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Carum cavi

A well-known spice herb of the carrot family, Caraway is thought to be one of the oldest spices in northern Europe. It is still much used in Germany and Scandinavia, where the seeds are often baked into bread or used to flavour cheese or sauerkraut. Even a kind of high percentage spirit (Aquavit) is made from it.

Caraway is particularly appreciated for its carminative and anti-flatulent properties. It is a great digestive aid, especially to ally the discomforting effects of heavy, greasy foods so prevalent in northern European cuisines. Caraway stimulates the appetite and is a warming, strengthening tonic for the stomach. Caraway is anti-spasmodic and relaxant and is said to cure hiccough. It may also be of good service in menstrual discomforts, e.g. bloating, cramps, etc. It stimulates the uterus though, and should be avoided during pregnancy. Caraway stimulates milk secretion in nursing mothers. Little herb pillows stuffed with Caraway seeds make soothing comforters for rheumatic pains, toothache or headache if applied hot. Like Aniseed, it is a useful cough remedy, especially for children.

Magically, Caraway was thought to protect against the mischief of the little folk and was considered 'anti-daemonic'. So if you like the company of fairies and gnomes Caraway would not be a suitable herb to attract them. Magical folk-medicine used the seeds to cure a variety of diseases.

Roman Cumin.