Are stomach issues - indigestion, heartburn, nausea and a feeing of uncomfortable fullness bothering you? Maybe all this is a direct result of the constant abuse we subject our digestive system to. All thanks to a high-junk-and-low-fibre diet, and the too many processed foods that we eat, and, of course, the high-stress lifestyles we lead.
While they need to be sorted out, and certainly put a lid on for long-term benefits, what can help is everyday consumption of two itsy-bitsy herbs - ajwain (carom seeds) and saunf (fennel seeds).
Both were once an indispensable part of our traditional diets but have somehow got lost along the way. In fact, they are missing from the diets most of us follow. Today, more than ever, I feel we need to bring these two easy, tiny warriors back for soothing our ever increasing stomach troubles.
Ajwain Parantha is the best way to have the flat bread. Photo: Veg recipes
I wrote about fennel seeds earlier, and it’s time to talk about ajwain. This potent mouth freshener is also an extremely powerful antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-microbial, antiviral, carminative, anti-inflammatory and analgesic spice. That’s a lot of pluses packed into these tiny seeds.
That’s why I believe it’ll help to get used to (and in fact begin liking) the slightly bitter and pungent taste of this highly pungent herb (called Ugragandha in Sanskrit because of the strong scent).
There are lots of benefits. First, carom seeds keep our stomach strong and help treat any kind of abdominal discomfort due to indigestion, such as stomach pain, burning sensation, abdominal gas, flatulence, nausea, et al.
It is a very effective remedy for heartburn; take a mixture of 1 teaspoon of cumin and carom seeds each and add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder mixed with water till the heartburn disappears.
Ajwain with turmeric milk is as healthy as can be. Photo: Pakwangali
They have high amounts of the chemical thymol, which increases the secretion of gastric juices and helps us absorb food better. They also help ease bowel movement due to their laxative nature, thereby preventing and curing constipation.
That is why ajwain is commonly given to babies and infants to heal digestive disorders, chronic constipation, colic symptoms and to relieve cold, cough and congestion too.
Yes, ajwain helps in treating a cold; just eat two grams of pan-roasted ajwain seeds every day for about 15 to 20 days.
Or you can have ajwain tea. Boil water, add black or green tea, add ajwain, ginger, and elaichi to the concoction. Add milk now and let the mixture boil well for about three minutes.
According to ayurvedic experts putting ajwain powder in a thin cloth and smelling this frequently also helps to ward off nasal blockage and flu. This also helps in dealing with respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis and provides relief from a migraine headache.
There is no end to the goodness of ajwain and jeera mixed with water. Photo: CalorieBee
Inhalation of the smoke from roasted ajwain acts as an excellent Bronchodilator, which facilitates the breathing pattern in the body. Regular ajwain intake also helps boost the immune system.
There are weight loss benefits too. To not gain excess weight or even to knock off a few pounds, it is important that our digestive system works well, and the food we eat gets digested and eliminated properly.
Thanks to its potent digestive properties, ajwain can thus be a helpful companion on your weight loss journey.
Smoke from roasted ajwain is a hack too.
And finally, I am not sure how this works but my grandma used to say that ajwain seeds help in halting premature greying of hair. She would add a few curry leaves, sugar and carom seeds to a cup of water, and boil, cool and drink one glass of this mixture every day. Worth a try!
I personally find ajwain water (water infused with this spice) is a smart way to score this herb’s benefits. Just soak two teaspoons of dry roasted ajwain seeds in a cup of water overnight. You could boil this water, strain, wait for it to cool down and then have it, or simply mix the water well the next morning, strain it and have it on an empty stomach.
It is so easy to score the benefits of this readily available herb/spice. Time to give it the importance it deserves, and gain health as a result.