Health benefits of Indian aromatic plant Ajwain (Trachycpermum ammi)

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Abstract
In recent years there is a spurt in the interest regarding survival of Ayurvedic forms of medication. In the global perspective, there is a shift towards the use of medicine of herbal origin, as the dangers and the shortcoming of modern medicine have started getting more apparent, majority of Ayurvedic formulation are prepared from herbs Although herbal remedies are often perceived as being natural and therefore safe, they are not free from adverse effects. Adverse effects of herbal medicine may be due to factors such as adulteration, substitution, contamination, misidentification, lack of standardization, incorrect preparation and dosage and inappropriate labeling and advertisement. Ajwain is a herb also known as Bishops Weed. Ajwain probably originated in Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean area. It is very widely cultivated in black soil particularly along the riverbank in Egypt and many other countries like India, Iran and Afghanistan. Main constituents include an essential oil of Trachycpermum ammi called thymol which constitutes 35-60% of the essential oil (2.5 to 5% in the dried fruits). There is also α-pinene, p-cymene, limonene and γ-terpinene found in the seed. This beneficial herb is used in culinary process as spice as well as a major ingredient of different kind of medicines. Ajwain seeds are small in size but taste hot, penchant and bitter. It acts as good appetizer, laxative and stomachic. It is used as effective remedy in managing ailments like vomiting, mouth diseases, pile, abdominal tumor, abdominal pain etc.
Rashmi Yadav
*
et al. /International Journal Of Pharmacy&Technology
IJPT | Sep-2011 | Vol. 3 | Issue No.3 | 1356-1366 Page 1356
ISSN: 0975-766X
CODEN: IJPTFI
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HEALTH BENEFITS OF INDIAN AROMATIC PLANT AJWAIN
(TRACHYCPERMUM AMMI)
*Rashmi Yadav
1
, Chandan Kumar Pradhan
2
, Deepika Gupta
1
, Rahul Kaoshik
1
.
1. M. pharm student of Rameesh Institute of Vocational and Technical Education, Greater Noida ( U.P), India.
2. Senior lecturer in Rameesh Institute of Vocational and Technical Education, Greater Noida( U.P), India.
Email: rashmiphar@gmail.com
Received on 26-08-2011 Accepted on 30-08-2011
Abstract
In recent years there is a spurt in the interest regarding survival of Ayurvedic forms of medication. In the global
perspective, there is a shift towards the use of medicine of herbal origin, as the dangers and the shortcoming of
modern medicine have started getting more apparent, majority of Ayurvedic formulation are prepared from herbs
Although herbal remedies are often perceived as being natural and therefore safe, they are not free from adverse
effects. Adverse effects of herbal medicine may be due to factors such as adulteration, substitution, contamination,
misidentification, lack of standardization, incorrect preparation and dosage and inappropriate labeling and
advertisement. Ajwain is a herb also known as Bishops Weed. Ajwain probably originated in Egypt and the eastern
Mediterranean area. It is very widely cultivated in black soil particularly along the riverbank in Egypt and many other
countries like India, Iran and Afghanistan. Main constituents include an essential oil of Trachycpermum ammi called
thymol which constitutes 35-60% of the essential oil (2.5 to 5% in the dried fruits). There is also α-pinene, p-cymene,
limonene and γ-terpinene found in the seed.
This beneficial herb is used in culinary process as spice as well as a major ingredient of different kind of medicines.
Ajwain seeds are small in size but taste hot, penchant and bitter. It acts as good appetizer, laxative and stomachic. It is
used as effective remedy in managing ailments like vomiting, mouth diseases, pile, abdominal tumor, abdominal pain
etc.
Rashmi Yadav
*
et al. /International Journal Of Pharmacy&Technology
IJPT | Sep-2011 | Vol. 3 | Issue No.3 | 1356-1366 Page 1357
Keyword: Trachycpermum ammi , Standardization, Appetizer, Laxative, Stomachic.
Introduction
In recent years there is a spurt in the interest regarding survival of Ayurvedic forms of medication. In the global
perspective, there is a shift towards the use of medicine of herbal origin, as the dangers and the shortcoming of
modern medicine have started getting more apparent, majority of Ayurvedic formulation are prepared from herbs
Although herbal remedies are often perceived as being natural and therefore safe, they are not free from adverse
effects. Adverse effects of herbal medicine may be due to factors such as adulteration, substitution, contamination,
unidentification, lack of standardization, incorrect preparation and dosage, and inappropriate labeling and
advertisement. Adulteration with synthetic drugs and toxic heavy metal are major problems with herbal medicine.
Most of the spice has the therapeutic activity Spice like as fenugreek, capsicum, coriander, cumin ajwain etc. Ajwain
is a very old and well known Ayurvedic spice it is the one of the useful spice in our kitchen we can also use it for the
treatment of our disease easily. Trachycpermum ammi are originated in the Middle East, possibly in Egypt. It is now
primarily grown and used in the Indian Subcontinent, but also in Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan. It is sometimes used as
spice mixture favored in Eritrea and Ethiopia used for the such as ulcers, ringworm, itching, stomach worm, bile,
menstrual and post-natal disorders, leucorrhoea, female infertility, pimples, kidney stones and many more, and also
useful as an aphrodisiac, digestive aid. According to hakeem hashmi, the oriental unani researcher, the ajwain seeds
combine the powerful and stimulant qualities of capsicum, bitter property of chirata and anti spasmodic qualities of
asafotida. Ajwain has been used as a carminative medicine from the ancient times.
What is Ajwain
An erect, glabrous or minutely pubescent, branched annual, up to 90 cm. , tall, cultivated almost throughout India.
Stems striate; leaves rather distant, 2-3 innately divided, segments linear, ultimate segments 1.0-2.5 cm. long; flowers
in terminal or seemingly-lateral pedunculate, compounds umbels, white, small; fruits ovote, muricate, aromatic, 2-3
mm. long, grayish brown; mericarp compressed, with distinct ridges and tubercular surface, 1-seeded. Flowers and
fruits during January-April.
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IJPT | Sep-2011 | Vol. 3 | Issue No.3 | 1356-1366 Page 1358
Ajwain (Trachycpermum ammi)
Scientific classification
Kingdom : Plantae
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Subclass : Rosidae
Order : Apiales
Family : Apiaceae
Genus : Trachyspermum
Binomial name
:
Trachycpermum ammi
Morphology
Odor - characteristic spicy
Taste - bitter.
Color - The seeds are small, gray-green.
Surface - Ajwain is a small, erect, annual shrub with soft fine hairs.
Oil morphology
Color - Brownish liquid
Odor - Characteristic odor
Taste - Sharp hot taste
Parts use
The part used of the plant is the seeds or fruit.
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IJPT | Sep-2011 | Vol. 3 | Issue No.3 | 1356-1366 Page 1359
Distribution
Ajwain originated in the Middle East, possibly in Egypt. It is now primarily grown and used in the Indian
Subcontinent, but also in Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan. It is sometimes used as 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.
Chemical constituents
Main constituents include an essential oil called thymol which constitutes 35-60% of The essential oil (2.5 to 5% in
the dried fruits).There is also α-pinene, p-cymene, limonene and γ-terpinene found in the seed.
Ajwain seeds consist of moisture, protein, fat, minerals, fiber, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene,
thiamin, riboflavin and niacin.
Culinary Use
In the kitchen, ajwain seeds are almost exclusively used in Indian cuisine. They are mainly found in pulse dishes such
as dhal, as well as vegetable dishes and pickles. The sharp flavor of ajwain has the ability to cut through rich flavors
and densely spiced foods.
Here are the health benefits of Ajwain
1)
Ajwain is very useful in alleviating spasmodic pains of the stomach and intestines, in adults as well as children.
Any colicky pain due to flatulence (gas), indigestion and infections in the intestines can easily be relieved by
taking one teaspoonful of Ajwain along with 2-3 pinches of common salt in warm water.
2)
In an acute attack of common cold or migraine headache, put Ajwain powder in a thin cloth and smell this
frequently. It gives tremendous symptomatic relief according to some Ayurvedic experts.
3)
Ajwain is a very good digestive. It can be taken with buttermilk to alleviate digestion related problems. It is a
good anti-acidic agent.
4)
If you have chronic bronchitis and asthma, take the mixture of Ajwain and zinger, heat it to make
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5)
A paste and take 2 teaspoonfuls twice a day. However, diabetics should not take this preparation because of the
sugar content. It helps to bring out the mucus easily and alleviates chronic bronchitis and asthma to great extent.
It also helps in chronic cold.
6)
If people who consume excessive alcohol develop discomfort in the stomach, taking Ajwain twice a day, will be
very useful. It will also reduce the craving and desire for alcohol.
7)
Taking one teaspoon of Ajwain with hot water stimulates the heart and relieves heartache.
8)
Ajwain oil can help in relieving ear ache with just one or two drops in the ear.
9)
Ajwain oil can also be used to massage legs and knees to get relief from pain from arthritis. It is beneficial in
treatment of rheumatic and neuralgic pain.
10)
The smoke of burning Ajwain seeds is effective in treating toothache. Gargle with lukewarm water prepared by
boiling of Ajwain and little salt two to three times a day, it cures tooth pain.
11)
Ajwain is very effective in curing cough. Drinking hot water after chewing little Ajwain cures cough. Chewing
betel leaf with Ajwain at night before sleeping controls and cures dry coughing.
12)
A tablespoon of crushed Ajwain tied up in a small cloth bundle can be used for inhalation. It also relieves nasal
congestion while sleeping when placed near the pillow.
13)
A person suffering from influenza should drink the boiled water with 3gms of Ajwain and 3gms of Cinnamon
bark for 3 days, thrice a day. This helps curing influenza to a great extent.
Medicinal uses
An essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the crushed seeds of ajwain. This oil is valued considerably in
medicine on account of the presence of thymol.
Ajwain are used in many disease such as germicide and antiseptic, cough syrups, throat lozenges, asthma.
indigestion and gas relief , such as ulcers, ringworm, itching, stomach worm, bile, menstrual and post-natal
disorders, leucorrhoea, female infertility, pimples, kidney stones, as an aphrodisiac, powerful cleanser, stimulating
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the appetite, in toothache, earache, Carminative, Laxative, in the treatment of Abdominal tumors, Enlargement of
spleen, Piles, Vomiting, Abdominal pains, Anti-platelet activity, Antioxidant activity, Antiviral activity, Insecticidal
activity and Anti-tussive activity. The oil also used as eardrops, use the oil as a massage for neuralgia. According to
Unani system of Medicine, It is useful in treatment of weakness of limbs, paralysis, chest pains, diseases of liver,
spleen, hiccup, vomiting, dyspepsia, kidney troubles, inflammations etc
Ajwain Herbal Remedies
some of the common herbal remedies of ajwain seeds are as follows -
1)
During Pregnancy- In some regions, ajwain seeds are taken during pregnancy. The seeds are taken with gaud as
it is believed that it purifies the blood and reduces lumbago.
2)
Venomous insect bite – In traditional Vedic medicine, paste of ajwain seeds is mentioned as a remedy for
venomous insect bite such as scorpion bite, as it has pain killing properties.
3)
Toothache headacheAjwain fumes are also inhaled to cure toothache, which is caused by decaying tooth. In
an acute attack of common cold or migraine headache, put ajwain powder in a thin cloth and smell this
frequently. It gives tremendous symptomatic relief according to some ayurvedic experts.
4)
Hiccups – To instantly stop hiccups, ajwain seeds are taken with one or two sips water.
5)
Kidney stone – Ajwain seeds are taken regularly with vinegar or honey for a week. This remedy removes kidney
stone with the urinal flow.
6)
Stomach tonic Ajwain seeds soaked in water for a night and its water is taken next morning. This helps in
stomach diseases as it cures digestion and acute dyspepsia.
7)
Acidity – Dry roast one teaspoon of ajwain seeds and cumin seeds. Add to it one cup of water and bring it to boil
and strain it. Add some sugar and take one teaspoon as a remedy for indigestion and acidity.
Toxicity
Spices are important vectors for various microorganism implication possible health problems for consumers as well
as quality and shelf-life problems for foods. Trachycpermum ammi contain only B. erueus 56-B2 and Cl.
Perfringens 72-C1 (Banerjee and Sarkar, 2004). Aflatoxins, the mycotoxins produced mainly by Aspergillus flavus
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and Aspergillus parasiticus, represent a worldwide threat to public health due to their frequent occurrence in food
and feed. But Trachycpermum ammi did not contain these aflatoxins. The undiluted oil is a mucous membrane and
dermal irritant. Due to the high thymol content it should be avoided in pregnancy. The acute oral LD50 of thymol is
reported as 0.98 g/kg in the rat and 0.88 g/kg in the guinea pig.
Conclusion
The part used of the plant is the seeds or fruit. It looks like cumin or caraway seeds. It has a bitter taste like thyme
only stronger. The seeds are small, gray-green in color and quite peppery when raw, but milder when cooked.
Ajwain is a small, erect, annual shrub with soft fine hairs. It has many branches of leafy stems, small feather like
leaves, 4 to 12 rays of flower heads, each bearing 6 to 16 flowers. The fruits are minute, egg shaped and grayish.
According to ayurveda, ajwain is a powerful cleanser. It is helpful for stimulating the appetite and enhancing
digestion. It is recommended to help alleviate gas and discomfort in the stomach. It is also helpful for the
functioning of the respiratory system and the kidneys. Ajwain is also useful in toothache, earache and rheumatism,
as we can use the oil as eardrops and use the oil as a massage for neuralgia. In an acute attack of common cold or
migraine headache, put ajwain powder in a thin cloth and smell this frequently. It gives tremendous symptomatic
relief according to some ayurvedic experts. Ajwain also the rich source of moisture, protein, fat, minerals, fiber,
carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin also. It is the most known spice in
our kitchen so we can easily take it in our daily diet and cure or prevent many more diseases of life.
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Corresponding Author:
Rashmi Yadav*,
Email: rashmiphar@gmail.com
  • ... The dry seeds are used as the spice, and are aromatic, sharp, tingling and slightly bitter. (Rashmi et al., 2011). The weed is cultivated in India from ancient times, and also is grown in Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan. ...
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    Spices and herbs have been an integral part of Indian recipes since ages. They not only enhance the taste and flavor of Indian food, but have been also known remarkably for home remedies. Cure of many diseases and infections have been practiced in the most natural way by the instant herbal medicines made out of the spices and herbs available in domestic kitchens of our Indian homes. Their therapeutic roles are attributed to the rich nutritive and antioxidant values of many of the spices and herbs. This owes to the presence of specific plant chemicals, often called "Phytochemicals". The present work is focused on the brief review about the medicinal virtues and their phytochemical contents of the important Indian spices, viz., Clove, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Turmeric and Seeds of Bishops weeds.
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    Extracts of leaves and seeds of 15 angiospermic taxa were tested in vitro against the mycelial growth of Macrophomina phaseolina (Tassi) Goid. Amongst them the essential oil of seeds of Trachyspermum ammi L. (Sprauge) exhibited absolute toxicity against the test fungus. The minimum inhibitory concentration of Trachyspermum ammi seed oil was 200 ppm, which exhibited a fungistatic nature, but not phytotoxic properties, when tested at 100, 200 and 300 ppm on seed germination of the French bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). The oil exhibited a broad fungitoxic spectrum, inhibiting the mycelial growth of a number of fungi at 100, 200 and 300 ppm. The oil was thermostable and more efficacious than some synthetic fungicides, viz., Benlate, Ceresan, copper oxychloride, Dithan M-45 and Thiovit. Thymol was also isolated as a fungitoxic factor and it exhibited toxicity against the test fungus at 300 ppm. Copyright © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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    In an animal experiment, the influence of several spices included in the diet, on food transit time was examined. Groups of adult female Wistar rats were maintained for 6 weeks on diets containing (g%): Curcumin (0.5), Capsaicin (0.015), Piperine (0.02), Ginger (0.05), Cumin (1.25), Fenugreek (2.0), Mustard (0.25), Asafoetida (0.25), Ajowan (0.2), Fennel (0.5), Coriander (2.0), Mint (1.0), Garlic (0.5), and Onion (2.0). On the last day, food transit time was monitored by including ferric oxide (0.5%) in the diet as an un-absorbable marker. Time of excretion of colored faeces was noted following time of consumption of the diet with the marker. In general, all the test spices except fenugreek and mustard produced a significant shortening of the food transit time. This influence was more prominent in the case of spices - ginger, ajowan, cumin, piperine coriander and capsaicin.
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    Carum copticum Benth. & Hook is a popular spice and a traditional flavor that is used in Iran. The fruits of C. copticum have several therapeutic effects including carminative, diuretic and anti-vomiting effects. There are some reports on the chemical composition of C. copticum fruits essential oil. In our research the results of GC–MS analyses of the essential oil from C. copticum fruits and differences among various reports were described. Major constitutes of the oil were thymol (54.50%), γ-terpinene (26.10%) and p-cymene (22.10%). Comparison of the result from this study with other reports indicates that C. copticum have thymol and carvacrol chemotypes.