Thymol is a spice that is found in almost every Indian home. Carom seeds, Ajowan Caraway, Ajwain, or Bishop's Weed are all names for Ajwain (scientific name Trachyspermum Ammi). Carum copticum is the Latin name for this spice. Both the leaves and the seedlike fruit (sometimes incorrectly termed seeds) of this annual herb belonging to the Apiaceae family are edible.
Ajwain is a spice that is cultivated in India and Iran but is rarely consumed raw. Instead, it is cooked before being added to a dish. It is available in both seed and powder form; however, cooking with seeds is more usual.
Thymol, like coriander, cumin, and fennel, is a member of the Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae) plant family. The plant's fruit—also known as seeds—is pale khaki in colour, ridged in texture, and oval in shape, while the shrub's leaves are fluffy. Thymol is a spice that has been used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and African cookery since ancient times for culinary and medicinal uses.
In most cases, the herb is planted in October–November and harvested in May–June. Thymol's greyish brown seeds and fruits are commonly used for medicinal and nutritional purposes. Humans eat the plant's leaves as well as the seed-like fruit. They have a bitter, pungent flavour that is reminiscent of anise and oregano.
The fruits are most typically dry-roasted or sautéed in ghee, which helps the spice acquire a more delicate and nuanced scent. Pickles, cookies, and sweets all include fruit. The essential oil is occasionally used as a preservative in food.
It is assumed that the thymol plant originated in Persia (Iran) and Asia Minor (what is now Turkey). It spread to India from there, and it is currently cultivated throughout the Middle East and North Africa as well. Upon its first arrival in the Indian subcontinent, it was used in Ayurvedic treatment. It's also used in traditional Chinese medicine on occasion. Thymol is also a popular spice in Ethiopia, where it's known as "bishop's weed" in Ethiopian markets. It's sometimes used in berbere, a spice blend popular in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
This plant appears to have been a botanical rock star in Asia Minor throughout the Middle Ages, with a presence in Europe, acting as a potherb and an indigestion treatment. Bishop's weed, along with other multi-talented plants, held a permanent position in the monastery gardens at the time.
Traditional healers used thymol seeds, known as Zenyan or Nankhah in medical and pharmaceutical manuscripts from mediaeval Persia, to treat a variety of diseases. Thymol is a well-known Ayurvedic spice with a long history.
The thymol seeds, according to oriental Unani researcher Hakeem Hashmi, combine the potent and stimulating features of capsicum, the bitter properties of chiretta, and the antispasmodic capabilities of asafoetida. Since ancient times, thymol has been used as a carminative medication.
Dioscorides and Galen, two well-known Greek physicians, employed it in a variety of treatments. Thymol seeds are used to make several extremely useful unani remedies.
Thymol seeds are high in fibre, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals, making them extremely healthy. As a result, they've been connected to numerous health benefits, and they've been used in traditional Indian medicine for a long time.
Thymol seeds provide 305 calories per 100 grammes, 25 grammes of fat, 16 grammes of protein, and 43 grammes of carbs. They also include minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus, as well as vitamins B1 and B3.
Thymol seeds have a pungent aroma that is similar to thyme when they are raw. The flavour is reduced after drying, but the spice retains a strong sting that can numb the tongue.
Some describe their flavour as bitter and pungent, having a flavour that is comparable to anise and oregano. The flavour of thymol seeds is intense and deep.
After cooking, it has a characteristic smokey flavour.
Thymol is used in modest amounts and is virtually always cooked because of its strong, overwhelming taste. The spice is frequently used in Indian cooking as part of tadka. Tadka, or tempering, is a culinary procedure in which entire spices are put into hot oil or butter (usually ghee) and cooked, resulting in a chunk. This oil and spice mixture is then used to make lentil recipes or as a finishing touch or garnish.
Raw or cooked thymol can be used at the end of a meal containing a lot of oil or starch; its sharpness provides a nice contrast to the richness of the components. A long boiling period, on the other hand, helps the seed since the heat mellows the thyme flavour and brings out more of the anise aftertaste. The seeds are also used in the dough for bread and biscuits and then sprinkled on top after they've been cooked.
If a recipe calls for powdered thymol, roast the seeds, cool them and grind them into a fine powder.
It needs to be moved to another container if the thymol seeds were purchased in bulk or a plastic bag. Place some in a repurposed spice jar or small glass container and pour the remainder into a bigger glass container if you have a significant quantity. (Unlike plastic, glass does not absorb taste.) The carom seed should be kept in a cold, dark area for at least a year.
Thymol seed is available in Indian markets, specialist spice shops, and on the internet. Although it is most commonly marketed in seed form, if you come across powdered, pass it up since the flavour will have deteriorated; instead, purchase the seeds and grind them yourself as needed. Most of the time, the spice is sold in bulk or wrapped in plastic bags. Choose thymol seeds that are fresh, crisp, and fragrant; thymol that has been lying on a shelf for a long period of time will have lost most of its aroma. You can buy fresh & authentic thymol seeds from Vasant Masala's e-store.
Promotes Digestion: The most efficient home cure for a stomach condition is thymol seeds, which work like magic. The active enzymes in ajwain aid digestion by allowing stomach fluids to flow more freely. It also aids in the prevention and treatment of chronic indigestion issues such as gaseous distention, stomach discomfort, and bloating. According to certain research, thymol seeds can help with stomach and intestinal ulcers.
Fights Against Infection: Seeds of thymol have antibacterial and antifungal effects. The active ingredient in ajwain, thymol, inhibits the development of bacteria and fungi such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Candida albicans.
Treats Common Cold and Cough: When used to treat coughs and colds, thymol acts as a decongestant. Thymol helps a clogged nose by allowing mucus to be discharged freely. It has a strong ability to clear congested nasal passages. It also enhances lung airflow, which is beneficial in asthma and bronchitis.
Enhances Good Cholesterol Levels: Thymol seeds assist in the reduction of bad cholesterol and the regulation of good cholesterol levels. These seeds are abundant in dietary fibre and fatty acids, which help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Reduces Blood Pressure: The thymol in the seeds aids with blood pressure control. Thymol seeds may similarly inhibit calcium channels, according to animal research. It helps to reduce blood pressure by preventing calcium from entering cardiac cells and blood vessel walls.
Relieves Joint Pain: Thymol seeds have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects. These qualities may aid in the treatment of arthritic symptoms. It relieves joint redness, swelling, and discomfort. You can apply ajwain seed paste to the damaged joints or soak a handful of ajwain seeds in a tub of hot water.
Cures Tooth and Ear Pain: Among the several forms of aches, tooth and ear pains are the two most painful. Earache is mysteriously relieved by thymol oil. If you have a toothache, gargle with lukewarm water containing thymol seeds and a pinch of salt.
Aids Weight Loss: In Ayurveda, ajwain water is widely suggested for weight management. It aids in the cleansing of your digestive system as well as the promotion of metabolism, which leads to weight reduction. 2 teaspoons of ajwain seeds, roasted, added to boiling water to make ajwain water Stir this mixture until it turns a brown hue. Allow it to cool before straining it. For best effects, drink this water on a regular basis. A spoonful of honey can be added for taste.
Ajwain does not have any negative side effects when used in moderation. However, if taken excessively, it may cause side effects in a small number of people. Overuse can aggravate stomach ulcers, so patients with diverticulitis, liver illness, or ulcerative colitis should avoid it. In the event of adverse effects, always seek medical advice.