There are not many ingredients that are beneficial for the skin, health, and hair in the same time.
But caraway seeds definitely deserve a spot on that list.
Called super seeds, caraway seeds are a gourmet spice that is used all over the world.
They are a little bitter than cumin seeds, and they are popularly known as “Shah Jeera” in Hindu.
They are one of the most popular spices in India.
The unique aroma has made the seeds a key ingredient not only in Indian, but also in Russian, Scandinavian, and German cuisine.
Are caraway and fennel the same thing?
Many people mistake caraway seeds and fennel seeds.
They are not the same plant. Fennel and caraway are relatives.
The main difference is in the flavors.
Fennel seeds have a flavor that is dominated by anise and licorice.
Caraway has different flavor, dominated by other flavors.
There are also subtle differences in appearance as well.
Other similar seeds are anise, cumin, and dill seeds.
Anise has quite a similar flavor to fennel, but they are much smaller in appearance.
Cumin seeds have a flavor different than any other spice, and also has a considerably different color.
Dill seeds are also similar, but they have much flatter appearance.
Fun fact: caraway seeds are called “Meridian fennel” by Wikipedia.
That also hints how closely related fennel and caraway seeds are.
Nutritional profile of caraway
The main components of caraway seeds are “carvones” and “caveols”.
These are responsible for the distinct flavor and taste of caraway seeds 1.
They are also providing the antioxidant and digestive properties of caraway seeds.
The seeds also contain several essential oils and flavonoid antioxidants such as lutein and carotene 2.
Their task is to remove harmful free radicals from our body and protect against oxidative stress.
Thanks to antioxidants, caraway seeds protect against aging and degenerative neurological diseases.
Minerals found in the caraway spice include copper, potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, and selenium.
That is a long list of healthy and beneficial components.
Last, but not least, they contain vital vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
In terms of digestion, caraway seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber, and consuming just 100g of seeds will vastly improve your fiber consumption.
We all know dietary fiber is essential for digestive health.
Selection and storage of caraway seeds
The good news is caraway seeds are available all year around in the markets.
You can find them in seeds, or milled-powder forms.
We recommend you purchase caraway seeds, not powder.
Caraway powder can sometimes contain adulterated spicy powders, which alter the taste, flavor, and benefits of caraway.
When you purchase seeds, make sure to store them in cool, dry, and dark place in your home.
Store them inside air-sealed containers.
You can store the seeds for many months.
If you like caraway powder, you can always mill the seeds using a hand-mill.
Ground and powdered caraway should be stored in the fridge and consumed as early as possible.
Otherwise, grounded and powdered caraway will lose its flavor.
Benefits of caraway seeds for health
In terms of benefits for our overall health, caraway seeds are best used as a tea or as a seasoning.
You can make very healthy and super tasty herbal tea.
Some also prefer to use caraway seeds as an infusion to treat intestinal parasites and urinary tract infections.
With that in mind, here are some benefits of caraway seeds for our overall health 3
- Caraway seeds can be used to improve the health of our stomach and digestive system in general. One of the compounds in caraway seeds, carvone, is great for killing hookworms
- Caraway seeds are also great as a carminative, or an asset to ease the gut and provide relief from gas, bowel spasms, and flatulence. In general, caraway seeds improve the health of the digestive system
- The seeds can be used as an infusion to treat common viral and bacterial issues, including cough, flu, bronchitis, fever, and cold
- Caraway seeds can help increase appetite in patients undergoing chemotherapy and help them get the nutrients they need for a healthy immune system during chemo 4
- The seeds are great for our heart, as they strengthen the muscles of the heart. They also improve our heart health by lowering blood pressure, bringing down cholesterol levels, and preventing atherosclerosis
- Oral intake of caraway seeds or caraway oil is recommended for people trying to get rid of gum disease and bad breath
- Lactating mothers use caraway seeds to start menstruation, and also increase production of milk
- Oil made from caraway seeds has antiseptic and disinfectant properties, making it great for treating infections that appear anywhere on the boy
- During menstrual cramps, caraway seeds can lower the symptoms like pain
Caraway seeds for skin care
As we saw earlier, caraway seeds are great for our overall health.
But they are very effective in treating skin conditions as well.
Here are some ways you can improve the health of your skin 5.
- Caraway essential oil has been known since ancient times as a remedy for reducing puffiness and skin inflammation
- Caraway essential oil can also be used as an aromatic facial steam in order to rejuvenate and disinfect your skin
- The essential oil can help regenerate skin cells, lighten scars, and other problems caused by acne or pigmentation
- Caraway seeds are great for treating oily skin and relieve itching
- You can use the seeds to cure infected wounds and prevent further infection
- The essential oil can treat acne, and also reduce boils and similar skin eruptions
- Thanks to antiseptic properties, caraway essential oil is great for getting rid of scalp infections
As mentioned previously, caraway seeds have a distinct flavor and taste 6.
Their aroma can be characterized as sweet, warm, and slightly peppery when squeezed between index and thumb fingers.
Caraway seeds are popular in Indian cuisine, but also in European like German cooking and Mediterranean cooking.
To keep the taste, flavor, and aroma of caraway seeds, make sure to roast them gently under low flame and ground just before using in a recipe.
Here are some culinary uses of caraway seeds:
- Can be used as a savory spice, added in cooking as a condiment and flavoring base
- Cabbage soups, salads, and sauerkraut recipes in German and European cuisines often employ caraway seeds as flavoring
- You can caraway seeds for a pleasant aroma in bread, cakes, cheese, and biscuits
- In France, caraway seeds are used to sprinkle over Munster cheese before eating as an additional spicy flavor
- Caraway seeds are popular as an ingredient in seasoning sausage and meat preparations, especially in Central Europe. For example, Kiełbasa Kminkowa is a staple dish made thanks to caraway seeds