducted using the essential oil suggests that it has some use in the treatment of intestinal dysbiosis. Its benefit comes from being able to inhibit the growth of undesired pathogens while not adversely affecting the beneficial flora.