|Flowers of Trachyspermum ammi|
Ajwain, ajowan (//) Trachyspermum ammi, also known as Ajowan caraway, Oomam (ஓமம்) in Tamil  bishop's weed or carom, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It originated in India. Both the leaves and the fruit (often mistakenly called seeds) of the plant are consumed by humans. The plant is also called bishop's weed, but this is a common name it shares with some other different plants. The "seed" (i.e., the fruit) is often confused with lovage "seed".
The small fruits are pale brown schizocarps and have an oval shape, resembling caraway and cumin. It has a bitter and pungent taste, with a flavor similar to anise and oregano. They smell almost exactly like thyme because it also contains thymol, but is more aromatic and less subtle in taste, as well as slightly bitter and pungent. Even a small number of fruits tends to dominate the flavor of a dish.
Cultivation and production
The fruits are rarely eaten raw; they are commonly dry-roasted or fried in ghee (clarified butter). This allows the spice to develop a more subtle and complex aroma. In Indian cuisine, it is often part of a chaunk, a mixture of spices fried in oil or butter, which is used to flavor lentil dishes. In Afghanistan, the fruits are sprinkled over bread and biscuits.
Ajwain is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine primarily for stomach disorders such as indigestion and flatulence. In Tamil it is called Oomam (ஓமம்) and used in Siddha medicine as a cleanser, detox, and antacid. In general, the crushed fruits are applied externally as a poultice.
- USDA GRIN entry
- ITIS entry for Trachyspermum ammi
- definition of ajowan in Oxford dictionary (British & World English)
- "Trachyspermum ammi". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- "Bishop's Weed". SPICES BOARD INDIA. Archived from the original on 14 October 1999. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- Aliza Green (January 2006). Field Guide to Herbs & Spices: How to Identify, Select, and Use Virtually Every Seasoning at the Market. Quirk Books. pp. 116–117. ISBN 978-1-59474-082-4.
- Rajasthan Gov, Commissionerate of Agriculture.
- Alan Davidson (2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
- Bairwa, Ranjan; Rajawat, BS; Sodha, RS (2012). "Trachyspermum ammi". Pharmacognosy Reviews. 6 (11): 56. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.95871.
- Singh, Gurdip; Maurya, Sumitra; Catalan, C.; de Lampasona, M. P. (June 2004). "Chemical Constituents, Antifungal and Antioxidative Effects of Ajwain Essential Oil and Its Acetone Extract". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 52 (11): 3292–3296. PMID 15161185. doi:10.1021/jf035211c.
- Ajwain from The Encyclopedia of Spices
- Ajwain page from Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages
- Hawrelak, JA; Cattley, T; Myers, SP (2009). "Essential oils in the treatment of intestinal dysbiosis: A preliminary in vitro study". Alternative Medicine Review. 14 (4): 380–4. PMID 20030464.