Caraway has had a number of different names, such as meridian fennel and Persian cumin. Its Latin name is Carum Carvi. It is actually a perennial herb plant, although it can be planted as a biennial in a temperate climate. It likes warm, sunny climates (don’t we all) and thrives in well-drained, nutrient enriched soil. The most prolific area to provide the rest of the world with this ingredient is Finland, where it can enjoy long days and evenings of sunshine.
Origins of Caraway
Caraway, (Carum Carvi) appears to have a very muddled past and it is thought that it has been called fennel in other countries. It has been used for centuries and its anise-type flavour is very noticeable. Traditionally it is generally found in western Asia, Europe, and North Africa.
Popular Uses of Caraway
It is often used in food and baking. It has a pungent aroma and strong taste, so very little is needed when added to recipes. It is popular in dishes that have chillies or other strong flavours as it gives a wonderful undertone to any recipe.
In European countries it is often used central to desserts or scones. One of the most delicious puddings is called meghli, and this is a firm favourite during the season of Ramadan.
Caraway seeds are often added to bread, especially by the Jewish population.
Caraway fruit oil is processed and turned into creams, lotions, perfumes and fragrances. It is often used as a breath freshener.
Caraway oil is often combined with other essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile, either in a diffuser or oil burner or added to a carrier oil for beneficial massage. It has a pungent, peppery scent, so very little is needed otherwise it will overpower the other aromas.
Health Benefits of Caraway
Caraway is an excellent insect deterrent! Whether that is on the skin or in a diffuser or oil burner nearby. There are other wonderful health benefits associated with Caraway essential oil. These include:
- Helps emotional issues such as fatigue or strain
- Helps with digestion issues
- Increases respiratory functions
- Eases irritation on scalp and skin
- Used as an anti-histamine
- Helps with urinary or diuretic issues
- Antispasmodic so can help with cramps or stomach pains, including period pains
- Can be added to water and used as a disinfectant around the home
- It can help clear chest and breathing problems such as bronchitis or asthma
- It can help encourage new mothers to lactate
- Can help with toothache
- Reduces inflammation
A Look at Caraway Essential Oils
Caraway essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the dried ripe seeds. This oil can cause irritation in some people if used in high doses, so use sparingly in whatever form you choose to take it.
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