Ayurveda says that whatever is created by Mother Nature has some medicinal properties which are beneficial and valuable for everyone’s health, provided we learn when, how, how much a particular item (herb, spice, fruit, vegetables, grain, etc.) is to be used, and who it is suitable for (based on the individuals’ personal need, according to his Prakruti & Vikruti), and finally why it is to be used, i.e. for addressing a certain ailment caused by the imbalance of a particular dosha/element.
When we obtain this knowledge, then we can take full advantage of the various food items that Mother Nature has provided for us.
Ajwain, which is called Carum or Omum seeds in English (its botanical name is Carum copticum), is one herb/seed that Mother Nature has provided to improve our heath in many ways, mainly by enhancing the digestive fire in the stomach.
In Ayurveda, it is said, “Eka Yavani Shatamannapatika”; “eka” means “only one”; “Yavani” means “Ajwain”; “Shatam” means “hundreds”; “anna” means “grains/food stuff”; “patika” means which “helps to digest”. In other words, Ajwain alone can help to digest hundreds of food items. In Indian cooking, Ajwain seeds are very commonly used throughout the year, mainly in cold weather/winter season.
Ayurveda describes that from a rasa (taste) perspective, Ajwain is pungent (hot) and bitter; quality wise it is light, with drying and piercing effects; potency wise it is hot and due to its pungent taste, its post-digestive effect is heaty.
Due to the above Ayurvedic properties, Ajwain is helpful to enhance the Pachaka Pitta (digestive fire), which helps to speed up digestion and thus pacifies and regulates Vata – particularly Samana Vayu (the air element in the stomach region). Therefore, it is very beneficial in winter season, because in winter we generally tend to eat a larger quantity of food compared to what we usually eat in other seasons.
Ajwain seeds are especially beneficial for those who experience bloated feeling in the stomach and abdomen after eating, due to gas formation, which is caused by slow/poor digestion. Due to its boosting effect on the digestive fire in the stomach, Ajwain seeds can help to kill harmful bacteria and worms in the stomach (especially in growing children).
Also, because of its heaty effect, Ajwain seeds can help to melt the accumulated Kapha (mucus) and eliminate Ama (toxins) from one’s system. Ajwain seeds are also useful for correcting inflammation & swelling, and the pain associated with them, as Ajwain, due to its heaty effect, helps to improve blood circulation and purify the blood tissue from all the impurities caused by the accumulation of Ama (toxic mucus).
In the dry and cold weather in winter, our bodies have a tendency to become more stiff. Due to its Vata pacifying effect, Ajwain can improve flexibility of joints, particularly in winter. When flexibility improves, it motivates us to move around more, which again will help with proper blood circulation. This will result in generating warmth in the body, which helps to increase appetite and speed up the whole metabolism. This definitely will have a revitalising and rejuvenating effect on our bodies and a boosting effect on our immune system. In Ayurveda, there are many different concoctions and formulas given, using Ajwain as the main ingredient, which can be useful for correcting and preventing many health issues. Here we are sharing a few of these formulas:
- Stomach and digestion related issues:
Mix 3 gram roasted Ajwain powder with about ½ gram black/rock salt and take this mixture with hot/warm water, 30 minutes after meals, twice a day. This can help to relieve bloated feeling due to indigestion or slow digestion.
Mix 10 gram roasted Ajwain seed powder with black/rock salt and black pepper powder, 5 gram each. Store this mixture in an air tight glass bottle. Take 3 – 5 grams of this mixture with about 100 ml warm water in cold weather, and normal room temperature water in hot weather, twice a day. This can help to speed up metabolism and to ease evacuation.
To get rid of worms in the stomach: mix 2 – 3 gram Ajwain seed powder with 2 gram black/rock salt and take it with 100 ml normal water, first thing in the morning. Drink 300 ml more water, half an hour after drinking Ajwain water. This can help to kill/flush out worms from the stomach and provide relief from issues relating to the presence of worms, e.g. bloated feeling, stomach ache, underdeveloped body, grinding one’s teeth during sleep, etc.
2. For heart burn: If you experience heart burn after meals then take 1 – 2 gram of roasted Ajwain seed powder and 1 piece of crushed almond (should be soaked overnight or at least for 8 hours) and eat them together, one hour before meals. This concoction can help to correct heart burn, especially for Vata oriented individuals. For Pitta oriented individuals, they should mix the Ajwain seed powder with either 1 piece of pitted date (soaked for 3 hours before eating), or with a teaspoon of melted pure cow’s ghee (clarified butter), or with 1 teaspoon of melted virgin coconut oil. For Kapha oriented individuals, they should mix Ajwain powder with a teaspoon of pure honey.
3. For cold & cough: take 3 – 4 gram of roasted Ajwain seed powder with a glass of warm fresh milk or warm water, 2 – 3 times a day. This can help to clear the lungs and the nasal passage & thereby help to stop cold & cough.
4. Bed wetting: Young children who experience this problem should be given about 1 gram of raw Ajwain seed powder mixed with 1 – 2 gram of jaggery or with pure honey, around 6 pm in the evening, and again half an hour before bed time. This combination will help to generate natural warmth in and around the bladder of the child and thus improve his ability to hold the urine throughout his sleep.
5. Menstruation related problems: Young women who suffer from delayed, scanty and painful menstruation, should take 3 – 4 gram of raw Ajwain seed with about 100 ml fresh hot milk or water, twice a day – one hour after breakfast and 30 minutes before going to bed. Taking this regularly for a month can ease menstrual flow, normalise the quantity of blood and prevent cramps & lower back pain.
- Ayurveda says, in general, one should not take Ajwain seeds on its own. It should always be mixed with something before consuming orally. Vata predominant individuals should take Ajwain seeds with either pure ghee (clarified butter), or fresh butter, or virgin coconut oil; while Pitta oriented individuals should mix some cumin seeds or fennel seeds, or coriander seed powder or ground rock sugar, in addition to the items mentioned above for Vata individuals. Kapha oriented individuals should take Ajwain seeds with a little rock/black salt, or just with plain water.
- Pitta predominant individuals should be more mindful and careful when consuming Ajwain seeds in hot weather, because Ajwain seeds are “Pittavardhak”, meaning, it increases fire/heat in the body, which can cause Pitta related problems, e.g. rashes on the skin, burning sensation in the chest and throat, bleeding from the nose, bleeding while passing urine and stool, etc. Additionally, they should not consume Ajwain seeds at night as this can agitate the bile in the stomach and hence cause acidity/heart burn, which can disturb their sleep.
DISCLAIMER : This information is intended for educational purposes only & does not constitute expert medical advice, nor is it meant to replace medical recommendations by a medical practitioner. Always consult a qualified Ayurveda Doctor/Health Professional/Yoga Guru for your specific medical needs before taking any herbal health supplements, and/or practicing Ayurveda & Yoga.