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Fennel, Cumin and Ajwain: Medicinal Values and Uses

BY: Kana Ram Kumawat | Category: Agriculture | Submitted: 2017-08-02 11:43:00
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Article Summary: "Seed spices like fennel, cumin and Ajwain, besides being important from home consumption point of view, are gaining increasing importance as medicinal articles. These are extensively used as flavouring agents in various food products and in pharmaceutical industry, especially in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines..."

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Fennel, Cumin and Ajwain: Medicinal Values & Uses
Authors: *Kana Ram Kumawat, Madhu Choudhary and Ravi Kumawat
Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, S.K.N. Agriculture University
Jobner-303329, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

India, grow 63 spice crops in different agro-climatic situations. Among these coriander, fenugreek, cumin, fennel, sowa (dill), celery and ajawain of which seeds or fruits (which are also commonly known as seeds) primarily form the consumable product and are annual in nature, constitute the group of “seed spices”. These seed spices, besides being important from home consumption point of view, are gaining increasing importance as medicinal articles. The important medicinal uses of these medicinal/spices plants are as follows:

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare L.)

Fennel is widely employed as a carminative , both in humans and in veterinary medicine (e.g., dogs), to treat flatulence by encouraging the expulsion of intestinal gas. Anethole is responsible for the carminative action.

Medicinal values and uses:

  • Leaves are diuretic and roots are purgative.
  • Seeds are aromatic, stimulant and carminative.
  • Useful in diseases of chest, lungs, spleen and kidneys.
  • Used in diseases like cholera, bile, nervous disorder, cough and cold, constipation, dysentery and diarrhoea.
  • Oil is used in cosmetics and medicinal preparations like in infantile colic and flatulence.
  • Hot infusion of fruits is used in indigenous medicine to increase lacteral secretion and to stimulate sweating.
  • The consumption of fennel seeds also aid to weight loss and longevity
  • Fennel oil regulates Menstrual periods.
  • Local application of fennel is beneficial in giddiness, headache, especially in the summer season.
  • A paste of seeds/ fruits is used in a cooling drink in fevers, burning mictuaration and scalding of urine.

    Cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) Cumin, commonly known as Jeera, (Cuminum cyminum) belongs to Apiaceae family, widely cultivated in Gujarat, Rajasthan and in some parts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh as Rabi crop. Cumin is mainly used in flavouring foods. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicines. Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. It helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to food, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as spiced gravies such as chili.

    Medicinal values and uses:
  • Seeds are stimulant, carminative, stomachic and astringent.
  • Good source of protein, vitamin A and C.
  • Useful in diarrhoea and dyspepsia.
  • Relieves flatulence and bloating, stimulates digestive process.
  • Cumin seed powder, mixed with honey, salt and butter are applied against scorpion bites.
  • Seeds powder of cumin with jaggery taken internally is beneficial in Malaria.
  • A paste of cumin and coriander taken internally in small doses every day is useful in hyperacidity, indigestion, vomiting, loss of appetite etc.
  • Cumin seeds are also used in insomnia, colds and fever. Cumin oil is effective against eczema.

    Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi L.) Ajowain is a herb also known as Bishops Weed. This beneficial herb is used in culinary process as spice as well as a major ingredient of different kind of medicines. Ajwain seeds are small in size but taste hot, penchant and bitter. It acts as good appetizer, laxative and stomachic. It is used as effective remedy in managing ailments like vomiting, mouth diseases, pile, treatment of ascites, abdominal tumor, abdominal pain etc.

    Medicinal values and uses:
  • Leaves are used as vermicide and roots are diuretic and carminative.
  • Useful in flatulence colic, atonic dyspepsia, diarrhoea, cholera, hysteria and spasmodic affections of the bowels.
  • Most frequently used in conjunction with an asafoetida and rock salt.
  • Externally applied in mixture to relieve rheumatic and neuralgic pains.
  • For stomachic, cough and indigestion, the seeds are masticated and swallowed followed by glass of hot water is a common domestic remedy.
  • Useful in skin diseases.
  • Check chronic discharges such as profuse expectoration from bronchitis.
  • Ajwain powder with old jaggery should be taken internally for seven days and is useful for urticarea.
In tonsillitis, the seeds of ajwain should be kept in mouth day and night.


1. National Research Centre for Seed Spices
2. Spices Board of India

About Author / Additional Info:
Post-Graduated in subject of Plant Breeding and Genetics from SKNAU, Jobner

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