Ajowan,ajwain,carom seeds, health benefits, supplements and research
January 1, 2012
Ajowan Health Benefits

the chemopreventive effect of different doses (2%, 4%, and 6%) of test diets of Ajowan seeds were examined on
DMBA-induced skin and B(a)P-induced forestomach papillomagenesis. Results exhibited a significant reduction in the
skin as well as the forestomach tumor multiplicity with respect to all doses of test diet as compared to the control group.
Ajowan seed extracts may have benefit on people at risk of certain cancers, but more studies are needed to confirm the
findings. [A4]

Dental Caries
An active compound of Ajowan was found effective against adherent cells of Streptococcus mutans, a major causal
organism of dental caries, reduced water-insoluble glucan synthesis and inhibited the reduction in pH. [A2]

Ajowan oil may benefit people at risk of diarrhea. Interviews with 208 mothers of children aged under 5 years were
conducted in 21 villages of Jaipur District in Rajasthan State, India, researchers found that the major herbal medicines
used to cure diarrhea were isabgol ke bhusi mixed with curd (31.3%) and extracts of tea leaves,
ajwain, sonth, peepla
mul, black pepper, and tulsi leaves (14.4%). [2]

Ajowan oil extracts showed benefits of antifungal activities in an in vitro study. Ajowan oil exhibited a broad spectrum of
fungitoxic behavior against all tested fungi such as Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus oryzae, Aspergillus
ochraceus, Fusarium monoliforme, Fusarium graminearum, Pencillium citrium, Penicillium viridicatum, Pencillium madriti,
and Curvularia lunata. [3]

Ajowan showed benefits of liver protection in an animal study. Six groups of rats were maintained for 12 weeks as (1)
Control; (2) hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH; 300 mg/kg body weight) injected (3) 1% ajwain extract incorporated diet
(4)1% ajwain extract incorporated diet+HCH (5) 2% ajwain extract incorporated diet and (6) 2% ajwain extract
incorporated diet+HCH. Results revealed that HCH administration lead to an increase in hepatic lipid peroxidation
associated with reduction in, levels of glutathione (GSH), activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase and
glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. Prefeeding of ajwain extract resulted in decreased hepatic levels of lipid
peroxides and increased GSH, GSH-peroxidase, G-6-PDH, SOD, catalase and glutathione S-transferase (GST)
activities. [4]

Microbes, Multidrug Resistant
Ajowan may benefit patients suffered from infections caused by multidrug resistant microbes. A petroleum ether fraction
of T. ammi (least MIC- 625 microg/ml) showed efficacy against multidrug resistant microbes. However, more studies are
needed to develop it as an anti-microbial agent. [A3]

Sperm treated with Ajowan essential oil showed a significant decrease in viability. Moreover, the treated sperm also
showed a significant loss of functional mitochondria and antioxidant enzyme, catalase, when compared to control. The
cholesterol:phospholipid ratio was also increased in treated sperm when compared to control, which is an indicator of
loss of binding ability of human spermatozoa to the zona pellucida. The scanning electron microscopic studies
demonstrated the loss of membrane integrity in essential oil-treated human spermatozoa, which showed vacuolation,
swelling of acrosomal cap, detachment of head portion and tail coiling. Thus, Ajowan essential oil may be used as male
contraceptive, but more studies are needed to determine how to apply it as a contraceptive. [A1]

Recently, an anticalcifying protein from the seeds of Ajowan Sprague ex Turril (Umbelliferae) deciphered its inhibitory
activity against calcium oxalate crystal growth. The antilithiatic activity of the Ajowan anticalcifying protein was also
shown in an urolithiatic rat model. A5


Ajowan Safety Issues and Side Effects
Though roasted ajowan have been used in Indian cuisine for many year, research studies on ajowan are limited, its
side effects and toxicity are unclear.

Other Potential Uses of Ajowan
Strong insecticidal activity was observed with the essential oils of Ajowan. A6

1. Singh G et al J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jun 2;52(11):3292-6. [2] Indian Pediatr. 1994 Mar;31(3):340-3] [3] J Agric
Food Chem. 2004 Jun 2;52(11):3292-6.] [4] Anilakumar KR et al, Food Chem Toxicol. 2009 Feb;47(2):279-82] A1 Paul
S, Kang SC. Studies on the viability and membrane integrity of human spermatozoa treated with essential oil of
Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague ex Turrill fruit. Andrologia. 2011 Jun 15. A2 Khan R, et al, Novel compound from
Trachyspermum ammi (Ajowan caraway) seeds with antibiofilm and antiadherence activities against Streptococcus
mutans: a potential chemotherapeutic agent against dental caries. J Appl Microbiol. 2010 Dec;109(6):2151-9. A3 Khan
R. et al, Activity of solvent extracts of Prosopis spicigera, Zingiber officinale and Trachyspermum ammi against
multidrug resistant bacterial and fungal strains. J Infect Dev Ctries. 2010 Jun 3;4(5):292-300. A4 Singh B et al,
Chemomodulatory effect of Trachyspermum ammi on murine skin and forestomach papillomagenesis. Nutr Cancer.
2010;62(1):74-84. A5 Kaur T et al, In vivo efficacy of Trachyspermum ammi anticalcifying protein in urolithiatic rat
model. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Dec 10;126(3):459-62..A6 Seo SM et al, Fumigant antitermitic activity of plant essential
oils and components from Ajowan ( Trachyspermum ammi ), Allspice ( Pimenta dioica ), caraway ( Carum carvi ), dill (
Anethum graveolens ), Geranium ( Pelargonium graveolens ), and Litsea ( Litsea cubeba ) oils against Japanese
termite ( Reticulitermes speratus Kolbe). J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Aug 12;57(15):6596-602.
Ajowan is the small seed-like fruit similar to that of the bishop's weed (Ammi majus) plant. Because of their seed-like appearance, the fruit pods are
sometimes called ajwain seeds. Raw ajwain smells like thyme, it also tastes like thyme (or caraway); probably because of its high content of thymol.
Because a small amount of raw ajwain will completely dominate the flavor of a dish, in Indian cuisine, dry-roasted or fried ajwain is used.  [Wikipeida,
2011] An acetone extract of ajowan contains thymol (39.1%), oleic acid (10.4%), linoleic acid (9.6%), gamma-terpinene (2.6%), p-cymene (1.6%),
palmitic acid (1.6%), and xylene (0.1%). [1]

Related Names: Ajowan, ajwain, carom seeds, Trachyspermum ammi
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