ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Alternative & Natural Medicine»
  • Herbal Remedies

Healing Herbs: Caraway

Updated on April 26, 2012
Source

What is Caraway?

Sometimes referred to as Persian cumin or meridian fennel, caraway is a strongly scented plant that belongs to the Carum genus and the Apiaceae, or carrot, family. Native to Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, this plant can be either annual, biennial, or perennial depending on the climate in which it is grown.

Often mistakenly labeled as seeds, the most recognizable part of the caraway plant is the fruit, which is small, slightly horny and curved, brown though mildly translucent in parts. These plants, which can grow between 1 and 1/2 to 2 feet in height, bear finely divided, feather-like leaves, and pink or white umbels of flowers. The roots of the caraway plant are tapering and thick, while the stems are relatively slender, smooth and furrowed.

The origins of caraway are not wholly understood. The English usage of the modern name dates back as far as 1440, and this usage is said to have its origins in the ancient Arabian name, "karawya." However, the naturalist and natural philosopher Pliny contended that the species name, Carvi, has its roots in Asia Minor, where he believed the plant was first discovered. Regardless of where it was originally found, it is pretty safe to say that the usage of caraway is not a new thing. Made into bread that was consumed by the soldiers of Valerius, mentioned in the texts of Dioscorides and Shakespeare, and placed into love potions during the days when wives' tales were accepted as the golden rule, caraway has long been a very useful and popular herb.

Although the flavor and scent of this plant are what draw most people in, there is another, far more compelling, reason why it has long been a favorite among cooking enthusiasts and those who take part in herbalism. Containing a plethora of nutrients, the health benefits of caraway are numerous. For instance, this plant bears a high content of volatile oils such as cumuninic aldehyd, limonene, and thujone, which have carminative and antioxidant properties. This delicious herb is also a superb source of fiber, minerals like copper, iron and zinc, and vitamins like A, C, E, and B-complex.

What Are the Benefits of Caraway?

Best known as a carminative herb, caraway does more than just relieve gastric ailments. For instance this plant can be used for:

Mouth, Throat and Lung Complaints:

Because of its high antioxidant content and antimicrobial properties, caraway is often used to create healing gargles that can be used to treat laryngitis and other throat-related ailments. Teas and supplements made with this medicinal herb may also be useful in treating bronchitis and asthma symptoms, as it is said to also contain antispasmodic properties, which may help open up the airways. This healing herb may also be beneficial for those suffering from tooth pain and chronic halitosis, or bad breath.

Menstrual and Breastfeeding Issues:

The antispasmodic effect of this wonderfully healing herb is thought to aid in relieving uncommonly painful or strong cramps, and may be helpful to those experiencing delayed menstruation. Additionally, this plant is thought to help encourage the creation and flow of breast milk in breastfeeding mothers.

Gastric Conditions:

Although this plant is thought to help a myriad of conditions, you simply cannot leave out its uses in this particular area. As a potent carminative plant, caraway has long been used to treat gas, bloating, indigestion, and flatulent colic in small children. Additionally, it is often paired with herbal laxatives, such as senna, to help prevent stomach cramps.

Other Potential Uses:

In addition to its carminative properties, the caraway plant is also thought to be a useful parasiticide and stimulant, which may help you to flush away worms or other internal parasites. Decoctions of this herb are also thought to relieve earaches and cure eye infections, as well as skin problems such as acne, boils and bruises.

Side Effects and Warnings:

Although caraway is generally considered safe in medicinal quantities, those with diabetes, those who are taking any form of diabetes medication, and those who are about to undergo surgery should avoid the use of this plant, as it is thought to potentially lower blood sugar levels. Women who are pregnant should also avoid this herb as the oils are said to have abortifacient properties, so use of this plant can result in miscarriage. This plant should not be taken in medicinal quantities for more than eight weeks at a time, as some believe it has a narcotic effect, which may make it mildly addictive. Additionally, prolonged use may result in liver or kidney damage. Milder side effects often include belching, heartburn, and skin rash.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • mrslagibb profile image

      Mrs L A Gibb 6 years ago

      I am quite sure I will. thank you for the answer.

    • mvaivata profile image
      Author

      mvaivata 6 years ago

      mrslagibb: Although they're in the same family, caraway and cumin are two separate genera. However, caraway is occasionally called Persian cumin, which can lead to a lot of confusion. Thank you so much for your comment, and I hope you can find some useful things in this series. :-)

    • mrslagibb profile image

      Mrs L A Gibb 6 years ago

      Am I right in thinking Caraway is Cumin? Very Useful, Informative hubs. I will be back for more, when I get stuck. Thank you. Voted Useful, Interesting.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)