Caraway (Carum carvi), or Persian cumin, is native to northern Africa, Europe, and Asia. A volatile oil from the seeds is distilled for herbal remedies. The oil, seeds, and tea are used for digestive and other gastrointestinal problems. Used around the globe as a culinary spice, caraway is an ingredient in tabil, an Arabic spice mixture, the North African spice paste harissa, and a common flavoring in German cuisine.
Caraway is likely safe when consumed in amounts commonly found in foods. Caraway has Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in the United States.
Research on caraway supplementation has mainly focused on its use as a treatment for indigestion. However, caraway may also be beneficial for asthma, infant colic, irritable bowel syndrome, and acid reflux, and may have antibacterial activity against Helicobacter pylori. Caraway is a component of the combination product Iberogast®, which is popularly used for functional gastrointestinal disorders. Some components of caraway seed oil may have anticancer effects.
1,8-Cineol, 2,4(10)-thujadien, 2-methoxy-2-(4'-hydroxyphenyl)ethanol, 2-methyl-3-phenyl-propanal, 5-methoxypsoralen, abscisic acid, acetaldehyde, alanine, alcaravea (Spanish), alcarávia (Portuguese), almindelig kommen (Danish), alpha-linolenic acid, alpha-phellandrene, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpinene, alpha-terpineol, aluminum, anethofuran, anis des Vosges (French), anethole, Apiaceae (family), Apium carvi, arabinose, arginine, ash, aspartic acid, astragalin, beta-carotene, beta-caryophyllene, beta-myrcene, beta-phellandrene, beta-pinene, beta-sitosterol, cadinene, caffeic acid, calcium, calcium oxalate, campesterol, camphene, capric acid, caraway fruit, caraway oil, caraway seed, carbohydrates, carum, Carum carui, Carum carvi, carvacrol, carvene, carveol, carvi (French, Italian), Carvi fructus, carvol, carvone, (-)-carvone, (+)-carvone, carvone glucosides, chaman (Armenian), chlorine, chromium, cis-beta-ocimene, cis-dihydrocarvone, citronellol, cobalt, cominho (Portuguese), comino (Italian), comino de prado (Spanish), comino tedesco (Italian), copper, cravya tarbutit (Hebrew), cumin de montagne (French), cumin des prés (French), cumino (Italian), cumino dei prati (Italian), cumino tedesco (Italian), cystine, d-carvone, decan-1-al, decanal, delta-3-carene, diacetyl, dihydrocarveol, dihydrocarvone, D-limonene, dikii anis (Ukrainian), donsk kumman (Faroese), (e)-beta-ocimene, echter Kümmel (German), eicosanoic acid, Enteroplant®, essential oil, estragol, falcarindiol, falcarinone, fat, faux anis (French), faux cumin (French - Morocco), Feldkümmel (German), fiber, fixed oil, fucose, frenk kimyonu (Turkish), furfural, furocoumarins (5-methoxypsoralen and 8-methoxypsoralen), galactose, gamma-terpinene, geranial, germacrene D, geranyl diphosphate, gemeiner Kümmel (German), glucose, glucosides, glutamic acid, glycine, hakiki kimyon (Turkish), harilik köömen (Estonian), harissa, herniarin, hime uikyou (Japanese), hinojo de prade (Spanish), histidine, hyperoside, Iberogast®, IG, iron, isorhammetin glycosides, isoleucine, isoquercitrin, jintan (Malay), junipediol A 2-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, kaalaa jiiraa (Hindi), kaempferol 3-glucoside, kaerowei (Korean), karaman kimyonu (Turkish), karauy (Arabic), karavi (Sanskrit), karawy (Arabic - Egypt), karo (Greek), karoya (Persian), karve (Danish), karven (Swedish), karvi (Greek, Norwegian), karving (Norwegian), karwei (Afrikaans), karwij (Dutch), karwijzaad (Dutch), kim (Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian), kimel (Hebrew), kimmel (Hebrew), kmin (Ukrainian), kmín kořenný (Czech), kminek (Polish), kminek zwyczajny (Polish), kmyn zvichainii (Ukrainian), kömény (Hungarian), kommel (Swedish), kommen (Danish, Swedish), kømming (Norwegian), konyha (Hungarian), kravyah (cravya) (Hebrew), kravyah tarbutit (Hebrew), krydd (Norwegian), kúmen (Icelandic), kumin (Swedish), kumina (Finnish), kummil (Swedish), kummin (Swedish), kumming (Swedish), Kümmel (German), kummel (French), kvliavi (Georgian), kyarauei (Japanese), lauric acid, leucine, L-fucitol, lignin, (-)-limonene, (+)-limonene, limonene, limonene-6-hydroxylase, linalool, linoleic acid, lysine, magnesium, manganese, mannose, methanol, methionine, monoterpene hydrocarbons, monoterpene synthase, monoterpenes, monoterpenoids, monounsaturated fatty acid, myrcene, myristic acid, myristicin, navadna kumina (Slovenian), niacin, nickel, n-octanal, oleic acid, oleoresins, oxygenated monoterpenes, palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, p-coumaric acid, p-cymene, Persian cumin, petroselinic acid, perillaldehyde, phenylalanine, phosphorus, phytosterol, polyacetylene, polysaccharides, polyunsaturated fat, potassium, proline, proteins, qimel (Hebrew), quercetin, quercetin 3-glucuronide, resin, rhamnose, riboflavin, Roman cumin, sabinene, salicylate, saturated fatty acid, saksan kumina (Finnish), S-(+)-carvone, scopoletin, seme di carvi (seeds) (Italian), semen cumini pratensis, semences de carvi (French), serine, shah jira (siyah jira) (Hindi), silicon, sodium, starch, stearic acid, stigmasterol, STW 5-II, sugars, sulfur, sushavi (Sanskrit), tabil, tannic acid, tavallinen kumina (Finnish), terpenes, terpinen-4-ol, terpinolene, thiam takap (Thai), thiamine, threonine, thujone, titanium, tmin (Russian), tmin obyknovennyi (Russian), trans-beta-ocimene, (+)-trans-carveol, trans-caryophyllene-oxide, trans-dihydrocarvone, tryptophan, tyrosine, Umbelliferae, umbelliferone, unsaturated fatty acids, valine, vild kommen (Danish), Wiesenkümmel (German), wild cumin, wilde komijn (Dutch), wilder Kümmel (German), xanthotoxin, xylose, yuan sui (Chinese), zinc, ziya (Burmese).
Note: This monograph does not include information about the following species: Nigella sativa (black seed, black caraway), Carum bulbocastanum (black caraway), Carum copticum (ajowain, ajwain, ajmod; omam, omum), Carum nigrum (black caraway), Carum montanum, Carum capticum, or Carum roxburghianum.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
There is preliminary evidence from a study using an herbal tea containing eight herbs, including caraway, that allergic asthma reactions may be lessened. The effects of caraway alone, however, are unclear. Further study using caraway monotherapy is needed in this area.
Caraway is a component of the combination product Iberogast®, which is popularly used for functional gastrointestinal disorders. It is also an ingredient in Enteroplant®, which also contains peppermint oil. However, the effects of caraway alone are unclear.