Caraway Oil's Digestive Benefits: From Ancient Wisdom to Clinical Trials
Article

Caraway Oil's Digestive Benefits: From Ancient Wisdom to Clinical Trials

Published on Monday, March 18, 2024
by
Haley McGaha

Health & Wellness

Embracing the Power of Nature: Exploring the Medicinal Legacy of Caraway Oil

The views on using caraway as a medicinal agent have remained unchanged for centuries. It was first mentioned as a digestive aid in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus in about 1500 B.C. It was even mentioned in Shakespeare’s Henry IV to help aid in digestion and relieve gas!  

Caraway Oil's Carminative Properties: Easing Digestive Discomfort 

Caraway, or Carum carvi, is a biennial plant native to western Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa. It has many uses in easing digestive discomfort. In the European Union, caraway is used for the relief of digestive disorders like bloating and gas. Persian traditional scholars use caraway to help with gas and stomach pain. Ibn Sina, a historical figure known for his contributions to medicine, also recommends caraway for stomach aches, burping, gas, and intestinal spasms.

Several clinical trials have looked at the effectiveness of managing functional dyspepsia. For instance, a study involving 39 participants utilized a double-blind, placebo-controlled approach. The participants were administered an enteric-coated combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil orally, three times daily for a duration of 4 weeks. The results indicated a significant reduction in dyspepsia pain compared to the placebo group. Specifically, after four weeks, 63.2% of participants in the treatment group reported being pain-free, while only 25% of the placebo group experienced the same outcome.

Combating Bloating with Caraway Oil: Promoting Gastrointestinal Motility 

Caraway possesses antispasmodic effects and is used for stomach aches, constipation, and nausea. It increases the production of stomach juice and helps release bile, therefore helping the digestive process.

Numerous studies suggest that caraway can effectively alleviate bloating, yet specific usage guidelines remain unclear. While some sources suggest brewing one teaspoon of caraway seeds in a cup of water for 5-10 minutes and consuming it after meals to combat bloating, it's essential to note that individual responses may vary. Although trying natural remedies like caraway may seem harmless, it's always prudent to consult a medical professional before incorporating herbs and supplements into your routine. Prioritizing your health and well-being, seek guidance from a healthcare provider to ensure safe and effective usage.

Caraway Oil's Antimicrobial Potential: Supporting Gut Health 

Caraway essential oil has garnered significant attention in numerous studies owing to its potent antimicrobial properties. In rats, caraway extracts and essential oils have been shown to reduce inflammation and infiltration of white blood cells in mucus and sub-mucosal layers. These findings position Caraway as a promising candidate for managing conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. 

Additionally, in a study examining the effectiveness of caraway oil poultices, people who tried these poultices reported feeling the most relief, suggesting that they could be a helpful way for individuals to manage their symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on their own.

Caraway Oil's Therapeutic and Culinary Uses

As research on Caraway expands, its diverse applications have come to light. Historically, the seeds have been integral to Medieval Iranian medicine, where they were believed to possess antiepileptic properties. Additionally, Caraway has garnered attention for its potential benefits in weight loss and fertility. Notably, it is recognized for its anti-diabetic, diuretic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Caraway seeds are versatile ingredients that enhance the flavor of a wide range of dishes. They offer a predominantly nutty taste with subtle bittersweet notes and hints of citrus. Whether used whole or ground, caraway seeds add depth to both sweet and savory recipes. Commonly utilized to flavor bread, potatoes, apples, soups, stews, and salads, they contribute a unique and aromatic essence to culinary creations.

When used therapeutically, it is often in the form of tea, taken as a supplement, or as an essential oil. 

Safety Considerations and Potential Side Effects of Caraway Oil 

When taken orally, caraway is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. However, certain precautions should be noted, especially for specific populations:

  • Pregnancy: Caraway may be unsafe during pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding: It is not recommended to use caraway while breastfeeding due to insufficient reliable information regarding its safety for nursing infants.
  • Hemochromatosis (Excess Iron): Individuals with hemochromatosis, or those with elevated levels of iron in the body, should avoid caraway as it may increase iron absorption.
  • Surgery: If you are scheduled for surgery, it is advisable to discontinue caraway intake at least two weeks before the procedure. 
  • Liver Disease, Gallstones, or Biliary Disorders: Caraway is not recommended for individuals with liver disease, gallstones, or other biliary disorders.

Always consult your healthcare provider before considering any dietary supplements, ensuring that the chosen supplement is safe and suitable for your health conditions and medical history. For more information on selecting the right supplements, check out this smart supplement shopping essentials article!

 

  1. Caraway. PeaceHealth. (2015, May 23). https://www.peacehealth.org/medical-topics/id/hn-2060004  
  2. Chey, W. D., Lacy, B. E., Cash, B. D., Epstein, M., Corsino, P. E., & Shah, S. M. (2019). A Novel, Duodenal-Release Formulation of a Combination of Caraway Oil and L-Menthol for the Treatment of Functional Dyspepsia: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Clinical and translational gastroenterology, 10(4), e00021. https://doi.org/10.14309/ctg.0000000000000021 
  3. Gorji, A., & Khaleghi Ghadiri, M. (2001). History of epilepsy in Medieval Iranian medicine. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 25(5), 455–461. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0149-7634(01)00025-2 
  4. Kazemipoor, M., Radzi, C. W., Hajifaraji, M., Haerian, B. S., Mosaddegh, M. H., & Cordell, G. A. (2013). Antiobesity effect of caraway extract on overweight and obese women: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2013, 928582. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/928582 
  5. Keshavarz, A., Minaiyan, M., Ghannadi, A., & Mahzouni, P. (2013). Effects of Carum carvi L. (Caraway) extract and essential oil on TNBS-induced colitis in rats. Research in pharmaceutical sciences, 8(1), 1–8.
  6. Lauche, R., Janzen, A., Lüdtke, R., Cramer, H., Dobos, G., & Langhorst, J. (2015). Efficacy of Caraway Oil Poultices in Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome--A Randomized Controlled Cross-Over Trial. Digestion, 92(1), 22–31. https://doi.org/10.1159/000398790 
  7. Mahboubi M. (2019). Caraway as Important Medicinal Plants in Management of Diseases. Natural products and bioprospecting, 9(1), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13659-018-0190-x 
  8. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2006-). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®) [Internet]. Bethesda, MD. Caraway. Retrieved March 21, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501791/ 
  9. Peter, K. V. (Ed.). (2001). Handbook of Herbs and Spices (Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition). Woodhead Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-1-85573-562-0.50003-4 

 

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