Caraway

Also indexed as:Carum carvi
Caraway: Main Image© Martin Wall
Botanical names:
Carum carvi

How It Works

Caraway contains 3–7% volatile oil, with the main components divided into carvone (50–60%) and limonene (40%).24 The fruit also contains approximately 10% fixed oil along with 20% carbohydrate and 20% protein. Caraway belongs to a class of herbs called carminatives, which are plants helpful in easing gastrointestinal discomfort, including gas. The volatile oils derived from this group of plants may help alleviate bowel spasm.25

There are no human clinical trials on caraway as a single entity. However, it has been used with success in combination with enteric-coated peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).26, 27 People using this combination reported experiencing less pain and noted an overall improvement in their bowel symptoms compared to those who took a comparable placebo. A combination of caraway with the other carminative herbs anise and fennel has shown to be helpful in dealing with conditions of flatulence and mild abdominal cramping, especially in children.28

How to Use It

Use approximately 1/4–1/2 teaspoon (0.5–2 grams) of powdered caraway fruit to make tea; drink it three times a day. Tinctures of the extracted herb (0.5–4 ml) are sometimes used three times per day. The enteric-coated volatile oil (0.05–0.2 ml) can be taken three times daily (usually in combination with enteric-coated peppermint oil) for irritable bowel syndrome.29

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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