Ajwain is not very common in our days; its usage is almost confined to Central Asia and Northern India, particularly the North West (Punjab, Gujarat). Ajwain also enjoys some popularity in the Arabic world and is found in berbere, a spice mixture of Ethiopia which both shows Indian and Arabic heritage.
Carum copticum L.
Name in international languages:
The essential oil (2.5 to 5% in the dried fruits) is dominated by thymol (35 to 60%); furthermore, a-pinene, p-cymene, limonene and ?-terpinene have been found.
In the essential oil distilled from aerial parts (flowers, leaves) of ajwain grown in Algeria, however, isothymol (50%) was found to be the dominant constituent before p-cymene, thymol, limonene and ?-terpinene. Note, however, that the name isothymol is not well defined and might refer to both 2-isopropyl-4-methylphenol and 3-isopropyl-6-methylphenol (carvacrol).
From South Indian ajwain fruits, almost pure thymol has been isolated (98%), but the leaf oil was found to be composed of monoterpenoids and sesquiterpenoids: 43% cadinene, 11% longifolene, 5% thymol, 3% camphor and others.
Uses & Application:
Ajwain is much used as a medical plant in Ayurvedic medicine (India). Mainly, it helps against diseases of the digestive tract and fewer. In the West, thymol is used in medicines against cough and throat irritation.
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