Linn. Sprague /
Bishop’s Weed, Carum, Lovage
It is cultivated
throughout most of India.
Morphology Description (Habit)
An erect, glabrous or minutely pubescent, branched annual.
The stems are striate; the leaves are rather distant,
2-3-pinnately divided, the segments linear. The flowers
occur in terminal or seemingly-lateral pedunculate, compound
umbels, white and small; the fruits are ovoid, muricate,
aromatic cremocarps, greyish brown; the mericarps, which are
the components of the fruit, are compressed, with distinct
ridges and tubercular surface, 1-seeded.
The alcoholic extract
was found to contain a highly hygroscopic saponin, with a hemolytic
index of 500. A yellow, crystalline flavone (m.p. 291-94°) and
a steroidal substance (m.p.140-50°) have also been isolated from
the fruits1. The principal constituents of the essential
oil from the fruits are the phenols, mainly thymol and some carvacrol.
The Indian Pharmacopoeia requires ajowan oil to contain not less than
40 per cent thymol. The remainder of the oil is called 'thymene'.
Thymene, which constitutes c.45 per cent of the oil, has the following
composition: p-cymene, 50-55; g-terpinene, 30-35; a- and ß-pinenes,
4-5; and dipentene, 4-6%. Presence of minute 'amounts of camphene,
myrcene and D3-carene is also reported2.
studies of the oil indicated that it had a parasympathomimetic effect
and produced contraction of the isolated ileum, tracheal chain and
bronchial musculature in guinea pigs. It depressed the cardiac musculature
in frogs and caused a marked fall in blood pressure in cats. On account
of its low toxicity, further trials of the oil as an hypotensive agent
are recommended. The drug also seems to possess some anti-diuretic
Ajowan is much valued
for its antispasmodic, stimulant, tonic and carminative properties.
It is administered in flatulence, atonic dyspepsia and diarrhea, and
often recommended for cholera. In the Unani system, ajowan is used
as a crude drug to enhance the body's resistance, and is prescribed
in amebiasis. It is a potent antimicrobial agent.
- Nutritive Value of Indian Foods, 85, 120, 129; Roychowdhury,
J. Instn Chem. India, 1963, 35, 202; Mukherjee et. al.,
Indian J. med. Res., 1967, 55, 1003; Rao, Bombay Technol.,1962,
12, 106; Chakraborti, Trans. Bose Res. Inst.,1956-58, 21, 61.
- Guenther, IV, 551; Krishna & Badhwar, J. sci. industr. Res.,1953,
12A(2), suppl., 288-89; I.P., 1966, 32; Bhargava & Haksar,
Indian Oil & Soap J.,1961-62, 27, 147; Bhargava & Haksar,
Perfum. essent. Oil Rec.,1965, 56, 18; Nigam et. al., ibid.,
1963, 54, 25.
- I.P.C., 162; Menon, 2; Chem. Abstr.,1947, 41, 2209 Mukherjee
et. al., Indian J. med. Res., 1967, 55, 1003.