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Ajwain Seeds

• 1 Flavour and aroma
• 2 History
• 3 Uses

Ajwain seeds

Ajwain (also known as carom seeds or bishop's weed), is an uncommon spice except in
certain areas of Asia. It is the small seed-like fruit of the Bishop's Weed plant,
(Trachyspermum ammi syn. Carum copticum), egg-shaped and grayish in colour. The
plant has a similarity to parsley. Because of their seed-like appearance, the fruit pods are
sometimes called ajwain seeds or bishop's weed seeds.

Ajwain is often confused with lovage seed; even some dictionaries mistakenly state that
ajwain comes from the lovage plant. Ajwain is also called 'owa' in Marathi, 'vaamu' in
Telugu, "omam" (ஓமம) in Tamil, "ajwana" in Kannada, "ajmo" (અજમો) in Gujarati,
"jowan" in Bengali and "asamodagam" in Singhalese.

Flavour and aroma

Raw ajwain smells almost exactly like thyme because it also contains thymol, but is
more aromatic and less subtle in taste, as well as slightly bitter and pungent. It tastes like
thyme or caraway, only stronger. Even a small amount of raw ajwain will completely
dominate the flavor of a dish.

In Indian cuisine, ajwain is almost never used raw, but either dry-roasted or fried in ghee
or oil. This develops a much more subtle and complex aroma, somewhat similar to
caraway but "brighter". Among other things, it is used for making a type of paratha,
called 'ajwain ka paratha'.

Ajwain originated in the Middle East, possibly in Egypt. It is now primarily grown and
used in the Indian Subcontinent, but also in Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan. It is sometimes
used as an ingredient in berbere, a spice mixture favored in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

It reduces flatulence caused by beans when it is cooked with beans. It may be used as a
substitute for cumin as well. It is also traditionally known as a digestive aid and an
Black cardamom
• 1 Spices
• 2 Culinary uses
• 3 Medicinal uses
• 4 References

Black cardamom
Black cardamom fruit as used as spice






A. subulatum, A. costatum

Binomial nameAmomum subulatum, Amomum costatum

also known as brown cardamom, thảo quả) (‫ بڑی الئچی‬:Roxb.Black cardamom (Urdu
and tsao-ko) is a plant in the family Zingiberaceae. Its seed pods have a strong, smoky,
.camphor-like flavor

The pods are used as a spice, in a manner similar to the green Indian cardamom pods, but
those have a drastically different flavor. Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used
in sweet dishes. Its smoky flavor and aroma derive from traditional methods of drying
over open flames.[1]

There are at least two distinct species of black cardamom: Amomum subulatum (also
known as Nepal cardamom) and Amomum costatum or A. tsao-ko. The pods of A.
subulatum, used primarily in the cuisines of India, are the smaller of the two, while the
larger pods of A. costatum (Chinese: 草果; pinyin: cǎoguǒ; Vietnamese: thảo quả) are
used in Chinese cuisine, particularly that of Sichuan; and Vietnamese cuisine.

Culinary uses

A commercial pack of black cardamom

In India, black cardamom seeds are often an important component of the Indian spice
mixture garam masala. Black cardamom is also commonly used in savory dal and rice

In China, the pods are used for long-braised meat dishes, particularly in the cuisine of the
central-western province of Sichuan.

The pods are also often used in Vietnam, where they are called thảo quả and used as an
ingredient in the broth for the noodle soup called phở.

Black cardamom pods can be used in soups, chowders, casseroles, and marinades for
smoky flavor, much in the way bacon is used.

Medicinal uses
Black cardamom is often erroneously described as an inferior substitute for green
cardamom by those who are unfamiliar with the spice. Although the flavor differs from
the more common green cardamom, black cardamom is sometimes used by large-scale
commercial bakers because of its relative cheapness.[citation needed]

In Chinese medicine, tsao-ko is used to treat stomach disorders and malaria.[2]

Packages warn not to eat the product uncooked or as a snack food. [3]

1. ^ Spice Pages: Black Cardamom (Amomum subulatum)
2. ^ Herb: Cao Guo (Tsaoko Fruit), Fructus Amomi Tsao-ko Sacred Lotus Arts 2008
3. ^ From Golden Flower brand, December 2007: "User warnings: Do not eat as a snack.
Raw food. Please wash under tap water at least 5 minutes before cooking. Please cook in
hot boiling water at least 30 minutes before consuming."
• 1 Culinary use
o 1.1 Basil seeds
• 2 Other basils
• 3 Chemical components
• 4 Cultivation
o 4.1 Diseases
• 5 Health effects
• 6 Cultural aspects
• 7 References

Basil Scientific classificationKingdom:






O. basilicum

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) (IPA: /ˈbeɪzəl/ or /ˈbæzəl/), of the Family Lamiaceae. Basil is
a tender low-growing herb that is grown as a perennial in warm, tropical climates. Basil
is originally native to Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been
cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. There are many varieties of basil, that which is
used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil or holy basil,
which are used in Asia. It is prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a
major role in the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thai, Vietnamese and Laotian. It grows to
between 30–130 cm tall, with opposite, light green, silky leaves 3–11 cm long and 1–6
cm broad. The flowers are quite big, white in color and arranged in a terminal spike.
Unusual among Lamiaceae, the four stamens and the pistil are not pushed under the
upper lip of the corolla, but lay over the inferior. After entomophilous pollination, the
corolla falls off and four round achenes develop inside the bilabiate calyx. The plant
tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, sweet smell. Basil is very sensitive to
cold, with best growth in hot, dry conditions. While most common varieties are treated as
annuals, some are perennial, including African Blue and Holy Thai basil.

The word basil comes from the Greek βασιλεύς (basileus), meaning "king", as it is
believed to have grown above the spot where St. Constantine and Helen discovered the
Holy Cross. The Oxford English Dictionary quotes speculations that basil may have been
used in "some royal unguent, bath, or medicine". Basil is still considered the "king of
herbs" by many cookery authors. An alternative etymology has "basil" coming from the
Latin word basilicus, meaning dragon and being the root for basilisk, but this likely was a
linguistic reworking of the word as brought from Greece.

Fresh basil leaves.

Culinary use

Dried basil leaves.

Basil is most commonly recommended to be used fresh; in cooked recipes it is generally

added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavour. The fresh herb can be
kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the
freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water. The dried herb also loses most of
its flavour, and what little flavour remains tastes very different, with a weak coumarin
flavour, like hay.

Basil seeds

Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto—a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce from the
city of Genoa, its other two main ingredients being olive oil and pine nuts. The most
commonly used Mediterranean basil cultivars are "Genovese", "Purple Ruffles",
"Mammoth", "Cinnamon", "Lemon", "Globe", and "African Blue". Chinese also use fresh
or dried basils in soups and other foods. In Taiwan, people add fresh basil leaves into
thick soups (羹湯; gēngtāng). They also eat fried chicken with deep-fried basil leaves.

A can of basil seed drink

Basil is sometimes used with fresh fruit and in fruit jams and sauces—in particular with
strawberries, but also raspberries or dark-colored plums. Arguably the flat-leaf basil used
in Vietnamese cooking, which has a slightly different flavour, is more suitable for use
with fruit.

Basil seeds
When soaked in water the seeds of several basil varieties become gelatinous, and are used
in Asian drinks and desserts such as falooda or sherbet. Such seeds are known variously
as sabja, subja, takmaria, tukmaria, falooda, or hột é. They are used for their medicinal
properties in Ayurveda, the traditional medicinal system of India.

e it is called kemangi and served raw, together with raw cabbage, green beans, and
cucumber, as an accompaniment to fried fish or duck. Its flowers, broken up, are a zesty
salad condiment.

Chemical components
The various basils have such different scents because the herb has a number of different
essential oils which come together in different proportions for various breeds. The strong
clove scent of sweet basil comes from eugenol, the same chemical as actual cloves. The
citrus scent of lemon basil and lime basil is because they have a higher portion of citral
which causes this effect in several plants, including lemon mint, and limonene, which
gives actual lemon peel its scent. African blue basil has a strong camphor smell because it
has camphor and camphene in higher proportions. Licorice Basil contains anethole, the
same chemical that makes anise smell like licorice, and in fact is sometimes called Anise

Other chemicals helping produce the distinctive scents of many basils, depending on their
proportion in each specific breed, including:

• cinnamate (same as in cinnamon)

• citronellol (geraniums, roses, and citronella)
• geraniol (as in geranium)
• linalool[1] (a flowery scent also in coriander)
• methyl chavicol[1] (which gives tarragon its scent)
• myrcene (bay, myrcia)
• pinene (which is, as the name implies, the chemical which gives pine oil its scent)
• ocimene
• terpineol

The compound (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP) found in cannabis is also found in basil (as
well as oregano) and could help to treat inflammatory bowel diseases and arthritis[2]. It
interacts selectively with one of two cannabinoid receptors, CB2, blocking the chemical
signals that lead to inflammation without triggering cannabis's mood-altering effects[2].
The compound is the only product identified in nature that activates CB2 selectively[2].
Herbs such as basil and oregano contain large amounts of the compound[2].

Basil sprout at an early stage

Basil thrives in hot weather, but behaves as an annual if there is any chance of a frost. In
Northern Europe, Canada, the northern states of the U.S., and the South Island of New
Zealand it will grow best if sown under glass in a peat pot, then planted out in late
spring/early summer (when there is little chance of a frost). It fares best in a well-drained
sunny spot.

Although basil will grow best outdoors, it can be grown indoors in a pot and, like most
herbs, will do best on an equator-facing windowsill. It should be kept away from
extremely cold drafts, and grows best in strong sunlight, therefore a greenhouse or Row
cover is ideal if available. They can, however, be grown even in a basement, under
fluorescent lights.

If its leaves have wilted from lack of water, it will recover if watered thoroughly and
placed in a sunny location. Yellow leaves towards the bottom of the plant are an
indication that the plant needs more sunlight or less fertilizer.

In sunnier climates such as Southern Europe, the southern states of the U.S., the North
Island of New Zealand, and Australia, basil will thrive when planted outside. It also
thrives over the summertime in the central and northern United States, but dies out when
temperatures reach freezing point. It will grow back the next year if allowed to go to
seed. It will need regular watering, but not as much attention as is needed in other

Basil can also be propagated very reliably from cuttings in exactly the same manner as
Busy Lizzie (Impatiens), with the stems of short cuttings suspended for two weeks or so
in water until roots develop.

If a stem successfully produces mature flowers, leaf production slows or stops on any
stem which flowers, the stem becomes woody, and essential oil production declines.To
prevent this, a basil-grower may pinch off any flower stems before they are fully mature.
Because only the blooming stem is so affected, some can be pinched for leaf production,
while others are left to bloom for decoration or seeds.

Once the plant is allowed to flower, it may produce seed pods containing small black
seeds which can be saved and planted the following year. Picking the leaves off the plant
helps "promote growth", largely because the plant responds by converting pairs of leaflets
next to the topmost leaves into new stems.

Basil suffers from several plant pathogens that can ruin the crop and reduce yield.
Fusarium wilt is a soil-borne fungal disease that will quickly kill younger basil plants.
Seedlings may also be killed by Pythium damping off.

A common foliar disease of basil is gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea, can also cause
infections post-harvest and is capable of killing the entire plant. Black spot can also be
seen on basil foliage and is caused by the fungi genus Colletotrichum.

Health effects
Recently, there has been much research into the health benefits conferred by the essential
oils found in basil. Scientific studies have established that compounds in basil oil have
potent antioxidant hence anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-microbial
properties.[3][4][5][6] In addition, basil has been shown to decrease the occurrence of platelet
aggregation and experimental thrombus in mice.[7] It is traditionally used for
supplementary treatment of stress, asthma and diabetes in India.[8]

Basil, like other aromatic plants such as fennel and tarragon, contains estragole, a known
carcinogen and teratogen in rats and mice. While human effects are currently unstudied,
the rodent experiments indicate that it would take 100–1000 times the normal anticipated
exposure to become a cancer risk.[9]

Cultural aspects

Flowering basil stalk

There are many rituals and beliefs associated with basil. The French call basil "l'herbe
royale". Jewish folklore suggests it adds strength while fasting. It is a symbol of love in
present-day Italy, but represented hatred in ancient Greece, and European lore sometimes
claims that basil is a symbol of Satan. African legend claims that basil protects against
scorpions, while the English botanist Culpeper cites one "Hilarius, a French physician" as
affirming it as common knowledge that smelling basil too much would breed scorpions in
the brain.

Holy Basil, also called 'Tulsi', is highly revered in Hinduism and also has religious
significance in the Greek Orthodox Church, where it is used to prepare holy water. It is
said to have been found around Christ's tomb after his resurrection. The Serbian
Orthodox Church, Macedonian Orthodox Church and Romanian Orthodox Church use
basil (Macedonian: босилек; Romanian: busuioc, Serbian: босиљак) to prepare holy
water and pots of basil are often placed below church altars.

In Europe, they place basil in the hands of the dead to ensure a safe journey. In India,
they place it in the mouth of the dying to ensure they reach God. The ancient Egyptians
and ancient Greeks believed that it would open the gates of heaven for a person passing

In Boccaccio's Decameron a memorably morbid tale (novella V) tells of Lisabetta, whose

brothers slay her lover. He appears to her in a dream and shows her where he is buried.
She secretly disinters the head, and sets it in a pot of basil, which she waters with her
daily tears. The pot being taken from her by her brothers, she dies of her grief not long
after. Boccaccio's tale is the source of John Keats' poem Isabella or The Pot of Basil. A
similar story is told of the Longobard queen Rosalind.

• Diseases of Basil and Their Management

Bay leaf
• 1 Taste and aroma
• 2 Culinary use
• 3 History/region of origin
• 4 Facts

Fresh leaves and flower buds of Laurus nobilis

dried bay leaves

leaf of Laurus nobilis

Bay leaf (plural bay leaves), Greek Daphni, Romanian Foi de Dafin; is the aromatic leaf
of several species of the Laurel family (Lauraceae). Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in
cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance.

• Laurus nobilis, is a culinary herb often used to flavor soups, stews, and braises
and pâtés in Mediterranean Cuisine. The fresh leaves are very mild and do not
develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying.

• California bay leaf

The leaf of the California bay tree (Umbellularia californica), also known as
'California laurel', 'Oregon myrtle', and 'pepperwood', is similar to the
Mediterranean bay but has a stronger flavor.

• "Indian bay leaf" (also tej pat, tejpat, tejpata तेजपता or Tamalpatra तमालपत)

The leaf of the Cinnamomum tejpata (malabathrum) tree is similar in fragrance

and taste to cinnamon bark, but milder. In appearance, it is similar to the other bay
leaves but is culinarily quite different, having an aroma and flavor more similar to
that of Cassia. It is inaccurately called a bay leaf as it is of a different genus
(though the same family) as the bay laurel.

• "Indonesian bay leaf" or "Indonesian laurel" (salam leaf)

The leaf of Syzygium polyanthum. Used mostly in dry form although the fresh one
gives the "right" flavor. The leaf used in certain soups or steamed preparations.
Like Indian bay leaf, it is also an inaccurate name because, unlike bay leaf, the
plant belongs to Myrtaceae.

Taste and aroma

If eaten whole, bay leaves are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste. The flavor of the
California bay leaf is a bit more intense and bitter than the Turkish variety. As with many
spices and flavorings, the fragrance of the bay leaf is more noticeable in cooked foods
than the taste. When dried, the fragrance is herbal, slightly floral, and somewhat similar
to oregano and thyme. Myrcene, which is a component of many essential oils used in
perfumery, can be extracted from the bay leaf. The flavor and aroma of bay leaves owes
in large part to the essential oil eugenol.

Culinary use
Bay leaves are a fixture in the cooking of many European cuisines (particularly those of
the Mediterranean), as well as in North America. They are used in soups, stews, meat,
seafood and vegetable dishes. The leaves also flavor classic French dishes such as
bouillabaise and bouillon. The leaves are most often used whole (sometimes in a bouquet
garni), and removed before serving. In Indian cuisine bay leaves are often used in biryani
and many salads.

Bay leaves can also be crushed (or ground) before cooking. Crushed bay leaves impart
more of their desired fragrance than whole leaves, and there is less chance of biting into a
leaf directly.

History/region of origin
Ancient Greeks and Romans crowned victors with wreaths of laurel. The term
"baccalaureate," meaning laurel berry, refers to the ancient practice of honoring scholars
and poets with garlands from the bay laurel tree. Romans felt the leaves protected them
against thunder and the plague. Later, Italians and the English believed bay leaves
brought good luck and warded off evil. The given name and surname "Laurence" is
derived from the Roman name for the plant and the honorary practices using its boughs
of leaves and berries. Other versions of the name are "Lawrence", "Loritz", "Laritz" and
the Hungarian "Lorinc." In Scandinavian languages "Laurence" became the common
"Lars", and the Finnish equivalent is "Lauri".

Mountain laurel leaves are poisonous to certain livestock and are not sold anywhere as a
culinary herb (Britannica). This has led to the mistaken belief that bay leaves should be
removed from food after cooking because they might poison humans. Bay leaves are safe
to eat. However, a person may accidentally swallow a leaf; and since the leaves remain
stiff, even after several hours of cooking, this sometimes causes cutting of the larynx and
should be avoided