Have you ever mistaken those slender, long brownish-coloured grains for cumin seeds?
If you have, then you are not the only one. Many of us often mistake Caraway seeds for cumin seeds because of their striking similarity regarding appearance.
Caraway seeds go by the scientific name of Carum Carvi and belong to the biennial plant in the family of Apiaceae. These plants are native to Asia but are sometimes found in Europe and Africa.
Caraway fruits (sometimes also referred to as ‘seeds’) are known to have pungent flavor and aroma. Their smell and taste are very similar to that of Anise seeds. They are often used in many food preparations not only for their flavoring but also for their inherent medical benefits.
In its plant form, it resembles the carrot plant. The plants grow up to about two feet in height. The leaves are a usual green and are velvety in texture. The leaves are also divided into various segments, by white, thread-like structures. The usual season in which the flowers bloom is summer. The flowers are usually white or pink in colour.
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1. Anti-fungal and anti-yeast properties
The seeds are often known to possess anti-fungal properties.
This means caraway seeds can be stored for longer periods of time without fearing them getting spoilt by exposure to air.
Not only this, caraway seeds have proven to be anti-yeast in nature. They can thus be used in foods that require anti-yeast properties. They can be used for long-term storage.
2. Remedy for Colic
Colic is a non-definable illness that often afflicts neonates and infants. A common use of seeds is to remedy a colic condition.
Colic is characterized by crying for no reason, irritability, inability to latch on to the mother’s breast and derive nutrition.
Colic can be treated by adding a few grains of caraway seeds into boiling milk, mixing it with honey.
3. Cures loss of appetite
Loss of appetite is a common problem we face in the modern-world because of our inability to consume nutritious food.
Not only that, we also are addicted to habits like smoking which reduce our appetite by half. A special kind of tea made by adding caraway seeds is a cure for bad appetite. If consumed over time, you will notice the improvement in your appetite gradually.
4. Cures digestive disorders
The medicinal properties that caraway seeds are blessed with are plenty in number.
One of their important uses is in curing gastro-intestinal and digestive disorders. It is also used to cure stomach ulcers because of its soothing properties.
5. Relieves menstrual cramps
Women, every month go through the bane of suffering from menstrual cramps that accompany their periods. They are spasms of the uterine walls, contracting in order to shed the inner linings of the uterus.
Women often resort to the use of tablets like Meftal Spas or Cyclopam to relieve themselves from the pain and discomfort. A simple and easy to make remedy is to use caraway seeds. Add a few grains of caraway seeds into boiling water and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
You can then drain out the caraway seeds using a sieve. Consuming this concoction, with a spoon of honey if required is proved to be beneficial in reducing and relieving you from menstrual cramps.
6. Improves digestion
A handful of caraway seeds after a heavy meal is shown to improve the digestive capacities of the stomach. It is also beneficial in terms of reducing the bloated feeling people experience after a heavy meal.
7. Veterinary medicine
Caraway seeds are found in many medicines that are administered to cure various diseases that afflict animals. It is commonly available in many drug stores.
8. Relieves heartburn
You might have often mistaken acidity or heartburn for the symptoms of a heart attack. You experience that severe burning in your chest and throat area experienced with burps or hiccups.
Next time you experience such a heartburn, the easiest thing to do is to take a handful of caraway seeds. Either add it to boiling water and consume this concoction or mix a spoonful of it with a bowl of curd and consume this.
It can also be consumed in combination with peppermint oil to relieve gastrointestinal disorders.
9. Cures Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are painful symptoms of either intestinal infection or some other bodily disturbances. A simple way to relieve yourself from these symptoms is to consume caraway seeds. You will be amazed to see the relief that you will notice.
10. Stimulates appetite
Poor appetite is a common concern for adolescents and young children. Parents definitely have a tough time getting children to eat the right nutrients-laden food because of their bad appetite.
Caraways seed consumed in the right proportion are extremely useful in boosting your appetite.
10. Improves overall health
Overall health is improved by means of consuming caraway as it is known to boost your immune system. The immune system is that mechanism that resists your body and systems from catching infections and diseases.
Caraway Side Effects
As is always the case, anything consumed in excess can be harmful to the body. Some people have reported to feel a certain kind of a high post the over-consumption of caraway seeds. Overconsumption of caraway seeds sometimes leads to causing heartburn and belching.
The seeds of the caraway plant contain oil. This oil is highly volatile in nature. When taken in large quantities or dosages, it can cause immense damage to your internal organs. Studies have shown that the two major organs that get affected because of its overuse are liver and kidney.
Pregnant and lactating women need to be careful before consuming its seeds. Many women have reported to experience miscarriage of their fetus, especially in the initial months of pregnancy. Lactating women may experience reduced amount of milk production in their breasts. Therefore, pregnant and lactating women need to consult their gynaecologists before adding caraway seeds to their diet.
Overconsumption also leads to lowering the blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is advisable for diabetics to check their blood sugar levels before consuming.
Caraway seeds in excess are harmful to the maintenance of the circadian rhythm of the body. It leads to effects like drowsiness, nausea and mental clouding.
How to Use Caraway Seeds in Everyday Cooking?
Caraway seeds are commonly used in the preparation of bread, cheese and soups. It is often prized for its unique flavor. Butter was also flavored with caraway seeds mixed with ginger and salt. In German and Russian countries, it is also used in the making of alcohol. Here are some of the ways we can use the seeds every day.
- When fermenting cabbage to make sauerkraut, add a few seeds of caraways to give it that distinct flavor.
- When making rye bread or recipes derived from rye bread, again make use of caraway seeds. Rye flour itself is a healthy alternative than other flours.
- All bakery foods like bread, muffins and hot buns taste exceedingly better when you add caraway seeds. Just ensure that you mix it when you haven’t poured in any moist ingredients.
- In your morning toast, add a few seeds of caraway roasted in olive oil.
- Salads taste amazingly better when you season it with a dressing of caraway seeds.
- The best way and the easiest way to use caraway seeds is to make tea from it. When you put the water for boiling, add a few seeds to the boiling water.
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