Carum carvi


Caraway is a biennial plant, 30-80 cm tall, with its characteristic smell. The root is thick, fleshy, branched and white in color. The leaves are arranged alternately, elongated, divided into two or three parts. The flowers are small, white or pinkish, collected in an inflorescence - a complex shield 4-8 cm in diameter.

The fruit, an elongated, slightly flattened seed, 3-5 mm in length, bursts into two parts when ripe, emitting a strong aroma. The plant blooms in May-June, the seeds ripen in July-August.

Caraway seeds (Fructus Carvi) are used for medicinal purposes. Collect the seeds early in the morning or in the evening, when at least half of the inflorescence is ripe (its color changes). The stems are cut and hay is bundled. Dry the equipment by spreading a cloth underneath, on which the seeds will fall as they mature. Seeds can be stored for up to 3 years in closed containers.

Caraway seeds contain up to 8.2% essential oil, the main components of which are d-carvone, d-limonene, carvacrol, dihydrocarvone, dihydrocarveol. In addition, the seeds are vegetable fats (<20%), which contain various fatty acids (butyric acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid), phytosterols (sitosterol), triterpenoids, flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol), tannins and proteins, phenolic carbonate acids, coumarins , waxes, resins and mineral salts (selenium accumulates).

Medicinal significance

Preparations made from Caraway have antiseptic, analgesic, choleretic, sedative properties, they stimulate the secretion of digestive glands, help expel phlegm from the bronchi, have an antispasmodic effect, and also relax the smooth muscles of the internal organs. Caraway also increases the amount of milk during lactation and promotes urine output in case of edema.

Caraway water, Caraway oil and Caraway essential oil are used in official medicine.

Caraway is included in soothing, laxative, digestive, carminative mixtures.

Caraway essential oil is used for aromatizing medicinal products.

Thanks to the many valuable properties of Caraway , it is widely used in folk medicine. It is used orally in infusions, decoctions and teas to treat chronic gastritis, intestinal inflammation, dyspepsia in children, atonic constipation, flatulence, spastic pain in the stomach and intestines, cholecystitis, pancreatitis, as an expectorant in bronchitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia and bronchial asthma.

Caraway oil extract is used for colds and to kill skin parasites.

Not recommended for use

The harmfulness of Caraway is related to the essential oils present in the plant, which can cause an allergic reaction.

Preparations containing Caraway are categorically prohibited for people suffering from diseases associated with an increased content of gastric juice, as well as various types of inflammation in the digestive tract. It is not recommended to use the plant during pregnancy. When Caraway is used together with acidic products, the acidity of the gastric juice is strongly increased, which can cause unpleasant sensations in the digestive tract.

Importance of food

Caraway probably does not require additional comments, it is clear that seeds are used. It's almost as if if you study Latvian cuisine, where they are not used. The plant has been used in food and as a spice for many centuries and even archaeologists find its seeds in their excavations. The seeds are collected with the whole plant, dried on special racks and then the seeds are ground. Store in a closed container so as not to lose essential substances.

However, Caraway roots can also be used and even more, they can be preserved for the winter with vinegar and honey. Roots are suitable only from the biennial form of the plant and before it has started to flower. The roots are dug at the end of the first year, in autumn, or at the beginning of the second year, in spring. Later, the roots already become woody.

Let's remember about the safety measures when we collect Caraway , so as not to collect one of the poisonous cherzezis instead.