Essential Oil of the Week: Ajowan Seed Oil

Posted on August 06, 2014 by Tijon Fragrance Lab

What is Ajowan Seed Oil?

Ajowan seed oil is produced from the seeds of the ajowan (ajwain) plant.  It is thought to have originated in Asia, later spreading to the Indian subcontinent. The plant is a small, cool season annual herb that grows to about two to three feet height. It has tiny white-petal flowers in umbels that develop into small, oval-shaped seeds that are generally ready for harvest at the end of winter or early spring. Ajowan oil is produced from the seeds of this small plant, hence the essential oils name: Ajowan Seed Oil. Ajowan seeds are olive green to brown in color and have a similar appearance to cumin or caraway seeds. However, they can be distinguished by their elliptical shape and tiny size. Their flavor closely resembles that of thyme, since they contain an essential oil, thymol. Ajowan seed oil, derived from the Ajowan seeds, is either colorless or brown. It has various uses ranging from medicinal and aromatherapy to culinary.

Uses of Ajowan Seed Oil

Medicinal Uses: Ajowan seed oil is used as a tranquilizer or to soothe whooping cough and toothaches in India. It also helps sooth a sore throat. Ajowan oil is used in medicines and pharmaceuticals due to its anti-infectious, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-septic, and anti-nausea characteristics. Ajowan is also used to aid in digestion and to treat diarrhea.

Culinary Uses: Ajowan seeds are mainly featured in savory Indian, Middle-Eastern and Pakistani cooking. In order to keep fragrance and flavor intact, the seeds are generally ground moments before preparing the dishes and are not added to the cooking recipes until the final stages. This is done because prolonged cooking could cause the essential oils to evaporate. Some specific culinary uses include:

  • In the Punjab province of India and Pakistan, Ajowan seeds are used to make bread known as asajwain paratha
  • Some Indian vegetarian bean/lentil and chicken/fish curries contain ajowan seed spice
  • In the Middle East, they use the spice to flavor meat and rice dishes
  • In India, the seeds are commonly used in snacks, spicy biscuits, cookies and to flavor drinks, soups, and sauces
  • They are also used in pickling along with mustard seeds, turmeric, and fenugreek
Aromatherapy Uses: When it comes to aromatherapy, the benefits of ajowan arise form smelling the oil rather than applying it directly to your skin. Experts do not recommend ajowan oil as massage oil because it often irritating to the skin. However, if required for massage oil, be sure to dilute it first with other vegetables oils (ie: olive oil).

If you have any questions regarding Ajowan Seed Oil, would like to test its various uses and benefits yourself, or would like to add it to your custom fragrance, stop by Tijon Fragrance Lab and Boutique located at 7853 Herschel Ave. La Jolla CA 92037.   Also, feel free to call us at 619.821.8219 or shoot us an email at info@tijon.com.

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