6 Emerging Benefits and Uses of Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
Carom seeds are the seeds of the ajwain herb, or Trachyspermum ammi. They’re common in Indian cuisine.
Although referred to as “seeds,” carom seeds are the fruit of the ajwain herb.
They’re slightly green to brown in color and have a pungent, bitter taste. They look similar to cumin seeds, but their taste and aroma are closer to that of thyme.
They’re often sold as whole seeds but can also be ground into a powder and used as a cooking spice.
Carom seeds are incredibly nutritious, being rich in fiber, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals. Because of this, they have been associated with health benefits and long been used in traditional Indian medicine practices.
Here are the top 6 health benefits and uses of carom seeds.
Carom seeds have powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties.
This is likely attributed to two of its active compounds, thymol and carvacrol, which have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).
Test-tube studies indicate that these compounds may combat potentially harmful bacteria like Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella — culprits of food poisoning and other health conditions (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
One test-tube study observed that carom seeds were more effective against multidrug-resistant strains of bacteria and fungi including Candida albicans, Candida krusei, and Streptococcus mutans compared to other solvents (5Trusted Source).
However, further research is needed to examine how the seeds may affect the growth of bacteria and fungi in humans.
Test-tube studies show that carom seeds and its compounds may inhibit the growth of certain strains of bacteria and fungi, including E. coli, Salmonella, and Candida albicans.
Animal research indicates that carom seeds may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High cholesterol and triglyceride levels are risk factors for heart disease.
In one rabbit study, carom seed powder reduced total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels (6).
Similarly, a study in rats found that carom seed extract was effective in lowering total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while also increasing levels of heart-protective HDL (good) cholesterol (7Trusted Source).
Still, in both studies, carom seed powder only proved effective at treating high cholesterol levels when used in high doses that you won’t get from eating the seeds through a normal diet.
More studies are needed to evaluate how the seeds may affect cholesterol levels in humans.