Caraway seeds, known as ‘kaala jeera’ or ‘shahjeera’ in ‘Hindi,’ are used to add the peppery flavor to the food. But besides its culinary importance, it has other medicinal qualities as well, and that can treat a lot of our hair, health and skin problems. Let us discuss all of them in detail.
Caraway plant is also called ‘Persian cumin’ and ‘meridian fennel.’ It is a member of the carrot family. Its binomial name is ‘carum carvi’. The seeds are actually the fruit of the plant. They are dark brown in color and have a crescent shape with several pale colored stripes running along the surface. The plant grows in warm and sunny regions, where the soil is well drained and rich in organic matter. It grows extensively in the regions of North Africa, Europe, and Asia. The seeds have a sweet, peppery aroma and are an important spice of Mediterranean cuisine. The distinct flavor of the seeds comes from the chemical compounds like ‘carvones’, ‘caveols’ and ‘pinen’. And these compounds are responsible for its digestive, antioxidant, carminative and anti-flatulent properties. These seeds are used in medicines, food, desserts, liquors, cosmetics etc. The seeds also contain vitamin A, E, C, and B- complex vitamins.
BENEFITS FOR HEALTH
The seeds have many nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and are a rich source of dietary fibers. These seeds have antiseptic, antihistaminic and carminative properties.
- The dietary fiber, which is present in these seeds, helps to increase the bulk of food and prevents constipation and provides relief from gas problems.
- It contains antioxidants, like lutein, zeaxanthin, and carotene, which remove harmful radicals from the body and thus protect from infection, aging and other neurological diseases.
- The seeds contain minerals like iron, copper, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese etc. Iron and copper regenerate new blood cells. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate. Manganese is used as a co-factor for the powerful antioxidant enzyme known as superoxide dismutase.
- Both jeera seeds and essential oil strengthen the stomach and kill hookworms.
- Caraway tea is the best for treating intestinal parasites, urinary tract infections, fevers, colds, infections and helps in boosting the immune system.
- Caraway essential oil helps to get rid of bad breath, toothaches and gum diseases.
- It increases the production of milk in lactating mothers during breastfeeding cycle.
- The seeds help to start the menstrual cycle in teenage girls and also, cure menstrual cramps.
- Jeera is a natural treatment for dyspepsia, hysteria and other similar disorders.
- It helps to cure the problem of insomnia i.e. deprived sleep. The presence of magnesium in caraway is very high, which is linked to long duration and better quality of sleep.
- The seeds are used to protect the cancer patients, as it contains an agent which acts as free radical scavengers. Free radicals cause cancer in the human body so; these seeds kill these free radicals and protect the body against cancer.
BENEFITS FOR SKIN
These seeds are used to reduce skin infection, puffiness, redness, itching etc. Other uses are as follows:
- These seeds help to reproduce new cells which lead to shedding-off of dead skin cells and that helps to remove scars caused due to acne.
- It helps to boost the skin health and reduce wrinkles, which makes you look young and refreshed.
- A poultice is made by using the jeera seeds, which helps in reducing skin puffiness and inflammation
- Essential oil made from these seeds is used by various spas and beauty parlors as aromatic facial steam to treat the skin infections. It is also used in the cosmetic industry for manufacturing soaps, perfumes, mouthwashes etc.
- The essential oil can also be used to treat acne and related skin eruptions.
- The oil helps to remove the under-eye dark circles because of the presence of copper in caraway.
- The skin injury or its scar can be treated well, with jeera. It helps in healing wounds by curbing the bacteria or fungi build up near the wound that can cause further infections.
- It can also control the skin burns by quickly increasing the growth of skin cells in the affected area.
BENEFITS FOR HAIR
- The essential oil has antiseptic properties due to which it is used to overcome the problems like hair lice, dandruff, itching and split ends.
- It helps in reducing hair loss and improving the hair texture.
20 HOME REMEDIES FOR HEALTH, SKIN, AND HAIR
- Add caraway seeds to the tea and drink it every morning. It helps to overcome the problems like bloating and also helps in reducing weight.
- Eat one spoon of these seeds with honey to avoid gas problems. Sugar/honey is used mainly for the children who dislike its smell and taste.
- The water in which these seeds have been soaked can be used as gripe water for young babies. It deals with flatulence and colic.
- These seeds can be chewed as it is to get relief from hookworms that affect the stomach.
- Running nose can be treated with the essential oil. Pour 2 drops of the oil in each nostril to get immediate relief.
- Add 5-6 drops of the essential oil in your tea to get rid of a sore throat and cold.
- Boil the jeera seeds in water and drink that water. It acts as a mouthwash and helps to kill the oral problems like bad breath.
- To treat indigestion, crush the roasted caraway seeds and add them to your curd or lassi (buttermilk), drink it every day during lunch.
- If you feel tightness in the stomach after eating the food, then chew a spoonful jeera seeds after every meal. It will help to cure the tightness and will provide relief in pain.
- Use the seeds while cooking regular meals like rice, dal (lentils), vegetables, salad because it helps to reduce the blood sugar level.
- It is said that a bone fracture can be treated, within 2 weeks, with the regular application of caraway essential oil.
- Make a face pack by mixing fuller’s earth (Multani mitti), caraway seeds and rose water/normal water. Apply this pack to your face every night, for 2 weeks, to get rid of acne and scar problems.
- To remove the suntan, make a face pack of fuller’s earth (Multani mitti), gram flour (besan), 5-6 drops of caraway essential oil and water. Fuller’s earth cools down the skin, gram flour removes the suntan and essential oil treats the damage done by the sun. Apply it twice a week and results would be visible to you.
- If you are a bit lazy to prepare a face pack of these seeds to treat acne, then you can just apply soaked jeera seeds on your acne. You can either wash your face after 15-20 minutes or just sleep with it and then wash it in the morning.
- For treating the skin allergies and infections, mix caraway essential oil with olive oil and gently apply it to the affected areas.
- To treat the chapped lips, apply the mixture of jeera seed oil and olive oil in your belly button, every morning. Don’t be too harsh while massaging the oil in the belly button as it may turn red, so be gentle.
- To make your skin look healthy, make a face pack of fuller’s earth (Multani mitti), Aloe Vera Gel, 5-6 drops of essential oil and water (according to the required consistency). Apply this pack to your face, twice a week.
- For solving the scalp problems like dandruff, itching, rough scalp, hair lice etc. apply the essential oil mixed with olive/mustard/coconut oil.
- Soak the seeds (2 tablespoons) in a jug full of water, overnight. Next morning, filter the water and keep the seeds aside, then pour the same water (in which the seeds have been soaked) on your hair and then shampoo your hair. It will help to rejuvenate your hair and make them look shinier.
- To improve the texture of your hair, mix gram flour (besan) with curd and add 6-8 drops of the seed essential oil in it. Apply it to your hair, from root to tips, and wash your hair with shampoo, after an hour.
PRECAUTIONS AND SIDE EFFECTS
- Spices like caraway should be used in small amounts otherwise it can cause gastrointestinal irritation and stomach ulcers.
- A very high dosage of the essential oil can lead to miscarriage and it may be neurotoxin; therefore, pregnant women should avoid using it.
- The purified essential oil should be kept away from the children aged below 2 years, as; it may cause skin and mucous membrane irritation.
- A diabetic person should not consume caraway without checking his/her blood sugar level because caraway lowers down the blood sugar considerably.
- A person who is going for a surgery should stop consuming jeera at least 2 days before the surgery because it can cause a change in the blood sugar level, before and after the surgery.
- The high dosage of the essential oil can cause kidney and liver infections.
- One should not directly apply the caraway oil to their face; rather it should be mixed olive/coconut oil because the over application of it can lead to skin irritation.
MYTHS and FACTS
|It is said that if a lactating female (mother of a newborn child who is capable of secreting milk), eats the caraway seeds while cleaning the house, especially with a broom; the process of lactation increases.||This is not true. The production of breastmilk has nothing to do with the ‘cleaning’. Caraway itself has the property to increase lactation in mothers because it contains zinc and magnesium which are responsible for stimulating the process of lactation and improving the baby’s health.|
|Caraway seeds and caraway essential oils work exactly the same.||No, they don’t. They have different characteristics. For example, pregnant women can eat caraway seeds in regular meals like vegetables, dals. But it is highly recommended not to use caraway oil during pregnancy as it might lead to miscarriage. It is because caraway oil contains such compounds that are slightly different from the seeds. The intake of a few seeds doesn’t harm but intake of an even small quantity of oil can make a big difference!|
Q1. What is the difference between caraway and fennel seeds?
Ans. Fennel and caraway are related spices because caraway is also known as ‘meridian fennel’, but they are not exactly the same. Fennel seeds taste more like anise/licorice, whereas caraway has peppery flavors. They are also different in their appearance. Fennel seeds are usually green in color while caraway seeds are dark brown.
Q2. Are caraway and cumin seeds the same?
Ans. Cumin seeds are look-alikes of caraway but taste entirely different. Caraway’s flavor is strong and has a warm aroma due to its essential oil content whereas cumin seeds are lighter in color and hotter to taste. Also, cumin seeds are larger than those of caraway.
Q3. Should a person, who is not suffering from diabetes, completely stop consuming these seeds, as it lowers down the blood sugar level considerably?
Ans. No, there is no harm for a non-diabetic person in consuming these seeds in regular meals (lentils, vegetables) or for curing diseases or problems like indigestion, gas problems etc. But the over-consumption of these seeds is not recommended.
Q4. How can caraway essential oil lead to a miscarriage?
Ans. Caraway essential oil contains such compounds that can start the menstruation in females, which is why it is not recommended for pregnant women. Though, you can use the seeds after delivery of the child, to stimulate the lactation process.
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