I was first introduced to caraway – a member of the Umbelliferae family, which also includes anise, dill, cumin and fennel – during a bread baking class where we used caraway seeds to flavour Rye bread.
Caraway is a popular spice today and it is a great spice for adding Old World flavour to modern dishes. It’s use can be traced as far back as the Stone Age and the Egyptians added it in foods as flavouring, while the Romans used it in bread making. It was also used by Germans and Austrians during the Middle Ages.
Caraway seeds are mostly used to flavour cheese, meat, bread, pickles and sauces and the essential oil that is extracted from the seeds – with its sweet, spicy odour and slight peppery smell – is used in cosmetic applications to fragrance soaps, toothpaste and perfumes.
As you can see there are plenty of uses for caraway, but what really interests me is the numerous health benefits provided by caraway essential oil:
1. Allergy relief: Anti-histaminic: People who suffer with seasonal allergies can continue coughing endlessly, leaving them breathless. The main culprit behind these disruptive coughing fits is histamine. Caraway oil can neutralise the effects of histamine, and helps keep the allergy symptoms associated with histamines under control.
2. Stress and mental fatigue: In aromatherapy caraway oil has a wonderful effect on stress and it also relieves mental fatigue – invigorating the mind, while calming your nerves.
3. Digestive health: A spoon of caraway oil taken with warm water and a pinch of organic sea salt can help alleviate indigestion and speed up digestion by stimulating the secretion of gastric juices, acids, and bile into the stomach. Caraway oil is also stomachic, which means that it helps keep the stomach healthy by protecting it from infections and ulcers.
4. Heart health: Caraway essential oil helps maintain a proper heart rate, strengthens the heart muscles, helps prevent hardening of the arteries, lowers blood pressure and can even help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
5. Antiseptic: Caraway oil acts as an antiseptic, helping to prevent infections of the colon, digestive, respiratory, urinary and excretory systems. As a disinfectant it also helps in treating external infections. It inhibits the growth of microbes, bacteria and fungus and protects against wound infections wounds and ulcers.
You can use caraway essential oil as a topical application by mixing a few drops of caraway and frankincense essential oils with a carrier oil. Alternatively you can use it in a vapouriser or you can steep a teaspoon of caraway seeds in hot water for about 15 minutes before drinking it as a tea. I’ve also heard of some people who use about 10 drops of caraway essential oil, a teaspoon of caraway seeds along with coconut oil in breakfast smoothies.To a healthier life,