10 Caraway Oil Benefits That Are Sure To Fascinate You

Did you know that in the 17thcentury, caraway seeds were coated with sugar and were consumed after a meal to aid healthy digestion? And that’s not the only perk that this herb offers. Caraway oil benefits are enormous and can help in maintaining a great health.

Let’s understand in detail.

What is Caraway Oil?

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Caraway essential oil is extracted from the seeds of Carvum carvi and is steamdistilled. They select the ripened seeds, dry them first, crush them, and extract the oil via steam distillation. Caraway seeds produce around 2 – 8% of essential oil. (1)

It has innumerable health benefits such as easing digestive troubles and joint aches. Moreover, the benefits are also proven by different studies, which certify the traditional uses of caraway oil.

Scientific Name of Caraway Oil

The botanical name of caraway is Carvum carvi.

Fact: Caraway seeds are often misunderstood to be cumin. However, both the spices are different and have a color that can be easily distinguished.

  • Color: Caraway seeds are darker
  • Size: Cumin seeds are larger than caraway
  • Taste: Caraway seeds are less spicy

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History of Caraway Oil

Caraway is a common household plant and is used throughout the world for various purposes. However, they are most commonly used in the north and central parts of Europe, Egypt, China, Australia, and Iran.

Caraway is also known as Carum, Apium carvi, or Carum carvi. It is the member of the Apiaceae family.  

You can identify caraway by its smooth, furrowed stems, which grow up to 2 feet high. It also has tender-soft, fern-like leaves and white or pink flowers, which bloom in the month of June. (2)

The plant also resembles carrot plants. Caraway seeds are the fruits of caraway. They are curved and laterally compressed. They also have a stimulated, translucent appearance, and are marked with 5 distinctive pale ridges. Once they are bruised, the fruits release an aromatic and pleasant odor.

Caraway spice is popularly in Europe and in the Indian subcontinent. It is useful as a spice in foods and beverages as well as an alternative herbal medicine for digestive tract ailments including such as indigestion, bloating (gas), diarrhea (loose stools), and colic pain.

People chew caraway seeds after a meal to sweeten their breath and to relieve heartburn after a rich meal. The seeds are also well-known for treating respiratory infections, including cough, especially in children.

It also increases the production of breast milk in nursing mothers. Caraway seeds have licorice-flavor and give rye bread its unique taste. Caraway seeds are widely used in cheese, cheese spreads, soups, salad dressings, liqueurs, and sauerkraut. They are a rich source of protein & fat.

The history says placing your valuable objects with caraway seeds prevented them from theft. Another legend states that caraway plants prevent lovers from losing interest in each other. But these are just myths and people believed them in those days.

Color, Consistency, and Smell of Caraway oil

  • The color of Caraway oil is colorless to pale yellow liquid.
  • The consistency of Caraway oil is thin.
  • The smell of Caraway oil is sweet and spicy with a slight peppery smell.

Fact: Poland & Hungary are the leading producers of caraway oil.

Properties Of Caraway Essential Oil

The medicinal properties of caraway seed essential oil are:

  • Antidepressant – Relieves stress and alleviates mental strain
  • Expectorant - Relieves blockage by letting you spit out sputum
  • Antiseptic - Kills harmful microbes
  • Anti-histaminic - Prevents excess cold
  • Anti-spasmodic - Relieves spasms
  • Carminative - Eliminates gas
  • Disinfectant - Prevents diseases
  • Diuretic - Helps in passing urine and normalizing your blood pressure
  • Astringent - Reduces excess oiliness
  • Tonic - Boosts overall wellbeing
  • Antimicrobial - Fights disease-causing bacteria
  • Antifungal – Effective against fungal infections
  • Aromatic - Slightly sweet and peppery aroma
  • Antioxidant - Fights oxidation and diseases

Besides the above, the other properties include:

  • Comforting
  • Warm
  • Slightly sensual
  • Tissue regenerator
  • Fights emotional fatigue
  • Warming
  • Helps in digestion

Chemical Compounds in Caraway Oil

The composition of caraway oil varies based on the distillation and how ripened the fruits are. The major components of caraway oil include: (3)

  • D-carvone
  • Cumuninic aldehyde
  • Furfural
  • Limonene
  • Linalool
  • Carvone
  • Acetaldehyde
  • P-cymene
  • Diacetyl furfural
  • Carveol
  • Acetic aldehyde
  • Methyl alcohol
  • Linalyl acetate

Fact: The compound carvone increases and limonene decrease with fruit ripening, which results in a better quality of the oil.

Benefits Of Caraway Oil

Health Benefits of Caraway Oil  

Though caraway oil benefits are abundant, the most noteworthy ones demonstrated by different studies in recent years are explained in detail below.

  • Treats rheumatism
  • Incredible flavoring agent
  • Protects your kidneys
  • Maintains a healthy liver
  • Treats functional dyspepsia
  • Eases respiratory infections
  • Promotes healthy skin & hair
  • Prevents atherosclerosis
  • Lowers cholesterol & blood sugar levels
  • Aids in healthy digestion

 1. Treats rheumatism

Historically, caraway oil has been known for treating rheumatism (an autoimmune condition of joints, which is accompanied by pain, swelling, redness, and loss of movement of affected joints).

Autoimmune diseases are issues where your body acts against its own tissues, thinking them as foreign. The immune response is usually generated and is useful when there is an attack by foreign invaders such as harmful virus and fungi. In autoimmune diseases, there is an altered immune response, which is detrimental to your body. (4, 5)

2. Incredible flavoring agent

Caraway oil adds flavor to foods, alcoholic beverages, and medicines. It has aromatic properties. When bruised, caraway seeds release a pleasant and aromatic odor. Traditionally, caraway seeds were used to flavor various foods such as cheese, bread, pickles, sauces, meat, stews, soups, baked goods, and other seasonings.

We can trace its usage back to the Stone Age. The Egyptians added caraway seeds for flavoring their foods, the Romans used it for bread making. Germans and Austrians too used it in culinary applications during the Middle Ages. Thanks to its distinctive, earthy licorice flavor. (6)

3. Protects your kidneys

People who are suffering from obstructed urination (difficulty passing urine), high blood pressure, and renal calculi (kidney stones) can benefit from caraway oil.

The urination-stimulating effect of caraway oil helps to lower blood pressure, reduce fat, eliminate uric acid (or waste), and cleans all the wastes from your kidneys.

The volatile oil from caraway also protects your kidneys from the oxidative damage in the advanced stages of sepsis or infection. (7)

4. Maintains a healthy liver

The compound carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) is well known for its use in refrigerators, dry cleaning solvents, and fire extinguishers. But later on, its potential health hazards such as liver damage came into the picture.

Based on research conducted in rats, it was proven that caraway volatile oil protects the liver from tetrachloride-induced liver toxicity. (8)

Caraway is a well-known carminative, antiseptic, antiasthmatic, and intestinal spasmolytic.

Based on the GC–MS & GC analysis executed in this research, 17 different compounds were recognized from the essential oil obtained from Iranian caraway seeds. It had major compounds like cumin aldehyde, g-terpinene-7-al, p-cymene, and g-terpinene with different pharmacological & physiological properties like antioxidant as well as hepatoprotective.

This research was conducted specifically to evaluate the protective effects of caraway essential oil against iron nanoparticles induced hepatotoxicity in rats.

The results were brilliant. It proved that caraway essential oil healed liver injuries and its antioxidants inhibited the oxidative stress. (9)

5. Treats functional dyspepsia

Functional dyspepsia is also known as indigestion or non-ulcer dyspepsia. It is a term that states a group of symptoms such as stomach pain, discomfort in the stomach, nausea, vomiting sensation, bloating (gas), and excess burping.

However, caraway oil fights functional dyspepsia when used along with peppermint oil (due to the presence of menthol). (10) But like any other essential oil, even caraway essential oil is potent. Hence, it is important to dilute it with a carrier oil before using it on the skin. (11, 12)

When applied topically (but diluted) on the abdomen, caraway oil can relieve the symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). But this is not recommended for individuals under 18 years. This tip works because caraway has anti-colic & carminative properties.

6. Eases respiratory infections

One of the best health benefits of caraway oil is that it helps in treating respiratory infections. Thanks to its expectorant properties. It fights cough, bronchitis, and asthma.

Bronchitis is a severe form of cold. There’s cough, congestion (blocked nose & chest), and fever, which lasts for weeks.

Asthma is a condition where the airways constrict due to spasms. There’s inflammation (swelling and pain), and excess mucus production, which make it difficult to breathe. If not treated on time, it can get severe and dangerous.

Caraway can help in this. Besides being an expectorant, it also has demulcent (or irritation-relieving properties), which make it useful in reducing respiratory disorders. (13, 14)

7. Promotes healthy skin & hair

Caraway essential oil gives you beautiful skin and hair. Thanks to its tissue regenerating properties, which help you clear acne, pimples, and boils. It also soothes dandruff, other scalp problems, and itchy skin. (15, 16)

8. Prevents atherosclerosis

Caraway oil prevents atherosclerosis. (17) This is mainly due to its compounds, especially carvone and flavonoids - both have powerful antioxidant properties.

Atherosclerosis is a phenomenon where bad cholesterol gets deposited in the blood vessel walls. Thus, the blood vessel walls get stiff, and blood vessel lumen (space) narrows down too. It is dangerous, as it can lead to blood clots, high blood pressure, heart diseases such as heart attacks and deadly conditions such as stroke.

9. Lowers cholesterol & blood sugar levels

Diabetes is a disease accompanied by high Blood Sugar Levels (BSL).

Cholesterol is fat, which is harmful when it exceeds normal limits.

The good news is that caraway essential oil lowers cholesterol. A study conducted on diabetic rats found that caraway lowered cholesterol as well as high blood sugar, and another study showed significant cholesterol reduction in both regular and diabetic rats. (18)

10. Aids in healthy digestion

Caraway essential oil addresses stomach issues such as gastric spasms and upset stomach. It is used as a digestive aid from ancient times and was first mentioned in the Egyptian texts on the herbal knowledge dating 1550 BC.

In the Middle Age, people consumed caraway seeds after a big feast to enhance healthy digestion. It also prevented bloating, upset stomach, and digestive issues. The recent research has confirmed this statement too.

In fact, in Germany, where the healing power of herbs is widely accepted, Commission E, a scientific advisory board that approves substances used in folk, herbal, and traditional medicines (from olden times), has certified caraway for spastic, mild conditions of the GI (Gastrointestinal) tract, fullness, and bloating from 1990.

More than 25 years later, in 2016, the University of Würzburg in Germany chose caraway as the medicinal plant of the year in order to highlight its scientific importance as an effective medicine.

The compounds carvol and carvene present in caraway essential oil soothes the muscles of the digestive tract, relieving spasms and helping to expel gas (19, 20)

What Blends with Caraway Oil?

Caraway oil blends the best with:

How To Use Caraway Oil?

Uses Of Caraway Oil

You can use caraway oil topically (but diluted)/via inhalation/diffusion.

  • Aromatherapy: To soothe your digestive system, nerves, and boost your respiratory system, diffuse a few drops of the oil via a diffuser.
  • Massage: To relieve your aches, you can mix 3 - 5 drops of caraway essential oil with 2 tablespoons of almond oil. Use this mixture to massage your aching muscles. You can also add a few drops of the essential oil to warm bath water and soak yourself in it.
  • Dandruff & healthy skin: To treat your scalp and skin, add a couple of drops of caraway oil to your shampoo, lotion, or cream.

Note: A few people use caraway oil to promote breast milk production. However, it is best to use under medical supervision because its effects on the growing baby are not well studied.

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Side Effects of Caraway Oil

  • Always speak to your doctor before you start using the oil. You need to exercise extra caution if you are a senior citizen, are on any medication, have an allergy, or nursing.
  • Caraway is safe in therapeutic doses, but you need to be cautious about the right dosage.
  • Dilute the oil externally to relieve pain, including bloating.
  • Never use the oil if you are pregnant, as it can induce menstrual bleeding.
  • In diabetics, high dosage of caraway oil can reduce blood sugar to such an extent that it can cause low blood sugar. Remember, a low BSL (Blood Sugar Level) is more dangerous than high BSL. Low BSL can cause shock, coma, and death if not treated on time.
  • Also, you should avoid caraway 2 weeks before undergoing surgery to prevent low BSL consequences.
  • The oil may cause skin irritation and rashes when you use it in higher concentrations.
  • Overdosing for a long time can also lead to liver and kidney damage. Overdose studies on rats also confirm testicular atrophy (reduction in the size of testicles and growth retardation.
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