HABITAT: originating in the Orient. Today, it is cultivated in Russia, the United States, Mediterranean countries and Central and Eastern Europe.
USED PART: fruits technically called diachenes.
RECOMMENDED PHARMACEUTICAL PREPARATIONS: Microencapsulated essential oil titrated in essence min. 8% (French Pharmacopoeia X), with a daily dose of 6 to 8 mg per kg of body weight, to be taken about 30 minutes before the two main meals.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION: is a plant rich in essential oil, as it contains 2 to 3 per cent of it, consisting mainly of e-anethole (84 to 93 per cent). We also find some coumarins.
Anti-meteoric action: this plant is capable of reducing intestinal meteorism due to its ability to inhibit intestinal fermentation processes and thus biogas production. It is also currently used in the treatment of digestive disorders such as bloating in the abdomen, digestive insufficiency, belching, flatulence and as an adjuvant in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.
Action on muscles: In the rat, caraway essential oil causes relaxation on the smooth muscles of the gut and to a lesser extent also on those of the trachea, while regularising their motility. This action, combined with its anti-meteoric action, explains the usefulness of caraway essential oil in intestinal disorders characterised by meteorism and abdominal pain such as spastic colitis. In these disorders, a combination with fennel and/or lemon balm extracts is useful.
SIDE EFFECTS: Allergy may occur in some patients, usually with buccal symptoms such as inflammation of the tongue and gums with itching and burning.
CONTRAINDICATIONS: none known. Prudentially do not use during pregnancy and lactation.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: not known.