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Latin Name: carum carvi
Alternative Name: caraway seed, kummel
Forms Available: essential oil, seed, leaf, root
Caraway – carum carvi – Caraway is a hardy biennial with finely cut feathery leaves, umbels of small flower heads in midsummer and capsules containing two curved narrow seeds. The seeds are a popular spice, especially in Central Europe. They enhance port, goulash, sauerkraut, cheese, and pickles and are added to cooking cabbage to reduce the smell. They flavor breads and cakes and are eaten raw or sugar-coated as Caraway comfits after a spicy meal. They sweeten the breath, aid digestion, and relieve flatulence. Chopped leaves are added to soups and salads, and the root is cooked as a vegetable. Essential oil, distilled from the seeds, flavors gin, candy, the liqueur KÃ¼mel, and mouthwashes, and scents soaps, and aftershaves. The seeds are antiseptic and a vermifuge. Caraway seeds have been used in cooking since the Stone Age.
The powdered seeds are taken in doses of one-fourth to one teaspoon to promote digestion and relieve gas. Caraway tea also relieves menstrual cramps, as it helps to bring on the menstruation. Caraway increases breast milk. To make the tea, steep three teaspoons of the ground seeds in one-half cup of water for twenty minutes -use a kitchen blender to lightly crush the seed. Take up to one and a half cups a day in one-fourth cup doses, or simply chew the seeds. One to four drops of the essential oil may be taken as a digestive aid. For colicky babies, soak one ounce of the ground seed in a pint of cold water for about six hours. The dose is from one to three teaspoons of the infusion, or boil three teaspoons of seed in one-half cup of milk for a few minutes, then steep for ten minutes. The powdered seeds are moistened to make a poultice for bruises and earaches.
Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Caraway seed is effective as an expectorant. Also relieves constipation and flatulence. Improves appetite. Stimulates breast milk.
Other Uses: Caraway is often added to love potions to keep lovers from being unfaithful. The seeds are placed in poppets and used in spells to find one’s mate. They are said to inspire lust when baked into cakes or breads. Put some in your wedding cake!
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