|Botanical: Carum carvi
Family: Umbelliferae (carrot) - Apiaceae (parsley)
Other common names: Kummel, Caraway Fruit, Oleum Carvi, Oleum Cari
Another old favorite in the kitchen, Caraway Seed is also an old favorite herbal digestive aid and appetite stimulant that has long been used to relieve indigestion and gas. Try it for other digestive problems as well, including constipation, heartburn, colic and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Caraway has a spicy past: It was used in ancient times as an aphrodisiac in love potions.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Caraway is an annual or biennial herb with finely divided leaves and slender stems that grow from one to two feet in height and are topped by small white flowers. The plant has long taproots that can effectively break up and aerate heavy soils. It is native to the Old World and had been used in the Middle East for five thousand years before its introduction to Europe in the thirteenth century. Caraway grows wild in Europe and temperate parts of Asia and was naturalized in the United States and Great Britain. It is cultivated commercially in Morocco, Holland and England for culinary and medicinal purposes. An herb with a pedigree, Caraway has been found in the remains of Stone Age meals, Egyptian tombs and ancient caravan stops along the Silk Road. Its botanical genus name, according to the first-century naturalist, Pliny, was derived from Caria, an ancient region of Asia Minor, and the name Caraway comes down to us from ancient Arabic peoples who called the seeds karawya, the name they still bear in the East. Years ago, Caraway was believed to have magnetic properties, and potions were used to attract a person's love. Moreover, Caraway Seeds were sprinkled on people's most prized possessions to protect them from theft, or at least magically hold any would-be thief in place until the owner returned. Caraway Seeds were widely known for their mildly spicy, aromatic flavor that were not only used in herbal medicine, helping to relieve digestive ailments (Dioscorides even prescribed Caraway for "pale-faced girls"), but it has also been an important ingredient in baked goods, soups, salads, cordials, confectionery, soaps and perfumery. The typical fragrance of Caraway is produced by carvone, which comprises much of the volatile oils in the seeds and said to have both stimulating and anesthetic effects. Other volatile oil compounds include and to a lessor extent dihydrocarvone, dihydrocarveol, carveol, d-perillyl alcohol and d-dihydropinol; the oils of Caraway grown in different locations differ from each other in quantity, quality and composition.
Caraway Seed is famous for improving the appetite and treating conditions of the digestive system, including heartburn, indigestion, colic, nausea, upset stomach and stomach ulcers. It is also considered a harmless calmative.
As a further aid to the digestive system, Caraway relieves constipation, expels flatulence and eases the "griping" (pain and grumbling) in the bowels and intestines that frequently accompanies gas. Herbalists consider it one of the most important herbs for strengthening the intestines.
Caraway Seed is considered an antispasmodic and helps to relieve uterine and menstrual cramps.
For centuries midwives used Caraway to stimulate breast milk in nursing mothers and for easing colic in infants.
Caraway Seed is thought to have both antiseptic and anesthetic properties. It is said to make an excellent mouthwash, ease laryngitis and even relieve dental pain.
As an effective herbal expectorant, Caraway Seed is said to encourage productive coughs due to colds and relieve bronchitis.
Currently, there are no known warnings or contraindications with the use of Caraway Seed Herbal Supplement.