Caraway belongs in the Apiaceae family and is related to anise, fennel, and dill. It is a biennial plant that is believed by some to date back to the Stone Age. Caraway is the seed (actually the fruit of the plant) that flavors rye bread and many other foods, including cabbage, pickles, soups, casseroles, curry, and cheeses. It is also used in liquors.
Caraway seeds have been used medicinally since ancient times. They contain healthy essential oils (mostly limonene and carvone), protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, calcium, potassium, iron, and many antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Caraway Seeds
Caraway seeds are used to treat colic, excessive flatulence, indigestion, cramps, and loss of appetite. They are a beneficial addition to laxative herbs since it can calm violent effects. It also appears to help people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), especially when combined with fennel or peppermint.
Carvone, one of the essential oils in caraway seeds, acts as an anthelmintic and is particularly helpful in expelling hookworms.
Other possible health benefits of caraway seeds include:
- decreasing a fever
- relieving a sore throat
- treating bronchitis and coughs
- increasing milk production in breastfeeding moms
- easing gallbladder spasms
- relieving menstrual cramps
- freshening bad breath
Side Effects of Caraway Seeds
There are no known side effects if taken correctly. However, if large doses are consumed over a long period of time, the volatile oils in caraway seeds may cause liver or kidney damage.
Preparing Caraway Tea
Pour one cup of boiling water over one teaspoon of crushed caraway seeds, cover, steep for 10-15 minutes, and strain. Drink up to three cups of tea a day as needed.
Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.