Ajwain seeds are used as a spice. The grayish-green seeds are striped and curved (similar to cumin or caraway seeds in appearance), often with a fine silk stalk attached. They are usually sold whole. The seeds are often chewed on their own for medicinal value, tasting bitingly hot and bitter, leaving the tongue numb for a while. Cooking ajowan mellows it somewhat. When crushed, they have a strong and distinctive thyme-like fragrance.
Health Benefits of Ajwain
Ajwain seeds contain an essential oil which is about 50% thymol which is a strong germicide, anti-spasmodic and fungicide. Thymol is also used in toothpaste and perfumery. It is used in a steeped liquid form against diarrhea and flatulence. In India the seeds are used as a household remedy for indigestion and colic, and used in poultices to relieve asthma and arthritis. It also has aphrodisiac properties and the Ananga Ranga prescribes it for increasing a husband’s enjoyment in his middle years.