Would you eat an eight thousand year old seed? Chances are you already have. Well, not one single seed-but the same breed. Evidence of caraway seed use has been found in eight thousand year old nomadic caves. If humans have been using the same seed for millennia, it’s time to find out why! Let’s look at a quick history of the caraway seed and see why pure essential oils like caraway have made their way into the forefront of medical science.
A History of Caraway
Quite possibly the oldest known spice, the seed of the Carum carvi plant is known commonly as caraway. Ancient Egyptian cultures used caraway seed for religious purposes, and it was believed to be a part of the mummification process. The Romans ate caraway seeds after meals to freshen the breath, and the seed was also commonly added to foods to preserve their shelf life. Caraway seed was mentioned by many dieticians of the time as the digestive of choice.
It may come as no surprise that one of the largest reasons caraway seed is harvested in the modern era is for its use as a digestive. Today, it is commonly used in Central European and Indian recipes; to flavor dishes and facilitate digestion.
Caraway Seed Essential Oil
Caraway seed hosts a great number of other benefits to the body as well! Thanks to modern steam extraction methods, we can now enjoy these additional benefits through the use of pure caraway essential oil.
In The Body
The main component of caraway essential oil, Carvone, has been heavily studied as of late. The discovery and study of Carvone has led to many medical breakthroughs in the natural world; and this is no exception. Caraway oil is a potent anti-inflammatory thanks to its high levels of Carvone. In this study, Carvone was among the list of aromatherapeutic components which showed significant anti-inflammatory effect in numerous doses.
Need a mid-day break after lunch to relax and reduce bodily tension? A few drops of caraway essential oil mixed with bergamot essential oil can be added to an aromatherapy diffuser and inhaled for 15-30 minutes.
The benefits of bergamot essential oil are numerous; when mixed with caraway, they can produce a synergistic effect. The result is a fresh, invigorating feeling which will put the spring back in your step.
This is due in part to caraway’s use as an antispasmodic. From muscle spasms in the shoulder to cramps in the abdomen, caraway essential oil brings relaxation to stressed muscles.
A recent comprehensive medical review of caraway seed highlighted its potential for use fighting carcinogens. Subjects exposed to a colon specific carcinogen showed no signs of cancer or pre-cancerous cells when treated with caraway. This is big news in the field. A plant based medicine which is more effective than chemical medicines is sure to cause waves.
Digestive & Carminative
Ancient cultures knew what they were talking about with this one. The essential oil from these tiny seeds makes a BIG difference when it comes to digestive health.
A recent study posted to the NCBI even connected caraway and weight loss. This study focused on physically active overweight or obese women. The participants had no dietary restrictions; they were simply asked to continue exercise and supplement with caraway extract. The study concluded that caraway seed extract coupled with exercise can be a valuable therapy for weight loss.
By now, it may be obvious that caraway essential oil is good for the digestive system. But one study takes it a bit further, stating caraway essential oil may heal the colon. The study focused on subjects with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The researchers found that caraway essential oil effectively reduces colon tissue lesions in test subjects- no matter the dose! So, whether you use caraway essential oil daily or sporadically, it helps heal your colon.
For The Brain
Stimulants like caraway oil act in many different ways. The scent of caraway oil alone is enough to stimulate digestion, as messages to increase saliva and digestive enzymes are sent from your brain the second the smell hits your nose.
Caraway oil also stimulates the nervous system-helping to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and fatigue. Carvone, the key component of caraway essential oil, has been linked to reduced anxiety symptoms in test subjects. Defensive behaviors in the brains of subjects with generalized anxiety disorder were lowered when exposed to Carvone.
On The Skin
Carvone has been linked to a host of medical benefits recently in fact, thanks to numerous studies. One such study found that the Carvone in caraway essential oil kills microbes and bacteria. The study tested various essential oils against the two most worrisome microbial strains out there- Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Researchers found that essential oils containing Carvone can be an effective way to naturally kill bacteria-especially anti-biotic resistant strains.
A similar study named caraway oil a fungicide. The article stated that Carvacrol, a key constituent in caraway essential oil, was an effective antibacterial fungicide which showed promise as a food preserver. Seems those ancient cultures had some timeless wisdom to share with us after all.
One Last Note
It should be noted that caraway oil is powerful, and as such should be respected. The pure oil should always be diluted; pay attention to any reactions your body may have to it when applied on the skin. Children and pregnant women should use caraway oil under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.
The most important thing to consider when purchasing caraway oil is the purity of the product. Always look for pure essential oils. Pure oils are not only the most beneficial – they are the safest. Read more about pure essential oils and how they can positively affect your life.
What is your favorite caraway seed oil recipe? Tell us about it in the comments below.