Dose of Aromatic Spices in Medicine
The following aromatic fruits belonging to this natural order are noticed by Sanskrit writers and are used in medicine or as condiments by the natives.
The seeds of Ptychotis Ajowan meaning Ajwain in Hindi have an aromatic smell and warm pungent taste. They are used for culinary purposes, as spices along with betel nuts and pan leaves, and as a carminative medicine. A tea spoonful of ajwain with a little rock salt is a common domestic remedy for indigestion from irregular diet. The following compound powder is used in cases of colic or pain in the bowels. Take ajwain, rock salt, sonchal salt, yavakshara, asafoetida and chebulic myrobalan in equal parts; powder the ingredients and mix. Dose should be grains 10 to 20, to be taken with wine. Ajwain, taken daily with treacle, is said to cure urticaria within a week.
The seeds of Carum Roxburghianum meaning Randhuni in Bengali are an essential ingredient of native cookery. They are said to be useful in hiccup, vomiting and pain in the region of the bladder. They enter into the composition of several carminative and stimulant preparations, such as the ‘Ajamodadi Churna’, etc.
Cuminum Cyminum meaning Cumin seeds form an ingredient of some curry powders and pickles used by the natives. They are regarded as stomachic, carminative, astringent and useful in dyspepsia, diarrhoea, etc. A confection of cumin seeds is prepared as follows:
Jirakadi Modaka: Take the three myrobalans, tubers of Cyperus rotundus (mustaka), watery extract of gulancha, prepared talc, flowers of Mesua ferrea (nagakesara), leaves called tejapatra, cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, coriander, ginger, long pepper, Oldenlandia herbacea (parpati), root of Andropogon muricalum (usira), Pavonia Odorata (bala) and Plumbago Zeylanica (Chitraka), each 1 part, cumin seed 19 parts or equal in weight to all the other ingredients; powder them all and mix. Add 2 parts of sugar to 1 part of the powder and make into a confection with honey and clarified butter. Its dose should be one drachm. This medicine is prescribed in chronic diarrhoea and dyspepsia with loss of appetite.
Jirakadya Taila: Take powdered cumin seeds 8 tolas, red lead 4 tolas, prepared mustard oil 3 seers, water 12 seers, boil them together in the usual way for the preparation of medicinal oils. This oil is used in eczema.
A poultice made of cumin seeds, with the addition of honey, salt and clarified butter is recommended to be applied to scorpion bites.
Carum Carui, the fruits are called ‘Shahi Jeera’ in the vernacular. The plant grows wild largely in the high alpine region of Lahaul in the Western Himalaya, but is rare in the plains. The fruits contain a volatile oil and are used as a carminative like cumin seeds.
Foeniculum Vulgare, commonly known as Fennel seeds are largely used as a condiment. In medicine they are chiefly used as an aromatic adjunct to other articles. Distilled fennel water is prepared and sold in India, under the name of ‘Arak Badian’, and is used as a domestic carminative.
Coriandrum Sativum meaning Coriander is largely used by the natives as a condiment and along with betel nuts and pan leaves. It is described as carminative, refrigerant, diuretic, tonic and aphrodisiac. A cold infusion of coriander is given with sugar for the relief of internal heat and thirst. A decoction of coriander and ginger is given in dyspepsia and indigestion. Coriander enters into the composition of numerous cooling and carminative medicines. The fresh leaves of the plant are pungent and aromatic. They are used for preparing a sauce or chutney, in the same way as the leaves of spearmint or Pudina.