Carum carvi

Plant family: Apiaceae aka Umbelliferae (Carrot family)

Part used: seed (aka fruit)

Taste: spicy, aromatic

Historical commentary: The herb was originally used by the Arabs and came to Europe early; it was known to Dioscorides.


Digestive aid: relieves gas and bloating (carminative), improves appetite and alleviates gastric insufficiency and distress (stomachic), promotes the flow of bile (promotes digestion of fats; may help alleviate fullness and constipation). It has mild laxative action (promoting gastro-intestinal motility). Note: in Europe, caraway is mainly used as a digestive aid.

Antispasmodic: alleviates intestinal cramping; used for colic in infants.

Modern findings: The herb has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions; it has antioxidant activity, promoting the production of glutathione; the oil of the seed is mildly estrogenic.

Dosage: 3 grams; lesser amounts in formulas.

Active constituents: The essential oil is responsible for the main actions of the herb. Its principal ingredient is carvene.

Cautions: None noted.

Künzle Formula: Laxative Tea.