- Trachyspermum ammi
For other uses, see Bishop's weed (disambiguation).
Trachyspermum ammi Flowers of Trachyspermum ammi Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Asterids Order: Apiales Family: Apiaceae Genus: Trachyspermum Species: T. ammi Binomial name Trachyspermum ammi
Trachyspermum ammi, commonly known as ajowan, bishop's weed, ajwain, ajowan caraway, carom seeds, or thymol seeds, is a plant of India and the Near East whose seeds are used as a spice.
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.
Ajwain is often confused with lovage seed; even some dictionaries mistakenly state ajwain comes from the lovage plant.
Flavour and aroma
Raw ajwain smells 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 amount of raw ajwain will completely dominate the flavor of a dish.
In Indian cuisine, ajwain is almost never used raw, but either dry-roasted or fried in ghee or oil. This develops a much more subtle and complex aroma, somewhat similar to caraway but "brighter". Among other things, it is used for making a type of parantha, called ajwain ka parantha.
Ajwain originated in the Middle East, possibly in Egypt and the Indian subcontinent, but also in Iran and Afghanistan. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in berbere, a spice mixture favored in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
In India, the major ajwain producing states are Rajasthan and Gujarat, where Rajasthan produces about 90% of India's total production.
It is also traditionally known as a digestive aid, a relief for abdominal discomfort due to indigestion and an antiseptic. In southern parts of India, dry ajwain seeds are powdered and soaked in milk, which is then filtered and fed to babies. Many assume it relieves colic in babies, and for children it also improves digestion and appetite. Ajwain can be used as digestive mixture in large animals. In India, it is often added to heavy fried dishes to aid digestion.
A study conducted using the essential oil suggests that it has some use in the treatment of intestinal dysbiosis. Its benefit comes from being able to inhibit the growth of undesired pathogens while not adversely affecting the beneficial flora. 
- ^ a b c USDA GRIN entry
- ^  ITIS entry for Trachyspermum ammi
- ^ Davidson, Alan, and Tom Jaine. The Oxford companion to food. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. 805. Print. Retrieved Aug. 08, 2010, from ouCbL2AC&lpg=PA805&dq=baumkuchen&pg=PA9#v=onepage&q&f=false
- ^ Hawrelak JA, Cattley T, Myers SP. 'Essential oils in the treatment of intestinal dysbiosis: A preliminary in vitro study.' Altern Med Rev. 2009 Dec;14(4):380-4.
- Ajwain from The Encyclopedia of Spices
- Ajwain page from Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages
- Essential oils in the treatment of intestinal dysbiosis: A preliminary in vitro study.
Hill, Tony. (2004) "Ajwain" in The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices: Seasonings for the Global Kitchen. Wiley. p. 21-23. ISBN 978-0471214236.
Ajwain • Alepidea peduncularis • Alexanders • Anise • Anthriscus sylvestris • Apium prostratum • Arracacha • Asafoetida • Bunium persicum • Caraway • Carrot • Celeriac • Celery • Centella asiatica • Chaerophyllum bulbosum • Chervil • Cicely • Coriander • Crithmum • Cryptotaenia • Cumin • Daucus pusillus • Dill • Echinophora sibthorpiana • Erigenia bulbosa • Eryngium foetidum • Fennel • Garden Angelica • Ground-elder • Heracleum persicum • Lomatium • Lomatium parryi • Lovage • Masterwort • Oenanthe javanica • Osmorhiza • Parsley • Parsnip • Perideridia • Radhuni • Ridolfia segetum • Sium sisarumCategories:
- Edible Apiaceae
- Medicinal plants
- Plants used in Traditional Chinese medicine
- Ayurvedic medicaments
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