Latin name: Trachyspermum ammi
Ajowan, also commonly called Bishop’s weed, is an Indian spice used for digestive issues. Topically, it has been used to treat psoriasis and hypopigmentation, although it can be phototoxic topically due to its furocoumarin constituents.
Safety and Quality
- High thymol and carvacrol content as high as 70%, heavily dilute to 1% for external use, possible skin irritant and mucus membrane irritant.
- Avoid with children, pregnancy, and fragile populations.
- Excessive use can be liver toxic.
- Possible photo-sensitivity with use.
- Possible drug interactions with anticoagulants, anti-platelets, and medications metabolized by cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) isoenzymes (Natural Medicines, 2017).
- This review of research on ajowan discussed insecticidal, antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasite, hypotensive, analgesic, antitussive, and hepatoprotective scientific studies on the plant. From: Chahal, K. K., Dhaiwal, K., Kumar, A., Kataria, D., & Singla, N. (2017). Chemical composition of Trachyspermum ammi L. and its biological properties: A review. J. Pharmacogn. Phytochem, 6(3), 131-140.
- In studies, ajowan demonstrated antiseptic, stimulant, carminative, diuretic, anesthetic, antimicrobial, antiviral, nematicidal, antiulcer, antihypertensive, antitussive, bronchodilatory, antiplatelet and hepatoprotective as well as antihyperlipidemic effects. Human studies are needed. From: Zarshenas, M. M., Moein, M., Samani, S. M., & Petramfar, P. (2013). An overview on ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi) pharmacological effects; modern and traditional. Journal of natural remedies, 14(1), 98-105.
- Natural Medicines (2017). Bishop’s weed monograph. Retrieved from: https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Retrieved in March, 2018.
- The essential oils that inhibited intestinal dysbiosis pathogens the strongest were Carum carvi (caraway), Lavandula angustifolia (lavender). Trachyspermum copiicum (ajowan), and Citrus aurantium (bitter orange). From: Myers, S. R., Hawrelak, J. A., & Cattley, T. (2009). Essential oils in the treatment of intestinal dysbiosis: a preliminary in vitro study. Alternative Medicine Review, 14(4), 380-384.
- In a study of 92 patients with noctornal burning feet, application of a 10% ajowan cream applied twice a day for 2 and 4 weeks significantly reduced neuropathy pain. From: Petramfar, P., Moein, M., Samani, S. M., Tabatabaei, S. H., & Zarshenas, M. M. (2016). Trachyspermum ammi 10% topical cream versus placebo on neuropathic pain, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Neurological Sciences, 37(9), 1449-1455.
- Ajowan seeds demonstrated an anxiolytic effect in mice. From: Soni, K., & Parle, M. (2017). Anxiolytic Effects of Trachyspermum ammi Seeds in Mice. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacology, 3(1), 71-74.
- An herbal mouthwash containing Salvadora persica (toothbrush tree), Terminalia bellerica (bahera), Piper betle (betel), Gaultheria fragrantissima (Indian Wintergreen), Elettaria cardamomum (cardamom), Peppermint satva (peppermint), and Trachyspermum ammi (ajowan) was assessed in this randomized study of 90 nursing students. It improved plaque and gingivitis issues over this 21 day study. From: Bagchi, S., Saha, S., Jagannath, G., Reddy, V., & Sinha, P. (2015). Evaluation of efficacy of a commercially available herbal mouthwash on dental plaque and gingivitis: A double-blinded parallel randomized controlled trial. Journal of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry, 13(3), 222-222.
- In a study of 200 patients with stable angina, the group taking an ajowan supplement over 6 weeks showed a significant reduction in symptoms. Symptoms measured included: chest pain, chest tightness, difficulty in breathing, nausea, light headedness and anxiety. From: Ahmad, M. (2017). Community Based, Multicentered, Randomized, Double Blinded, Placebo controlled Clinical trial of Trachyspermum Copticum Extract Against Stable Angina. Annals of King Edward Medical University, 23(3).
- In this small study, infertile obese women took an herbal blend of Trachyspermum ammi (ajowan), Pimpinella anisum (anise), Apium graveolens (fennel), and Trigonella foenum graecum (fenugreek). The herb was taken for 3 months. Results demonstrated weight loss, menstrual regulation, lipid profiles, insulin levels; 2 of 30 women conceived shortly after the study. From: Khan, S., Shameem, I., Sahibole, S., & Siddiqui, A. (2017). Efficacy of Unani formulation in infertility among obese women: A clinical study. International Journal of Medical and Health Research, 3(4), 125-33.
ANTIMICROBIAL / ANTIFUNGAL / ANTIBACTERIAL
- Strong fumigant antifungal activities was demonstrated by ajowan (Trachyspermum ammi), and allspice (Pimenta dioica) oils and their thymol and eugenol constituents against the following three Aspergillus species: A. ochraceus, A. parasiticus, and A. niger. From: Kim, E., Oh, C. S., Koh, S. H., Kim, H. S., Kang, K. S., Park, P. S., … & Park, I. K. (2016). Antifungal activities after vaporization of ajowan (Trachyspermum ammi) and allspice (Pimenta dioica) essential oils and blends of their constituents against three Aspergillus species. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 28(3), 252-259.
- Salad preservation was lengthened with the essential oils of thyme verbena, thyme, oregano, ajowan, tea tree, clove, sage, and rosemary. From: Molinos, A. C., Abriouel, H., López, R. L., Omar, N. B., Valdivia, E., & Gálvez, A. (2009). Enhanced bactericidal activity of enterocin AS-48 in combination with essential oils, natural bioactive compounds and chemical preservatives against Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat salad. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 47(9), 2216-2223.
- Sixty-five bacteria were tested against 13 essential oils. Cinnamon bark, cinnamon leaf, oregano, thyme, ajowan, and clove showed strong antibacterial activity. From: Mayaud, L., Carricajo, A., Zhiri, A., & Aubert, G. (2008). Comparison of bacteriostatic and bactericidal activity of 13 essential oils against strains with varying sensitivity to antibiotics. Letters in applied microbiology, 47(3), 167-173.
- Cymbopogon martinii (ginger grass oil), Cymbopogon oliveri, Cymbopogon sp. (rosa sofia oil) and Trachyspermum ammi (ajowan) exhibited strong fungitoxicity against Helminthosporium oryzae and were more active than some of the prevalent synthetic fungicides, and may be useful as a natural fungicide. From: Singh, A. K., Dikshit, A., Sharma, M. L., & Dixit, S. N. (1980). Fungitoxic activity of some essential oils. Economic Botany, 34(2), 186-190.
- Aflotoxin production of tested fungi was prohibited by rosemary and Ajowan extracts and could be used to preserve food and prevent toxigenic fungal infection. Rasooli, I., Fakoor, M. H., Yadegarinia, D., Gachkar, L., Allameh, A., & Rezaei, M. B. (2008). Antimycotoxigenic characteristics of Rosmarinus officinalis and Trachyspermum copticum L. essential oils. International journal of food microbiology, 122(1), 135-139.
- Leaves from ajowan demonstrated antibacterial activity in vitro against gram negative bacterial. From: Sayeed, M., Patchigalla, J. R. P., Oggu, R., Srinivas, R. R. P., Pajjuru, S. N., Bakshi, V., & Boggula, N. (2018). Anti Bacterial and Phytochemical Screening of Trachyspermum Ammi–An In Vitro Approach. Research Journal of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences (IRJPMS), 1(4), 40-45.
- Anethum graveolens, Elettaria cardamomum, Foeniculum vulgare, Trachyspermum ammi and Viola odorata were effective against tested pathogenic bacteria. From: Arora, D. S., & Kaur, G. J. (2007). Antibacterial activity of some Indian medicinal plants. Journal of natural medicines, 61(3), 313-317.
INSECTICIDAL / PESTICIDAL
- Fumigant anti-termite activity was presented by ajowan (Trachyspermum ammi), allspice (Pimenta dioica), caraway (Carum carvi), dill (Anethum graveolens), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), and litsea (Litsea cubeba). From: Seo, S. M., Kim, J., Lee, S. G., Shin, C. H., Shin, S. C., & Park, I. K. (2009). Fumigant antitermitic activity of plant essential oils and components from ajowan (Trachyspermum ammi), allspice (Pimenta dioica), caraway (Carum carvi), dill (Anethum graveolens), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), and litsea (Litsea cubeba) oils against Japanese termite (Reticulitermes speratus Kolbe). Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 57(15), 6596-6602.
- All the studied extracts showed antioxidant capability, with P. anisum showing the strongest effect, and there being a positive correlation between antioxidant potency and flavonoid content. Oils tested included: Bunium persicum (similar to cumin), Coriandrum sativum (coriander), Cuminum cyminum (cumin), Foeniculum vulgare (fennel), Heracleum persicum (Persian hogweed), Pimpinella anisum (anise) and Trachyspermum copticum (ajowan). From: Nickavar, B., & Abolhasani, F. A. (2009). Screening of antioxidant properties of seven Umbelliferae fruits from Iran. Pak J Pharm Sci, 22(1), 30-35.
- Isolated polysaccharides found in ajowan demonstrated an immunomodulating effect in vitro. From: Shruthi, R. R., Venkatesh, Y. P., & Muralikrishna, G. (2017). In vitro immunomodulatory potential of macromolecular components derived from the aqueous extract of ajowan [Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague]. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 16(3), 506-513.
- Listed are herbs commonly used for cough suppression. These herbs include: Acacia catechu, Acorus calamus, Adhatoda vasica, Allium sativum, Angelica archangelica, Astragalus membranaceus, Carum copticum, Lavandula angustifolia, Lobelia inflata, Salvia officinalis, Sambucus nigra, Tussilago farfara, Valeriana officinalis, Verbascum thapsus, and Zingiber officinale. From: Sultana, S., Khan, A., & Alhazmi, M. M. S. H. A. (2016). Cough Suppressant Herbal Drugs: A Review. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Science Invention, 5(5), 15-28.
- In a double blind randomized clinical trial with 60 patients, daily intake of a blend of cinnamon, ajwain and Iranian borago taken for 3 months reduced symptoms of fatigue. From: Namjooyan, F., Ghanavati, R., & Majdinasab, N. (2019). The efficacy of traditional formulation on quality of life and fatigue in multiple sclerosis patients: a randomized double-blind placebo-control clinical trial. Journal of Contemporary Medical Sciences, 5(2).
Updated by Kathy Sadowski
Post Updated: 9/12/19