Essential Oil Profile: Caraway

by Amelia E. Hoard, RN


Common Name: Caraway

Synonyms: Apium carvi, carum

Latin Binomial: Carum carvi

Family: Apiaceae

Production Method: steam distilled from ripe dried, crushed seed

Countries of Origin: Native to Europe and Western Asia, now widely cultivated.

Typical Constituents: [+]-Carvone (47.3-59.5%), [+]-Limonene (36.9-48.8%),

 b-Myrcene (0.2-1.0%)

Description of Oil: pale yellow to brownish with an intense warm, spicy odor

Description of Plant: A biennial herb with a many branched stem, finely defined leaves, and white flowers. The seeds are curved with five distinct pale ridges.

History, Folklore and Myth: Sometimes known as ‘Meadow Cumin’, with a history dating back to the Stone Age. Used in Egypt as flavoring and found in burial places, in Rome to flavor bread and gained a reputation in Arabia for sharpening eyesight and sweetening breath.

Properties and Uses: Antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperitif, astringent, carminative, diuretic, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, spasmolytic, stomachic, tonic, vermifuge.

Precautions and Contraindications: non-toxic and non-sensitizing



Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Lawless, Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Element Books. 1995.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005

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