(Carum carvi var. ‘Caraway')
Caraway is a biennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia but can be commonly found growing in meadows, prairies, and along roadsides throughout the northern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 12-18” and features feathery fronds and umbrella shaped clusters of tiny white flowers. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees, butterflies, damsel bugs, hoverflies, lacewings, ladybugs, and predatory wasps, and is also both edible and medicinal!
Health Benefits of Caraway
Native to: Afghanistan, Albania, Altay, Amur, Austria, Baltic States, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Buryatiya, Central European Rus, China North-Central, China South-Central, Chita, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East European Russia, East Himalaya, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Inner Mongolia, Iran, Iraq, Irkutsk, Italy, Kamchatka, Kazakhstan, Khabarovsk, Kirgizstan, Krasnoyarsk, Krym, Kuril Is., Manchuria, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, North Caucasus, North European Russi, Northwest European R, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Primorye, Qinghai, Romania, Sakhalin, South European Russi, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Tibet, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuva, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, West Himalaya, West Siberia, Xinjiang, Yakutskiya, Yugoslavia..
Alberta, Algeria, British Columbia, Colorado, Connecticut, Cyprus, District of Columbia, Føroyar, Great Britain, Greenland, Iceland, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ireland, Kentucky, Libya, Louisiana, Maine, Manitoba, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Morocco, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Newfoundland, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ohio, Ontario, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Prince Edward I., Québec, Rhode I., Saskatchewan, South Dakota, South Georgia, Svalbard, Tunisia, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Ease of Growing: Easy
Grown as: Biennial
Light: Full sun
Water: Low. Relatively maintenance-free.
Soil Moisture: Prefers well drained or sandy soil
Container: Yes. Caraway will grow very well in a container, provided it is placed in a bright, sunny location. Use a larger container with a regular potting soil, you will need to fertilize every few weeks and water regularly.
Attracts Beneficial Insects: Yes. Parasitic wasps, lacewings, syrphid flies, minute pirate bugs, and big-eyed bugs.
Sow Depth: 1/4"
USDA Zone: 3-7
Produces: feathery fronds and umbrella shaped clusters of tiny white flowers.
Root: cooked. Used as a vegetable like parsnips. Stronger in taste than parsnips, but liked by many. A delicious vegetable.
Leaves: raw or as a flavoring in soups etc. The young leaves are much less spicy than the seeds and are a good salad, having a mild parsley-dill flavor. They give an aromatic tang to salads. Older leaves can be cooked as a spinach.
Companions: Caraway is a good companion to peas. It is slow to germinate, but if sown with fast maturing peas, caraway seedlings will fill in after you harvest the peas. Plant with Strawberries and other shallow rooted plants such as peas, radishes, beetroot, beans, and corn. Caraway has a long taproot that helps loosen compacted soil and bring up nutrients from the subsoil. This carrot family plant also bears lacy white heads of tiny flowers that attract a multitude of insects, including predatory wasps and other beneficials. It is a wonderful companion plant to most herbs.
Enemies: Some companion gardeners have observed that caraway does not grow well next to fennel or dill.
Health Benefits of Caraway Seeds
Relieve IBS: When ingested, these seeds can reduce heartburn, bloating, and constipation, and topically, the active ingredients in these seeds have been shown to alleviate IBS symptoms and inflammation.
Improve Sleep: Drinking caraway tea prepared from caraway seeds helps reduce the effects of asthma and promote sleep. This is due to its high magnesium content, which can affect neurotransmitters in the brain and induce relaxation.
Menstrual Relief: Caraway tea is also popular as a pain-relieving tonic for menstrual cramps and also aids in promoting the production of a mother’s milk.
Weight Loss: Caraway extract is a popular diet tool to aid in weight loss since fiber helps you feel full and reduce excess snacking or overeating.
Heart Health: Caraway helps reduce the cholesterol levels in the cardiovascular system because of its high fiber content. It is also a great support supplement for heart health, along with its high antioxidant and potassium content.
Lower Blood Pressure: Caraway rich in potassium aids in reducing blood pressure.
Skin Care: A hot poultice of caraway is effective for treating red or irritated skin, while the essential oil is used in steam facials. The high concentration of antioxidants help the skin fight free radicals and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.  This helps maintain skin elasticity and keeps the skin look younger.
Bone Health: Caraway seeds help improve bone health and bone density. This is due to the presence of zinc and calcium in them.
Health Benefits of Caraway Essential Oil
Anti-Histaminic: Histamine is the major reason behind disruptive and exhausting coughs. People who suffer from seasonal allergies can continue coughing endlessly! Sometimes, the conditions become so severe that the patient runs out of breath and in some cases, the patient might collapse. Although there are many anti-histamine medicines available on the market, they all have their own side effects and do not provide a permanent cure. However, Caraway oil can be miraculously helpful by neutralizing the effects of histamine and cures these potentially dangerous coughs and other ailments associated with histamines and allergies.
Antiseptic & Disinfectant: Caraway Oil is a very good disinfectant and antiseptic substance. It effectively cures infections of the colon, as well as in the digestive, respiratory, urinary and excretory systems, along with treating also external infections. It inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi and prevents the infection of wounds and ulcers. It is also antiseptic and protects wounds against developing tetanus.
Cardiac Health: Caraway essential oil is very good for all around cardiac health. It helps maintain proper heart rate, strengthens the cardiac muscles, prevents hardening of the arteries and veins, lower blood pressure, and also lowers the cholesterol level in the blood, thus helping the heart from all angles. Regular use of caraway essential oil can keep the heart healthy for a long time and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Antispasmodic: Caraway oil gives immediate relief from all sorts of spasms and the ailments associated with spasms. In case of muscular spasms, it gives immediate relief for cramps and muscle pulls by inhibiting the effects of certain enzymes and compounds produced in the body which are responsible for the contraction of the muscles. Similarly, it relieves spasms of the respiratory system and can cure hiccups, non-stop coughs, and breathlessness. It is also helpful in curing spasmodic cholera.
Carminative: Troubled by excessive gas? You should consume a small amount of Caraway oil with warm water and watch (or hear) the results. This remedy is not only good for occasional gas troubles but also for chronic gas problems.
Digestive & Stomachic: A spoon of Caraway oil taken with warm water and a pinch of plain or black salt cures all sorts of indigestion and speeds up digestion by stimulating the secretion of gastric juices, acids, and bile into the stomach. Caraway oil is also stomachic, that is, it keeps the stomach healthy by protecting it from infections, curing ulcers, and facilitating digestion.
Diuretic: Caraway essential oil is an ideal diuretic! It is literally a blessing for those who are suffering from obstructed urination, renal calculi, high blood pressure or those who want to lose weight. An increase in the frequency and quantity of urination can help you in all of the above situations. Caraway oil stimulates urination, thereby lowering blood pressure, reducing fat, removing uric acid and cleaning deposits from the kidney. A lot of urination also frees the urinary tract from infections.
Emenagogue: Caraway Oil is a very good treatment for women suffering from delayed or obstructed menstruation. It opens up menstruation and provides relief. It also gives relief for woman experiencing Post Menopause Syndrome.
Expectorant: It is a remarkable expectorant. Even smelling this powerful oil gives relief from congestion that has resulted from coughs and colds. When taken with honey or warm water, it loosens mucus deposited in the respiratory system. It gives immediate and long lasting relief in inflammation of the nasal tract, larynx, pharynx, bronchi and throat due to colds and other illnesses.
Aperitif: Caraway Oil has mild aperitif properties as well, so it can increase appetite and improve digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices. Furthermore, it helps clear the bowels and ease constipation.
Stimulant: Caraway Oil is warming and stimulating. It is particularly helpful in curing depression and fatigue. It stimulates all the systems and cycles functioning within the body, including the circulatory, digestive, endocrine, nervous, and excretory systems. It also activates the brain and helps keep you alert and awake.
Tonic: It tones the heart, liver, organic systems, skin and muscles, reduces wrinkles, boosts strength and energy and makes you feel young and recharged.
Insecticide & Vermifuge: It kills insects residing both on and inside the body. It can end the problem of lice and intestinal worms in a very safe way. Most medicines that are used to kill intestinal worms can have very adverse effects on children, unlike Caraway oil, which is completely safe.
Other Benefits: There are many other applications for caraway oil, although less research exists for some of these claims. Its external application can clear congestion in cases of cough and cold, makes the skin bright and fair, can cure inflammation of inner thighs and the areas around the genitals, as well as curing vitiligo, leprosy, rashes, acne, warts, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, vision loss, headache, backache, toothache, and hair loss. Its internal application is capable of curing coughs and colds, nervousness and tension, fatigue, meningitis, loss of memory, diabetes, renal calculi, nausea, vomiting, heart diseases, acidity, impotency, hypertension, diarrhea, fever, insomnia and problems related to secretions from the endocrine glands. Regular intake of caraway oil is said to protect from all ailments and diseases and keep people healthy and looking young for a long time.
A Few Words of Caution: There are no inherent dangers to Caraway essential oil, except in some rare cases of irritation when a highly concentrated form was applied to the skin.
Blending: Caraway oil blends well with Basil, Coriander, Frankincense, Chamomile, Ginger, Orange and Lavender Oils.
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