Whenever Valentine’s Day draws closer, it is only fitting to talk about the caraway fruit or seeds and its essential oil. Once used as an ingredient in love potions, it was supposed to prevent one’s lover from straying and blush the cheeks of young maidens.
Caraway was deemed to confer the gift of retention, preventing the theft of any object which contained it, and holding the thief in custody within the invaded house. In like manner it was thought to keep lovers from proving fickle (forming an ingredient of love potions). – Botanical
Strangely enough, it was also used to prevent pigeons from straying . . . but I digress. Documented since the Middle Ages, caraway seeds and oil have flavored various dishes and been prepared as medicinal remedies.
Native to parts of Europe, Asia and India, the caraway plant belongs to the carminative family containing Dill and Cumin. Carminatives are herbs that help ease gastrointestinal distress, including gas and bowel spasms.
The fruit of the caraway plant contains fixed oil along with carbohydrate and protein. Caraway is a carminative. Carminatives are herbs that help to provide nutrients for ameliorate gastrointestinal pain, and associated gas pain. – NutraSanus
Both the seeds and their oil strengthen the stomach, purge hookworms, treat gingivitis and alleviate bad breath.
Caraway seeds are useful in strengthening the functions of stomach. They relieve flatulence and are useful in flatulent colic, countering any possible adverse effects of medicines. Carvone, isolated from caraway oil, is used as anthelmintic, especially in removing hookworms from the intestines. Caraway seed oil is used orally in overcoming bad breath or insipid taste. – Online Vitamins Guide
Antitussive Effect of Caraway Seeds
An Iranian study showed that the seeds’ antitussive (cough prevention) effect was greater than codeine on guinea pigs and provided evidence for its use in the treatment of bronchitis, colds and cough. And, another Iranian study demonstrated the protective properties of the oils on the livers of rats .
For Treating Indigestion
Unfortunately, the caraway seeds’ modern uses are usually restricted to a spice for bread, cakes, fruits and liquors. But, one can brew the crushed seeds in tea for indigestion or take 1 to 4 drops of the essential caraway oil on a lump of sugar for flatulence. One can even give colicky and gassy babies 1 to 2 teaspoons of water, which has had caraway seeds soaking in it for longer than 6 hours. But, please use caution as essential oils are volatile and highly concentrated and high doses of caraway seeds over a long period of time can tax the body.
Thanks to the caraway seed, I’ll try and lure my Valentine this year with rosy cheeks, sweet breath and a healthy outlook. But, I’ll try not to get too caraway . . . get it, carried away . . . oh well, at least my pigeons won’t stray!
Corinne Kohrherr is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Board Certified Chinese Herbalist, Registered Nurse, Licensed Massage Therapist and DONA Certified Childbirth Doula. She is a holistic healthcare practitioner and lives in New York City with her dogs Martini and Olive.