Caraway seeds (Carum carvi )
Caraway seeds are the main part of the plant used although the entire plant is edible. The roots can be cooked like carrots or parsnips. Caraway leaves are much less spicy than the seed, and the young leaves can be used in salads, as a seasoning or can be cooked.
Caraway seed has a spicy flavor. Licorice-flavored caraway seeds give rye bread its characteristic taste. The seeds are also used in soups, cheeses and cheese spreads, sauerkraut and salad dressings. Caraway seeds are also high in protein and fat.
The seeds and their oils also have a long history of use as herbal and household remedies for treating disorders such as rheumatism, eye infections, toothaches and digestive complaints. The seed and teas made from the seed have an anti-spasmodic action, which soothes the digestive tract and its carminative (gas relieving) action relieves bloating caused by wind and improves the appetite. Caraway is often added to laxative medicines to prevent gastric and intestinal pain.
The seed is often chewed after a meal to sweeten the breath and also to relieve heartburn after a rich meal. The seed is also used in the treatment of bronchitis and is an ingredient of cough remedies, especially useful for children. The seed is also said to increase the production of breast milk in nursing mothers.