Plant Family

Apiaceae (umblliferea)


T. Ammi. Ammi Copticum, Carum Ajowan, True Bishop’s Weed.

Description and Distribution

 Aannul herb with a grayish-brown seed, which resembles parsley in appearance.   It has bright green leaves and an erect habit of growth usually not exceeding 50 cm (20inch)  in height.   It is an umbeliferous plant, a kind of Indian caraway, being widely cultiwated in India for medicinal properties. Distribution, chiefly India, also Afganisthan, Egypt, the West Indies and the Seychelle Islands.

Nature of the Oil

A yellow-orange or reddish liquid with herbaceous-spicy medicinal odour, much like thyme.

Chief Constituents

Thymol, pinene, cymene. Dipentine,terpine and carvacrol, among others.   Ajowan contains 4055 percent of thymol.   


The seeds used extensively as curry powders and as a general house hold remedy for intestinal problems.   The tincture, essential oil and thyme are used in Indian medicine particularly for Choleara.   The Oil, which is sometimes known as “Oman water”, is also used as an antiseptic to aid digestion.  The crushed seeds are dried for used in scented powders and pot pourri.   Almost the whole of the export of Ajowan seed from India, Egypt, Persia and Afganisthan went to Germany for the distillation of the oil and extraction of thymol,   It is an excellent antiseptic.

Aroma therapeutic uses

Not recommended.

Other uses

It has been  used extensively for the isolation of thymol, but this has largely been replaced by synthetic thymol.   Thymol finds no place in perfumery but the residual oil, after extracting the crystalline thymol from ajowan oil, which amounts to about 50 per cent of the original oil is generally sold as a cheap perfume for soap-making and similar purposes under the name :Thymene”.   The oil is occasionally used in the production of soap.


Possible mucous membrane and dermal irritant.   Due to high thymol level, should be avoided in pregnancy.   Toxicity levels are unknown,

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