|Flowers of Trachyspermum ammi|
Ajwain, ajowan (//), or Trachyspermum ammi—also known as ajowan caraway, Joyan (জোয়ান) in Bengali, oomam (ஓமம்) in Tamil, ajman, bishop's weed, 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 name "bishop's weed" also is a common name for other plants. The "seed" (i.e., the fruit) is often confused with lovage "seed".
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 also 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.
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.
The leaves of the Indian Borage are also called ajwain leaves and the plant itself is also sometimes called the ajwain plant in Tamil it is called oomam (ஓமம்) and in Telugu it is known as vaamu (వాము); the leaves are used to make popular dishes such as chutneys and pakoras.
However it is not to be confused with the plant that is used for its fruits, whose leaves may or may not be edible.[clarification needed]
Uses in traditional medicine
Ajwain is used in traditional Ayurveda primarily for stomach disorders such as indigestion, bloating, fatigue, abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhea, and colic. along with respiratory distress and loss of appetite. In Siddha medicine, the crushed fruits are applied externally as a poultice.
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- ITIS entry for Trachyspermum ammi
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- "Trachyspermum ammi". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- "Ajman(Ajwain) Seeds 7oz". Deep Foods. Union, NJ: Deep Foods, Inc. 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
Ajman(Ajwain) Seeds 7oz Best Quality Spices UPC Code: 011433073226 Description: Gives Additional Flavour To Recipe. Ingredients: Ajman Seeds
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- Ajwain from The Encyclopedia of Spices