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carawayCARAWAY (Carum carvi)

 

Common name

Generally called caraway; also carum

 

Medicinal part

Fruit ("seeds")

 

Description

A feathery-leafed biennial that can reach 2 feet, caraway's early summer umbrella-like clusters of tiny white flowers become its fruit, which we call seeds.

 

Primarily known as a flavoring agent for breads and candy, caraway seeds have been used since prehistoric times and were recommended for digestive upsets in the Papyrus Ebers written in Egypt c. 1500 B.C.E., one of the world's oldest surviving medical documents.

 

Only a few herbs are still used today as they were in ancient times, and caraway is one of these rare cases. Down through the ages, they have been taken for indigestion and flatulence and given to infants for colic. The only other traditional use for caraway is for women's health to ease menstrual cramps, increase menstrual flow, and promote milk in nursing mothers.

 

Dosage

Seeds (fresh or dried): Chew a teaspoonful of whole seeds or mix into any food.

Infusion: Crush 2 to 3 teaspoons of seeds per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 to 20 minutes and drink up to 3 cups daily. Dilute infusion for infant colic.

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