Therapeutic Properties Described in The Aromatherapy Literature
From The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils3:
- Antihistamine, Antimicrobial, Antiseptic, Aperitif, Astringent, Carminative, Diuretic, Stimulant, Stomachic, Tonic
From Aromatherapy for Health Professionals4:
- Caraway essential oil can be used in an abdominal or foot massage before meals to aid digestion.
- Caraway has been used in digestive and aperitif drinks for centuries.
- Tonic and warming properties
Caraway in Research
In addition to its aromatic qualities, research has demonstrated that caraway has many medicinal properties as well. Studies have shown that caraway has strong antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, anti-cancer properties, anti-hyperglycemic activity against diabetes, effectiveness as a diuretic, anti-stress and adaptogenic effects, relief of dyspeptic symptoms, gastrointestinal benefits and anti-ulcer activity.1
Summary of Research Studies:
- Caraway extract was shown to have potent lipid-lowering activity in rats, reducing hyperlipidemia, which is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease.5
- A study in rats showed that caraway, as well as tansy, “have strong diuretic action confirming their ethnopharmacological use”.6
- Caraway was shown to have antioxidant activity in vitro, and liver protecting activity in animal models.7
- Caraway oil was found to have significant antimicrobial and antibacterial activity against food contaminants, spoilage fungi, and pathogenic bacteria.8
- Study showed that oral treatment of caraway in rats reduced the development of colon cancer.9
Rats administered with caraway extract prior to exposure to stress test exhibited reduced stress reactions and improved cognitive function compared to those not given caraway. Researchers cite these results as scientific support for caraway’s “traditional use as a culinary spice in foods as beneficial and scientific in combating stress induced disorders.”10
Caraway seed oil is considered non-toxic and non-sensitizing, however, it should not be used on the skin undiluted as it has been known to irritate mucous membranes.
1 Johri, R.K. “Cuminum Cyminum and Carum Carvi: An Update.” Pharmacognosy Reviews, vol. 5, no. 9, 2011, pp. 63–72., doi:10.4103/0973-7847.79101.
2 Faas, Patrick. Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome. Palgrave-Macmillan, 2002.
3 Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: the Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-Being. Fall River Press, 2014.
4 Price, Len. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2011.
5 Agrahari, P. and Singh, D. K. “A review on the pharmacological aspects of Carum carvi.” Journal of Biology and Earth Sciences, [S.l.], vol. 4, n0. 1, pp. M1-M13, Feb. 2014. ISSN 2084-3577.
6 Lahlou, Sanaa, et al. “Diuretic Activity of the Aqueous Extracts of Carum Carvi and Tanacetum Vulgare in Normal Rats.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 110, no. 3, 2007, pp. 458–463., doi:10.1016/j.jep.2006.10.005.
7 Samojlik, Isidora, et al. “Antioxidant and Hepatoprotective Potential of Essential Oils of Coriander (Coriandrum Sativum L.) and Caraway (Carum Carvi L.) (Apiaceae).” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 58, no. 15, 7 July 2010, pp. 8848–8853., doi:10.1021/jf101645n.
8 Simic, A., et al. “Essential Oil Composition of Cymbopogon Winterianus. and Carum Carvi. and Their Antimicrobial Activities.” Pharmaceutical Biology, vol. 46, no. 6, 2008, pp. 437–441., doi:10.1080/13880200802055917.
9 Kamaleeswari, Muthaiyan, et al. “Effect of Dietary Caraway (Carum Carvi L.) on Aberrant Crypt Foci Development, Fecal Steroids, and Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase Activities in 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine-Induced Colon Carcinogenesis.” Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, vol. 214, no. 3, 2006, pp. 290–296., doi:10.1016/j.taap.2006.01.001.