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Toxic parts

Caraway is said to contain the alleged 'psychotroph' myristicine[1].

Edible uses


Seed - raw or cooked. A spicy flavour, it is used as a flavouring in confectionery and bread, also as a flavouring in salads, vegetables etc[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]. It is high in protein and fat[10]. The seed is often chewed after a meal in order to sweeten the breath and also to relieve heartburn after a rich meal[11]. Per 100g, the seed contains 333 calories, 10g water, 20g protein, 14.5g fat, 50g carbohydrate, 12.5g fibre, 6g ash, 689mg calcium, 568mg phosphorus, 16.2mg iron, 258mg magnesium, 17mg sodium, 1351mg potassium, 5.5mg zinc, 363 IU vitamin A, 0.383mg thiamine, 0.379mg riboflavin, 3.61mg niacin[1].

An essential oil from the seed is used as a flavouring in ice creams, candy, soft drinks etc[9][12]. It is an essential ingredient of the liqueur kümmel[11]. Root - cooked[9]. Used as a vegetable like parsnips[2][3][5][10][13][14]. Stronger in taste than parsnips, but liked by many[15]. A delicious vegetable[11]. Leaves - raw or as a flavouring in soups etc[2][10][8][13][14]. The young leaves are much less spicy than the seeds and are a good salad[5], having a mild parsley-dill flavour[12]. They give an aromatic tang to salads[11]. Older leaves can be cooked as a spinach[9].

The crushed seeds are brewed into a tea[9]. It has a soothing effect on the digestion[11].

Unknown part


Material uses

An essential oil from the seed is used in perfumery, for scenting soap, as a parasiticide etc[16][17][18][19]. Twenty-five kilos of seed yield about 1 kilo of essential oil[3]. The essential oil yield of the seed from plants cultivated in Poland is up to 10.33%[20].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Caraway has a long history of use as a household remedy especially in the treatment of digestive complaints where its antispasmodic action soothes the digestive tract and its carminative action relieves bloating caused by wind and improves the appetite[3][12][21]. It is often added to laxative medicines to prevent griping[12].

The seed is antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, galactogogue and stimulant[3][16][5][22][17][23][24][20]. It can be chewed raw for the almost immediate relief of indigestion and can also be made into infusions[12]. The seed is also used in the treatment of bronchitis and are an ingredient of cough remedies, especially useful for children[21]. The seed is also said to increase the production of breast milk in nursing mothers[21]. The seed is harvested when fully ripe, then dried and stored in a cool, dry place out of the sunlight[11]. The essential oil can be extracted from the seed and has similar properties[3]. A tea made from the seeds is a pleasant stomachic and carminative, it has been used to treat flatulent colic[15][24].

The seed is used in Tibetan medicine where it is considered to have an acrid taste and a heating potency[25]. It is used to treat failing vision and loss of appetite[25].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - it is best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in late summer and early autumn[3][26]. The seed can also be sown March/April in situ[26], though in areas with cool summers the plants might not produce a crop of ripe seeds[12]. Plants are very sensitive to root disturbance and should not be transplanted.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Carum carvi. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in ordinary garden soil as long as it is not too wet in winter[27]. Prefers a moist soil in full sun or partial shade[3][26]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.8 to 7.6.

Caraway is a well-known herb that has been cultivated for its culinary and medicinal uses since ancient times[11]. It is frequently cultivated in the modern herb garden and sometimes also commercially[3][17], there are some named varieties[9]. Plants growing in more northerly latitudes and also in full sun are richer in essential oils and therefore more aromatic[3][28]. Plants strongly resent root disturbance[26]. They often self-sow freely when in a suitable location[11].

This species is deep rooted[29] and is a good plant for breaking up the sub-soil on heavy, wet land[6][7]. It dislikes growing near fennel or wormwood[10][7] but is a good companion for most plants, especially those that are shallow-rooted[29]. The flowers attract parasitic wasps to the garden, these prey on aphids and so help to reduce populations of insect pests[12].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Carum carvi. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Carum carvi.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Carum carvi
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type

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