To treat and prevent the diseases use of seed spices have a long history. It is confirmed by many studies that seed spices can be useful medicines, but how to provide scientific evidence and plausible mechanisms for their therapeutic responses is still a major challenge. Therapeutic potential of seed spices to treat multiple symptoms of the metabolic syndrome such as diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension and altered lipid profile.
Oxidative stress and inflammation have been proposed as initiators of the metabolic syndrome, which prevalent and has become an important financial burden to the healthcare mechanisms in both developing and developed countries.
Natural constituents with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties are present in seed spices. Proper doses of these compounds may be effective in curing the metabolic syndrome. Spices have been known for ages as effective therapeutic food. The power of spices to impart biological activity is now slowly reemerging as an area of interest for human health. Dietary choice remains the basis for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and well-being, despite remarkable advances in medicine and pharmaceutical drug development.
Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague is a Greek work Trachy= rough and spermum= seeded, whereas ammi is name of plant in Latin. Syn. Carum copticum, commonly known as Ajwain and Bishop’s weed (English name) belonging to family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae. The plant has a similarity to parsley. Because of their seed-like appearance, the fruit pods are sometimes called seeds; they are egg-shaped and grayish in colour.
It is an erect, aromatic, glabrous or minutely pubescent, branched annual with striate stem, white flowers, up to 90 cm height and the plant is native of Egypt and is cultivated in India, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. In India it is cultivated in Utter Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. The flower and the fruit are bearing on the plants in the month from January to April. Its fruits or seeds contain 2% to 4% brown color essential oil known as ajwain oil, with thymol as the main constituent (35% to 60%) which is a strong germicide, antispasmodic, antifungal, antimicrobial and also used in perfumery and toothpaste industry.
The entire Ajwain plant is very beneficial for health and medicinal aspects. Ajwain seeds, fruits, leaves, and oil are used for medicinal purposes.
Instant Remedy for Stomachache
It has alcoholic qualities in a very mild form; therefore, it may be used as instant stomach pain. Ajwain+small quantity of salt, when sip with warm water is quite beneficial for indigestion and stomach pain. The person suffering from indigestion and anorexia, 1 tsp of Ajwain seed may be taken along with food.
Ajwain for Asthma
Inhalation of the smoke of Ajwain acts as bronchodialator and makes the breathing pattern easier. The person suffering from Asthma may take the paste of Ajwain + Jaggery, 1 tsp, twice a day. This mixture is helpful in asthma treatment.
For chronic and recurrent cold, it is recommended to take fried seeds of ajwain in the dose of 2 g for 15–20 days. Inhaling of its grind seed is also beneficial in case of headache, migraine, and cold and cough. Chewing Ajwain seeds with lukewarm water is also a good cure for Cough. Ajwain helps in clearing nasal blockage by discharging the mucus easily. Ajwain powder taken in a clean cloth if inhaled frequently cures a migraine headache.
Analgesic and Antinociceptive Effects
In order to evaluate the analgesic and antinociceptive activity of Ajwain, an In vivo investigation was carried out using a Tail-flick Analgesiometer Device. The study revealed that the ethanolic extract significantly increase in Tail-Flick Latency (TFL) within 2 hours post-drug administration. An experimental trial study has also been carried out to compare the antinociceptive effect of the hydroalcoholic extract of Ajwain with morphine sulphate using formalin test. Findings revealed that Ajwain extract exhibited antinociceptive effect on both early and late phases. Similar study has been done on the Ajwain total essential oil which was significantly effective on the late phase of formalin test and it may be due to the presence of thymol in essential oil.
In addition, under a randomized controlled placebo control clinical trial, the herb essential oil was assayed for the analgesic effect in neuropathic feet burn. Results revealed that Ajwain essential oil significantly reduced the feet burn compared to placebo.
Gastro protective activity
Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi) seed menifest anti-ulcer activity. Animals pre-treated with ethanolic extract exhibit remarkable decrease in ulcer protection per cent and ulcer index in all models. The findings inferred that the extract showed significant protection by reducing ulcerative lesions when compared with control group of animals.
The results revealed that hepatoprotective actions in vivo of ajwain was 80% protective in mice against a normally-lethal dose of paracetamol (1 g kg–1), it prevented the CCl4¯ induced prolongation of pentobarbital sleeping time in mice and it tended to normalize the high serum levels of liver enzymes caused by CCl4¯ induced liver damage in rats.
The ajwain fruits have observed anti-inflammatory potentials against rat models (Carageenan induced rat paw oedema) and subacute rat model (Cotton pellet induced granulluma) they used aspirin 150mg/Kg and Phenyl butazone 150mg/Kg as control. In the acute model, Aspirin and Phenyl Butazone (PBZ) showed an inhibition of 45.23% and 43.83% respectively.
Detoxification of aflatoxins
The seeds extract of trachyspermum ammi reflect the maximum degradation of aflatoxin G1 (AFG1). The aflatoxin detoxifying activity was reduced on boiling the fruits or seeds. It is also observed that significant level of degradation of other aflatoxin viz., AFB1, AFB2 by dialyzed seeds extract. Time course study of AFG1 detoxification by dialyzed T. ammi extract showed that more than 91% degradationoccurred at 24 hours and 78% degradation occurred within 6hours after incubation.
Lessen Greying of Hairs
Ajwain helps in lessening premature graying of hairs. Cook curry leaves + dry grapes + ajwain in a cup of water and drinks the mixture every day to prevent pre maturation of hairs.
Relief from Arthritis Pain
Ajwain has antibiotic properties, thus helping in reducing redness and combat inflammation. They also have anesthetic properties that give relief from pain and swelling. Apply the paste of crushed ajwain seeds to joints or soak in a tub of warm water with the hand full of ajwain seeds in it to get relief.
Dissolves Kidney Stone
Ajwain when mixed with honey and vinegar and used for 10 days, dissolves kidney stones that ultimately remove with urine. Ajwain water treats intestinal pains caused due to indigestion and also gets rid of liver and kidney malfunctions.
Helps in Treating Irregular Mensus and Menstrual Cramps
Drinking Oma water helps in curing problems of indigestion for pregnant women by cleaning the uterus and also solves the issues of irregular periods. Oma water is prepared by boiling 2 spoons of roasted Ajwain in water. Carom seeds work as a nerve tonic and are used to relax nerves during menses, decreasing menstrual cramps. You can also apply carom seed oil on the lower abdomen to get relief.
Antibacterial and Antifungal Activities
To assay the antibacterial efficacy of Ajwain, acetone and aqueous extracts were tested against Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Pseu-domonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella typhi-murium, Shigella flexneri, and Staphylococcus aureus using agar diffusion assay. The study showed that acetone extract shows more activity compared to the aqueous extract.
In another study, ethanolic extract of Ajwain possessed antibacterial activity against eight strains of Helicobacter pylori. Also methanolic extract of Ajwain exhibited bactericidal activity against 11 species at 2mg/well in agar well-diffusion method. It was measured by Diameter of Inhibition Zones (DIZ). DIZ was over 15mm against Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis; 10–14 mm against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Bacillus pumilus; 7–9 mm against Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia as well as Bordetella bronchiseptica. On the other hand, no activity was reported against Pseudomonas fluorescens and Micrococcus luteus. As Ajwain may have large amounts of Thymol or Carvacrol in its total essential oil, mentioned phenolic compounds are reported to be either bactericidal or bacteriostatic agents depending on the concentration.
In order to assess the antifungal activity of Ajwain, total essential oil extracted from seeds was subjected for fungicidal effect and showed proper effect on Aspergillus niger and Curvularia ovoidea at 5000 ppm as minimum inhibitory concentration
The seeds of ajwain exhibited antioxidant activity by using ABTS and DPPH assay methods, ferric reducing antioxidant power and total phenolic content. The ethanolic extract of T. ammi shows activity against hexachloro cyclohexane (HCH) induced lipid peroxidation.
Antihypertensive and broncho-dilating property
The antihypertensive effect of Trachyspermum ammi administered intravenously in vivo and the antispasmodic and broncho-dilating actions. In vitro showed that calcium channel blockade has been found to mediate the spasmolytic effects of plant materials and it is being considered that this mechanism contributed to their observed result and supported the traditional use of Trachyspermum ammi in hyperactive disease states of the gut such as colic and diarrhea as well as in hypertension
In albino rats antihyperlipidemic effect of ajwain seed has been obtained. It was assessed that powder made by ajwain seed at a dose rate of 2 g kg–1 body weight and its equivalent methanol extract were extensively effective in lipid lowering action by decreased LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides and total lipids
Abortifacient and galactogogic action
There is a high risk of potential human foetus toxicity of ajwain, based on teratogenicity find in rat fetuses. It has been traditionally used as a galactogogue in humans. The total phytoestrogen content of dry ajwain seed or fruits was 473ppm, which was the second highest in the list of eight herbs tested.
Ajwain or Bishop’s weed or carom seeds are the best things to have ever happened to humankind, especially to those of us who suffer from digestive problems on a regular basis. They have a slew of benefits apart from just curing an upset stomach. It is very useful for many health and medicinal purposes. Ajwain water is an effective ayurvedic marvel against many diseases and disorders. Ajwain water is given to small babies having colic and gas related problems. It is one of the best home remedies.