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Information about the herb Caraway

Carum carvi , also known as Caraway fruit is part of the Umbelliferae plant family. It is found in Northern and Central Europe, Siberia, Turkey, Iran, India and North Africa. There are several varieties.

General Information
Plant Constituents
Caraway (Carum carvi)

General Information

Botanical Name: Carum carvi

Plant Family: Umbelliferae

Common Names: Alcaravea, Caraway Fruit, Caraway Seed

History:  The use of Caraway originated with the ancient Arabs who called the seeds Karawya and it was Alcaravea in Old Spanish.

The aromatic umbelliferous plants have carminative properties and include:

  • Anise
  • Cumin 
  • Dill 
  • Fennel

Pliny recommended it for:

  • hysterical complaints
  • pale complexions

Tradition: The Roots were supposed to have been mixed with milk to make ‘Chara’, a bread eaten by Julius Caesar and his soldiers of Valerius.

  • if hung in the house it was thought to prevent theft
  • it was thought to keep lovers faithful
  • it was thought to keep pigeons and fowls from straying

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Plant Constituents of Caraway

Medicinal Parts Used: Fruit and leaves


  • a mobile liquid (similar to Spearmint menthol)
  • Carvene, a hydrocarbon (also found in oils of Dill and Cummin)
  • Carvol, an oxygenated oil
  • fat (seed)
  • protein (seed)
  • volatile oil (4-7%)


  • antispasmodic [an agent which relieves or eases muscular spasms, cramps or convulsions]
  • appetizer [an agent that excites the appetite]
  • aromatic [a substance having an agreeable odor and stimulating qualities]
  • carminative [an agent for easing griping pains, colic and expelling gas from the intestines]
    emmenagogue [an agent that promotes menstrual flow]
    expectorant [an agent that promotes the discharge of mucous and secretions from the respiratory passages]
    galactagogue [an agent that encourages or increases the secretion of milk]
    stimulant [an agent that excites or quickens the functional activity of the tissues giving more energy]
    stomachic [an agent that strengthens, stimulates or tones the stomach]
    tonic [an agent that tones, strengthens and invigorates organs or the entire organism giving a feeling of well-being]

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Usage of Caraway

Caraway is used for:

Brain and Nervous System Conditions

  • hysterical disorders

Female Conditions

  • promotes the onset of menstruation
  • relieves uterine cramps

The Oil is used for:

  • promoting the production of breast milk in nursing mothers

Gastrointestinal Conditions

  • diarrhea
  • dyspepsia
  • flatulence (gas/wind)
  • flatulent colic in infants
  • settles the stomach after taking nauseous medicines
  • soothes the digestive system

The Oil is used for:

  • easing colic when rubbed on the abdomen of the infant

Respiratory Tract Conditions

The Oil is used for:

  • bronchitis
  • easing chest congestion


The Oil is used for:

  • boils in the ear
  • earache
  • toothache

Externally the powder of the seeds made into a poultice is used:

  • for sprained ankles
  • to reduce bruising

Other Uses:

  • eaten when young the Roots taste like parsnip
  • flavoring in cooking CARAWAY
  • flavoring in confectionary
  • flavoring in liqueurs, especially Kummel, a German and Russian drink (the oil is extracted from the fruit)
  • the Leaves possess similar properties and have been used n soups to give an aromatic flavor
  • the seeds are sprinkled on cakes, used in cheeses

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Global Herbal Supplies has Caraway available in the following forms


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