Ajwain

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Ajwain
Carom Flowers.jpg
Flowers of Trachyspermum ammi
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Trachyspermum
Species: T. ammi
Binomial name
Trachyspermum ammi
Sprague
Synonyms[1][2]
  • Ammi copticum L.
  • Carum copticum (L.) Link
  • Trachyspermum copticum Link

Ajwain, ajowan[3] (/ˈæəwɒn/), or Trachyspermum ammi—also known as Ajowan caraway, Oomam (ஓமம்) in Tamil,[4] bishop's weed,[5] or carom—is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae). It originated in India. Both the leaves and the seed-like 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 plants. The "seed" (i.e., the fruit) is often confused with lovage "seed".[6]

Description[edit]

Ajwain fruit (schizocarps)

Ajwain's small, oval-shaped, seed-like fruits are pale brown schizocarps, which resemble the seeds of other plants in the Apiaceae family such as caraway, cumin and fennel. They have a bitter and pungent taste, with a flavor similar to anise and oregano. They smell almost exactly like thyme because they contain thymol, but they are more aromatic and less subtle in taste, as well as being somewhat bitter and pungent. Even a small number of fruits tends to dominate the flavor of a dish.[6]

Cultivation and production[edit]

The plant is mainly cultivated in Iran and India.[6] Rajasthan produced about 55% of India's total output in 2006.[7]

Culinary uses[edit]

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.[8]

Uses in traditional medicine[edit]

Ajwain is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine primarily for stomach disorders such as indigestion, flatulence[6], diarrhea and colic.[9] In Tamil it is called oomam (ஓமம்) and in Telugu it is known as vaamu (వాము); in Siddha medicine, it is used as a cleanser, detox, and antacid.[citation needed] In general, the crushed fruits are applied externally as a poultice.[10]

Essential oil[edit]

Hydrodistillation of ajwain fruits yields an essential oil consisting primarily of thymol, gamma-terpinene and p-cymene as well as more than 20 trace compounds (predominately terpenoids).[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Trachyspermum ammi". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  2. ^ ITIS entry for Trachyspermum ammi
  3. ^ definition of ajowan in Oxford dictionary (British & World English)
  4. ^ "Trachyspermum ammi". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  5. ^ "Bishop's Weed". SPICES BOARD INDIA. Archived from the original on 14 October 1999. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d 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. 
  7. ^ Rajasthan Gov, Commissionerate of Agriculture.
  8. ^ Alan Davidson (2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7. 
  9. ^ 1929-, Duke, James A., (2002). Handbook of medicinal herbs. Duke, James A., 1929- (2nd ed ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 0849312841. OCLC 48876592. 
  10. ^ Bairwa, Ranjan; Rajawat, BS; Sodha, RS (2012). "Trachyspermum ammi". Pharmacognosy Reviews. 6 (11): 56. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.95871. 
  11. ^ 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. doi:10.1021/jf035211c. PMID 15161185. 

External links[edit]

  • Ajwain from The Encyclopedia of Spices