Trachyspermum ammi

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Trachyspermum ammi
Flowers of Trachyspermum ammi
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Asterids
Order:Apiales
Family:Apiaceae
Genus:Trachyspermum
Species:T. ammi
Binomial name
Trachyspermum ammi
Sprague
Synonyms[1][2]
  • Ammi copticum L.
  • Carum copticum (L.) Link
  • Trachyspermum copticum Link
 
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Trachyspermum ammi
Flowers of Trachyspermum ammi
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Asterids
Order:Apiales
Family:Apiaceae
Genus:Trachyspermum
Species:T. ammi
Binomial name
Trachyspermum ammi
Sprague
Synonyms[1][2]
  • Ammi copticum L.
  • Carum copticum (L.) Link
  • Trachyspermum copticum Link

Trachyspermum ammi, commonly known as ajowan or ajwain,[1] bishop's weed,[1] ajowan caraway, carom seeds, or thymol seeds,or vaamu in Telugu or omam (ஓமம்) in Tamil is a plant of India, Pakistan and the Near East whose seeds are used as a spice.[3]

Characteristics[edit]

The plant has a similarity to parsley. Because of their seed-like appearance, the fruit pods are sometimes called seeds; they are egg-shaped and grayish in colour.

The 'seed' (i.e., the fruit pod) is often confused with lovage seed; even some dictionaries mistakenly state that comes from the lovage plant. An online search for lovage seeds finds many stores calling their ajwain seeds lovage.[citation needed]

Flavour and aroma[edit]

The raw fruit pod of Trachyspermum ammi smells almost exactly like thyme because it also contains thymol, but is more aromatic and less subtle in taste, as well as slightly bitter and pungent. Even a small amount of raw fruit pods of Trachyspermum ammi tend to dominate the flavour of a dish.

History[edit]

Trachyspermum ammi originated in the Middle East, possibly in Egypt, and the Indian subcontinent, but also in Iran and Afghanistan. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in berbere, a spice mixture favored in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

In India, the major producers are the states Rajasthan and Gujarat, with Rajasthan producing about 90% of India's total output.

Ajwain seeds

Uses[edit]

Trachyspermum ammi is traditionally believed to be a digestive aid.[citation needed] In southern parts of India, dry Trachyspermum ammi seeds are powdered and soaked in milk, which is then filtered and fed to babies. People in North India especially find it very effective in stomach pain, when taken large spoonful with a pinch of salt and a glass of water. Its very effective when swallowed with warm water. Ajwain is usually added to hard to digest recipes like pakoda, bajji etc.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c USDA GRIN entry
  2. ^ [1] ITIS entry for Trachyspermum ammi
  3. ^ Davidson, Alan, and Tom Jaine. The Oxford companion to food. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. 805. Print. Retrieved Aug. 08, 2010, from ouCbL2AC&lpg=PA805&dq=baumkuchen&pg=PA9#v=onepage&q&f=false[dead link]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Hill, Tony. (2004) "Ajwain" in The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices: Seasonings for the Global Kitchen. Wiley. p. 21-23. ISBN 978-0-471-21423-6.