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    Trachyspermum ammi, commonly known as ajowan or ajwain, bishop's weed, ajowan caraway, carom seeds, or thymol seeds,or vaamu in Telugu or omam Tamil is a plant of India, Pakistan and the Near East whose seeds are used as a spice.


    The plant has a similarity to parsley. Because of their seed-like appearance, the fruit pods are sometimes called seeds; they are egg-shaped and grayish in colour.

    The 'seed' (i.e., the fruit pod) is often confused with lovage seed; even some dictionaries mistakenly state that comes from the lovage plant. An online search for lovage seeds finds many stores calling their ajwain seeds lovage.

    Flavour and aroma

    The raw fruit pod of Trachyspermum ammi 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. Even a small amount of raw fruit pods of Trachyspermum ammi tend to dominate the flavour of a dish.


    Trachyspermum ammi originated in the Middle East, possibly in Egypt, and the Indian subcontinent, but also in Iran and Afghanistan. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in berbere, a spice mixture favored in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

    In India, the major producers are the states Rajasthan and Gujarat, with Rajasthan producing about 90% of India's total output.

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