Herb Library: Natural Herbs and Herbal Supplements Directory: Caraway





This fact sheet provides basic information about Caraway. Caraway is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae, native to Europe and western Asia. The primary active constituent in caraway is volatile oil (4-6 on average), which itself is made up of carvone and limonene. The fruit of the caraway plant contains fixed oil along with carbohydrate and protein. Caraway is a carminative. Carminatives are herbs that help to ameliorate gastrointestinal pain, and associated gas pain. The volatile oil of caraway may also be a useful remedy for bowel spasms.

Common Names

Caraway or Persian cumin

Latin Names

Carum carvi

What It Is Used For

  • Appetite loss
  • Bronchitis
  • Colds
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Liver and gallbladder problems
  • Sore throat
  • Tendency to infection
  • Colic
  • Gingivitis - A mouthwash made from sage oils, peppermint oil, menthol, chamomile tincture, Echinacea, myrrh tincture, clove oil, and caraway seed has been shown effective when used in connection with gingivitis.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - When combined with peppermint, fennel, caraway, and wormwood, it appears to have a soothing effect on the gastrointestinal system. To date there is not sufficient clinical evidence to support the efficacy of caraway by itself. However, it has been used with a verifiable level of success when used in connection with peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

How It Is Used

Caraway is usually administered in the form of a tea you can drink. However, the roots may be cooked as a root vegetable like parsnips or carrots.

What the Science Says

  • Under normal dosage and administration, there have been no known side effects or health hazards associated with caraway supplementation.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • When large doses of the volatile oil are taken for long periods, potential kidney and liver damage has been noted.


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