Biological name of Caraway is Carum carvi L. from the family Apiaceae. This is a biennial plant that looks like a carrot plant. Caraway stem is about 20–30 cm high (but can reach a height of even 60-80cm); its green leaves are feathery thing. Caraway flowers the first or most likely the second year of its growing (depending on the varieties). Its white, pink, yellow or even green flowers are in umbels and appear from May to August. After it flowers it gives the fruits - small brownish seeds.
Its other popular names are Persian cumin, Persian caraway, Wild cumin, and Roman cumin.
Caraway is easily grown in most of the soils, thus prefers well drained soil. The plant likes warm, sunny locations. The seeds are sown in spring or early autumn. It gives its fruit mainly on the second year, and should be harvested as soon as the seeds begin to turn dark and ripen (usually at the end of the summer).
It is native to Europe and Western Asia, but nowadays is commercially cultivated in some other countries as well (such as North African, India, Turkey, Canada, and the United States). North European Caraway is considered to be of high quality.
Mainly the seeds of the plant, that where harvested and dried (in the sun or in a low heat drier) are used. They should be stored in a dry place. By the way, seeds have been used as a spice from the 17th century, longer than any other spice in Europe.
The plant itself could be eaten: the root, the flowers and the seeds.
For medical purposes the seeds are used. Its oil is used in a number of medicinal preparations for treating different ailments and disorders.
You can most likely find seeds on bread. Caraway seeds are what make different kinds of rye bread very delicious. In dried form (or Caraway seeds) it is used for flavoring cheese, soups, cabbage, and cakes. Popular Schnapps is made with caraway (as well as different other famous liqueurs). The taste of it is hard to forget – pungent and sweet.
You can find fresh root and fresh young leaves on the market. For culinary purposes root is boiled (and could be eaten like a carrot), and leaves are added to salads and soups and stews.
The oil of the Caraway seeds is used as a fragrance component in cosmetology for soaps, lotions, creams and even perfumes.
For medical purposes the Caraway essential oil that is extracted from seeds of the plant is used.
The main constituent of Caraway is volatile oil. In its turn it contains such beneficial constituents as carvone and limonene. The seeds contain carbohydrate and protein. It gives Caraway its anti-cancer properties and helps to deal with different types of gastrointestinal pain. Caraway other useful actions are due to its anti histaminic, anti septic, diuretic, digestive, astringent, and vermifuge properties. The plant is also a tonic and a stimulant.
The numerous health benefits of Caraway are mainly due to the constituents of oil.
1. It is good for your heart.
Caraway strengthens cardiac muscles, lowers blood pressure (as well as cholesterol level in your blood), and helps to prevent the veins hardening. Its cardiac benefits are among most known properties of Caraway. Almost everyone who eats bread with caraway knows that it is good for his cardiac health. Moreover, as a tonic it tones you heart.
As an antispasmodic Caraway oil helps to deal with all kinds of gastrointestinal spasms and cramps. For those who have gas problems Caraway has almost immediate miracle effect. Its oil speeds up the digestion. As an antiseptic it protects your stomach from infections, and even cures ulcers. It is also a great help in case of muscle pain.
Caraway stimulates almost all systems and functions of your body, starting from brain. It helps you stay alert and concentrated, boosts your energy. If used regularly, you may unlikely feel depressed or burned out. As for the appetite – caraway is often used as aperitif, as it helps to ease constipation before substantial meal and stimulates the secretion of gastric juices.
Histamine is the reason behind the most endless coughs, and sometimes it may be very difficult for the sufferer to find the right medication for easing the symptoms. Caraway neutralizes the effects of histamine as effective as most of the medicines, but absolutely without side effects. It also relieves any other type of coughs and gives relief in inflammation of bronchi, throat and nose.
5. It is good for your wounds.
As an antiseptic it inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi, thus preventing the infection of wounds. It also effectively cures various internal infections.
First of all, it is very beneficial for those who want to loose weight. It increases the frequency and quantity of urination, thus helps to clean the kidney, reduce fat and keep urinary tract from infections.
Caraway reduces wrinkles and makes the skin bright and looked fresh.
If you are suffering from delayed or obstructed periods caraway may be a wonderful chose for you, as it work effectively and fast. It is also good in case of menopause.
Caraway is second after the Fennel aid for breastfeeding mothers. It increases the amount of milk. Moreover, when mother uses caraway, her baby won’t suffer from flatulence and indigestion, and gets most of the benefits from the plant.
This is only the small list of most known and used health benefits of Caraway, as they are really numerous. There are no side effects from using this herb, and the taste of it makes the usage of the plant acceptable and for some very tasteful (unlike other very useful herbs). For the conclusion it should be said, that using Caraway will keep you healthy and young for long long time.
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