Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague
An erect, glabrous or minutely pubescent, branched annual. The stems are striate; the leaves are rather distant, 2-3-pinnately divided, the segments linear. The flowers occur in terminal or seemingly-lateral pedunculate, compound umbels, white and small; the fruits are ovoid, muricate, aromatic cremocarps, greyish brown; the mericarps, which are the components of the fruit, are compressed, with distinct ridges and tubercular surface, 1-seeded.
ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION
Ajwain originated in the Middle East, possibly in Egypt and the Indian Subcontinent, but also in Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan. In India, the major Ajwain producing states are Rajasthan and Gujarat, where Rajasthan produces about 90% of India's total production.
It is traditionally used as a digestive aid, relieves abdominal discomfort due to indigestion and antiseptic. In southern parts of India dry ajwain seeds are powdered and soaked in milk, which is then filtered and fed to babies. Many assume that it relieves colic in babies and for kids it also improves digestion and appetite. Ajwain can be used as digestive mixture in large animals. In the northern part of India, Ajwain is often consumed after a heavy meal. It is commonly offered after dinner parties.