Friday, August 10, 2012

Ayurveda Herbs - Cumin


(शुक्ल जीरक/ कृष्ण जीरक/ कालिका)Cuminum_cyminum


जीरकत्रितयम रुक्षम कटूष्णम दीपनम लघु ।

संग्राही पित्तलम मेध्यम गर्भाष्यविशुधिकृत ॥

ज्वरघ्नम पाचनम वृषयम बल्यम रुच्यम कफापहम ।

चक्षुष्यम पवनाधमान गुल्म छर्दी अतिसार हृत ॥

भा. प्र.

Cumin is one of the most common and known spice. It is used in almost all the dishes in Indian traditional culinary system. As per Bhav Prakash Nighantu (Ayurvedic Pharmacogonsy), jeerak has three types as following:

1. White

2. Black

3. Kalika

In above quotation from the text states that all three types of cumin behold almost similar properties.

Latin name:

Cumin seed (white) – Cuminum cyminum

Black caraway seeds (Black) – Carum carvi

Nigella seeds (Kalika/ Black cumin) – Nigella sativa

All three varieties of Cumin are dry in nature and pungent in taste. They are hot in potency and stimulate digestive fire. Cumin is light to digest and helps in containing the stools, so it can be given in people suffering with irregular lose bowel habit. It has a special effect on brain and strengthens the memory. In my opinion it could be an effective herb in cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome where in patient passes frequent lose motions along with stress. Cumin seeds are known for its properties of uterine cleansing. It is an effective herb in cases of dysmenorrhoea. Ladies suffering with painful menstruations can take a hot infusion during their menstruation. It helps in alleviating Vata, regulates menstruation, and cleanses uterus as well. Pregnant women should avoid taking cumin in large quantities due to its vasodilatation effect and heating property. It also helps in reducing fever by generating sweat.

As per ancient wisdom of life, cumin seeds promote digestion and also enhance sexual vigour. It is a stimulant, thus works on erectile dysfunctions. Cumin also increases strength. It could be because of its property of stimulating metabolic digestion which helps in a thorough absorption of micro nutrients from the food. It also enhances taste of the food and alleviates Kapha. Cumin helps in lacto genesis so it could be given in small quantity to lactating mothers.

Bhav Prakash says, cumin helps in promoting eye sight, and removes gaseous bloating of abdomen, vomiting, and diarrhoea. It is also a very good diuretic and could effectively be used in urinary tract problems.Cumin seeds contain 2.4 – 4% volatile oil which contains cumin aldehyde which could be converted in thymol. It can be used as antiseptic. It is one of the safe and effective remedy in infants.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ayurveda Herbs

The Bishop’s Weed (अजवायन /यवानी)

Latin Name – ajwain

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 ।

भा. प्र.

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.


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