|STEPHEN L. BRUNDAGE|
Other English: Bishop’s-Weed Trachyspermum ammi, Carum ajowan, Carum copticum, Ammi copticum Umbelliferae/Apiaceae (Carrot/Celery/Parsley Family)
Used as medicine by the ancient Greeks and Arabs, nakhwa is still considered a natural remedy. You can buy the aromatic seeds as well as a distillate.
How to use: 1) Release the aroma of the seeds before use by rubbing between your fingertips, crushing with a mortar and pestle or gently stirring while warming in a frying pan; 2) Use seeds whole or grind them into powder form.
In the kitchen: Nakhwa is sometimes added to traditional Arab coffee. In addition to providing a unique flavor, it is believed to soften the impact of coffee on the stomach and reduce the effects of caffeine. In fact, some people across Arabia drink nakhwa as a substitute for Arab coffee to totally eliminate negative coffee effects.
Did you know?
- Like black seed (Nigella sativa), nakhwa is a popular ingredient in many herbal medicinal blends.
- The ancient Sumerians described nakhwa as a “plant of the mountain.”
- Nakhwa is grown in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, India and Egypt.
- Though more commonly cultivated today in Asia, nakhwa is actually of African origin, and some Arabs call it “Ethiopian cumin” (al-kammun al-habashi).
- Al-Kindi (ca. 800–870) used nakhwa in a preparation for hemorrhoids.
- Nakhwa seeds yield 40 to 55 percent thymol, a valuable crystalline phenol extracted for medicinal purposes.