The Bishop’s Weed (अजवायन /यवानी)
Carum copticum (B & H)
Trachyspermum ammi (Linn)
Ptychotis ajowan (DC)
यवानी पाचनी रुच्या तीक्ष्णोष्णा कटुका लघु: ।
दीपनी च तथा तिक्ता पित्तला शुक्रशूलहृत ॥
वातश्लेष्मोदरानाह गुल्म प्लीहक्रिमिप्रणुत ।
Bishop’s weed or Ajwain is one of the most famous herbs among folklore practices. Although it is not very commonly used among spices but it has been herbs of choice in house hold remedies. Ajwain is carminative, and enhances taste of the food. It is pungent bitter in taste and sharp in action. Ajwain is hot in potency and increases Pitta. Metabolic taste of Ajwain is bitter and it is light to digest. It stimulates digestive juices and promotes the gastric absorption. Due to hot in potency, if consumed in excess quantities or for a prolonged duration it may result in gastric burning. Repetitive consumption in over doses may have adverse effect in spermatogenesis due to contradictory properties of Ajwain and sperms.
Ajwain alleviates Vata and Kapha and it is specifically prescribed in colic pain due to gaseous distention. It contains volatile oil which is constituted 40 – 50 % of thymol. As the traditional wisdom says, “it helps in removing worms (Krimi pranut).” Thymol is known for its anthelminthic properties. And famously used for hookworm treatments. Thymol is also known to have certain antimicrobial properties. Probably that is the reason why Ajwain is so potent in cases of gaseous bloating of abdomen and dysentery. It could be used in amoebic dysentries. As per Ayurveda, Ajwain also helps in splenic disorders. It is also believed that thymol is effective in removing certain fungal infections of finger nails and toe nails. It would be advisable for people suffering with fungal infections of nails to wash the nails with decoction prepared with Ajwain seeds for two to three times a day.
Due to its strong odor it is used in removing foul smell from many pungent oils especially of castor oil. In chronic dry cough it can be used effectively to remove Kapha. In cases of asthma (shwas) Ajwain powder in prescribed dose is given with hot water. Powder of Ajwain mixed with Epsom salt is known to cure chronic indigestion in folklore practices, and factually it is effective. Although people suffering with hypertension should be careful about the dose as it contains salt.
In pain abdomen, rheumatic pains and joint pains poultice is prepared and used for fomentation of local area to eradicate pain. Pitta Prakriti people should refrain from excessive internal consumption of Ajwain as it may aggravate thermodynamics of the body.