Caraway (Carum carvi)

Caraway is an aromatic, herbaceous perennial herb in the Apiaceae, or carrot family that grows wild in sunny areas under elevations of 6000 ft throughout Europe, North Africa, and North America. It has a rigid, hollow, upright stem, feathery bi or tri-pinnate leaves, white carrot like roots, and compound umbels of white to yellow flowers that mature into exploding brown capsules, each of which contain two narrow dark seeds. The seeds are harvested in the late summer.

Parts Used

Medicinal Uses
Caraway functions as a carminative, anti-spasmodic, expectorant, emenagogue, astringent, galactagogue, and aromatic herb. It’s especially useful for flatulent dyspepsia and intestinal colic, making it a good ingredient for post-meal breath refreshers and digestives as well as pre-meal appetizer. It aids digestion, and it’s pleasant flavor and aroma makes it easy to give to children. It’s lightly astringent qualities can help control diarrhea, as well as being a useful treatment for laryngitis when used as a gargle. It’s mild expectorant qualities are useful for treating bronchitis and bronchial asthma. In addition to all this, it’s anti-spasmodic qualities can give some relief from menstrual cramps.

Folk Uses
The seeds are commonly used in cooking and baking worldwide. They are recorded historically as useful herbs for the digestive system to aid digestion and reduce gas. It’s also often given to lactating mothers to increase the flow of milk. Caraway oil is also a useful anesthetic for toothaches, and the powder in a poultice is said to help heal bruises.

Flavor Profile and Energetics
Spicy, warm

As an infusion, 1 tsp of seeds per cup of water, steeped for 10-15 minutes, three times daily. As a tincture, 2-4 ml three times daily. The seeds can be used liberally whole or powdered to taste as a culinary ingredient.

For your farty friend, combine it with chamomile and calamus. For diarrhea, combine with agrimony and bayberry. For asthma and breathing troubles, combine with white horehound.


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Caraway in flower

Caraway in flower

A field of caraway in Colorado

A field of caraway in Colorado