Ajmoda or Celery seed is a well-known Ayurvedic medicinal herb. It consists of the dried seeds obtained from plant Apium leptophyllum, Apium graveolens, and Trachyspermum roxburghianum. In medicinal properties it is similar to Ajwain.
Ajmoda is pungent in both the initial and post-digestive tastes (Rasa and Vipaka) and hot in effect (Virya). It gives relief in Vata and Kapha and increases pitta. It is carminative, antiemetic and thermogenic. The seeds are deobstruent and resolvent and given in bronchitis, cough and asthma.
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Ajmoda is used in treatment of diseases of digestive, respiratory, urinary and circulatory system. Since it increases bile, it is indicated in low appetite and digestive weakness. It promotes digestion and assimilation. Due to its heating quality it shows beneficial effects in cold, cough, and fever. It kills parasitic worms in body. As it is warming and stimulating, it detoxifies body and burns Ama and used as preventive measure for gout and rheumatism.
Ajmoda / Celery is annual plant that grows up to 2 feet. Its flowers are hermaphrodite and have both male and female organs. It grows in acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) ovoid, soils. Celery leaves are eaten cooked. The seeds of plant are used as condiment.
The seeds of plant are small and yellowish brown. They are aromatic and slightly bitter-pungent in taste. Oral intake gives a sensation of warmth to tongue.
The botanical name of Ajmoda is Apium graveolens.
The seeds of Trachyspermum roxburghianum (DC) Sprague, Synonym Carum roxburghianum Benth Hook.f. is used as the common substitute for Apium graveolens.
It belongs to plant family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
- Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
- Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
- Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
- Subclass: Rosidae
- Order: Apiales
- Family: Apiaceae / Umbelliferae – Carrot family
- Genus: Apium L. – celery
- Species: Apium graveolens L. – wild celery
- Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Leaves, Root, Seeds
- Plant type: herb
- Distribution: central and southern states of India
- Habitat: Ditches, by rivers and in other damp locations, especially near the sea in salt marshes
- Group: Dicot
- Latin name: Apium leptophyllum,
- Ayurvedic: Ajamoda, Ajamoda (literal meaning = Goat's delight), Ayamoda, Ajmoja, Dipyaka
- Unani: Karafs-e-Hindi
- Siddha: Ashamtagam
- Assamese: Bonjamani, Bonajain, Yamani, Ajowan
- Bengali: Randhuni, Banyamani
- Gujrati: Bodi Ajamo, Ajamo
- Hindi: Ajmuda, Ajmod
- Kannada: Oma, Ajavana, Omakki
- Kashmiri: Fakhazur, Banjuan
- Malayalam: Ayamodakum, Omam
- Marathi: Ajmoda, Oova
- Oriya: Banajuani
- Punjabi: Valjawain, Ajmod
- Tamil: Omam
- Telugu: Naranji vamu
- Urdu: Ajmod
Constituents of Ajmoda
It contains volatile essential oil, mucilage and salt. The essential oil contains Meethers of thymol, carvacrol and thymoquinol, used as a carminative. The oil shows strong antifungal activity against Candida albicans, and moderate activity against Gram-positive and Gram negative bacteria.
Preparations: infusion, decoction, oil and seed powder.
Dosage of Ajmoda
The recommended dosage as medicine is 1-3 grams.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Ajmoda
Ajmoda is bitter and pungent in taste (rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is hot in effect (Virya).
It is an Ushna Virya herb. Ushna Virya or hot potency herb, subdues Vata (Wind) and Kapha (Mucus) and increases Pitta (Bile). It has property of digestion, vomiting and purging, and gives feeling of lightness. It is considered bad for sperms and fetus.
- Rasa (taste on tongue): Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
- Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry)
- Virya (Action): Ushna (Heating)
- Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
- Dipan / Deepana (promote appetite but do not aid in digesting undigested food)
- Pachak (digestive)
- Vidahi (spicy, things which cause burning sensation)
- Kapha-Vata har (Remover of the Humor of Kapha-Vata)
- Pitta vardhak (increases pitta)
- Ruchikarak (mprove taste)
- Krimighna (destroys worms)
- Shulaghna (gives relief in pain)
- Mutrala (promote the secretion of urine)
- Shvas (benefits breathing)
- Ama nashak (toxin digester)
- Anulomna (takes Vata / wind downward, mild laxative)
- Dhatu (tissues): Plasma, marrow and nerves
- Shrotas (channel): Digestive, respiratory, nervous, and urinary
Important Ayurvedic Formulations
- Ajamod Arka
- Ajamodadi Churna
Therapeutic uses of Ajmoda
- Gulma (tumor, growth, enlargement or cluster)
- Aruchi (anorexia)
- Adhmana (gas, bloating)
- Hikka (hiccups)
- Chardi (vomiting)
- Krimi Roga (intestinal parasites)
- Shula (pain)
Important Medicinal Properties
Ajmoda / Wild Celery Seeds are rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb. These also indicate the conditions in which we should avoid it. For example, it is emmenagogue and stimulates the uterus and therefore must not be used in pregnancy in medicinal doses.
Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.
- Abortifacient: induces abortion.
- Analgesic: relieve pain.
- Anthelmintic: antiparasitic, expel parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
- Antiaggregant / Antiplatelet: decrease platelet aggregation and inhibit thrombus formation.
- Antiarthritic: relieves the symptoms of arthritis
- Anticonvulsant / Antiepileptic: prevent or reduce the severity of epileptic fits or other convulsions.
- Antidiabetic: controls level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
- Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
- Antirheumatic: alleviating or preventing rheumatism.
- Carminative: Preventing the formation or causing the expulsion of flatulence.
- Choleretic: stimulating bile production by the liver.
- Deobstruent: Removing obstructions; having power to clear or open the natural ducts of the fluids and secretions of the body.
- Depurative: Purifying agent.
- Digestive: digestant.
- Diuretic: Promoting excretion of urine/agent that increases the amount of urine excreted.
- Emmenagogue: stimulates or increases menstrual flow.
- Expectorant: promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used to treat coughs.
- Hepatoprotective: prevent damage to the liver.
- Hypoglycemic: Reducing level of the sugar glucose in the blood.
- Lipolytic: lipid breaking.
- Nervine: calm the nerves.
- Uterotonic: Giving tone to the uterine muscle. Used to induce contraction or greater tonicity of the uterus.
Health Benefits of Ajmoda
- It stimulates digestive process.
- It helps in digestion of difficult to digest food.
- It gives relief in flatulence, intestinal parasites, colic and cramps.
- It promotes downward flow of air (anulomana).
- It shows beneficial effects on asthma, cough and cold, congestion and bronchitis.
- It dilates lungs pathway by preventing spasm.
- It is drying in nature.
- It helps to get rid of the excess mucous due to expectorant and heating action.
- It removes nervous constriction.
- It gives relief in menstrual cramps.
- It is specific remedy for arthritis, rheumatism, gout and pain in joints. It reduces pain and inflammation.
- It detoxifies body.
- It balances Prana, Udana, Samana and Apan Vayu and thus balances entire nervous system.
Medicinal Uses of Ajmoda Powder
Ajmoda is a well-known drug for digestive, respiratory diseases, rheumatism and gout. It is one of the chief ingredients in many formulations rheumatoid arthritis.
- As a medicine, the Ajmoda seeds can be ground to powder and taken. The recommended dosage is 1-3 grams, twice or thrice a day with warm water. Children should be given 125 to 500 mg, two or three times a day.
- Externally, the poultice, made of the powdered seeds in warm water can be applied on the affected joint.
- Ajmoda Churna / Ajmoda Powder, can be used safely in following conditions:
- Joint pain in arthritis such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, and non-specific arthritis (arthritis patients should avoid eating sour and cold items)
- Colic, indigestion, bloating, gas
- Cough, asthma, bronchitis
- Intestinal antiseptic
Contraindications, Interactions, and Side Effects of Ajmoda
- It can be used safely in recommended dosage.
- It should be taken cautiously in high pitta, hyperacidity as it increases Pitta / bile.
- As a medicine it should not be used in pregnancy. As a spice it can be added to dishes.
- It is drying in nature.
- It does not interact with other medicines.
- The diuretic action of Ajamoda works by irritating the kidneys and therefore should be used with caution in cases of renal disorder.