Flavorful yet strongly pungent, ajwain seeds are one of the popular spices commonly featuring in Indian and Middle-Eastern cuisine. Botanically, they are the spicy seeds belonging to the family of Apiaceae (Umbelliferae), in the genus; Trachyspermum. Scientific name: Trachyspermum copticum.The Umbellifers are small flowering shrubs (same as the members of carrot or parsley family) which also include wide category of herbs and spice plants such as parsley, dill, fennel, aniseed, and caraway. Some of the common names for ajwain seeds are ajowan seeds, carom seeds, etc.
HOW TO GROW
The seeds are sown directly in the field or pot
- The crop can be grown on wide variety of soil from heavy clay to elite
loams. Ajwain is very sensitive to water logging and need good drainage. Ajwain is tolerant to drought. The best time for sowing of this crop is early august month.
- The seeds take 8 to 10 days to geminate.
- Thinning should be carried out when the plant gets a height of 20 to 25 cm.
- Remember over watering can kill this and the soil has to be well drained as the stem become limp with excess water and drop. Also take care while transferring this ajwain plant. Take care till the roots are in place firmly otherwise the plant will be above the soil and loose soil will not encourage growth. This requires less water and it needs firm rooting, and once it is rooted there is no looking back for this ajwain plant!
- Ajwain seeds contain health benefiting essential oils such as thymol, a monopterone derivative class of chemical compound which gives aromatic fragrances to seeds.
- In addition, they also compose of small amounts of other phyto-chemicals such as pinene, cymene, limonene and terpinene.
- The active principles in the ajwain may help increase the digestive function of the intestinal tract through facilitating release of gut juices (gastro-intestinal secretions).
- Thymol, the essential oil obtained from ajwain has local anaesthetic, anti-bacterial and antifungal properties.
- Likewise in caraway, ajowan seeds are rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.