Plant Origin: Egypt
Method: Steam distilled from seeds
Cultivation: unsprayed (grown organically but not certified)
Chemical Family: Ketone, Monoterpene
Aroma: Sweet, spicy, fruity, herbaceous
Caraway oil is known to calm the nerves and soothe mental fatigue, while settling the stomach, nervous digestion, colic, flatulence and gastric spasms.
As an expectorant it may help clear bronchitis, bronchial asthma and coughs. It may also be helpful in cases of sore throats and laryngitis and beneficial to the urinary system, possibly helping to flush toxins out. Nursing mothers also use it to increase milk, and women in general find that it helps to relieve monthly cycle pains. Caraway may settle digestion, stimulate appetite, relieve diarrhea and general bowel complaints.
"Caraway oil capsules are used in the treatment of gastrointestinal complaints, often in conjunction with peppermint oil." (Tisserand/Young page 231)
Tisserand/Young wrote: "Whether supplemented in the diet or applied to the skin, caraway oil inhibited DMBA-induced and croton oil-induced skin tumors in female mice, and caused regression in established papillomas (Shwaireb 1993)." "Dietary caraway oil at 0.01% or 0.1% significantly inhibited the development of pre-malignant colon cancer lesions in rats, partly through maintaining a healthy level of hepatic glutathione and CYP1A1 (Dadkhah et al 2011)."
Caraway is a natural antihistamine. Histamine is the culprit behind allergy symptoms. Essential oils that are antihistaminic (such as Caraway Seed and Lavender) work very well to abate coughs and other symptoms associated with histamine.
Caraway has been used to support tissue regeneration and useful for fighting oily skin while dispersing bruises, reducing boils and cleaning infected wounds. Furthermore, it relieves itching skin and helps to clear acne as well as scalp problems. It is used in cosmetics and perfumes.
The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia lists Caraway for the promotion of breast milk and for flatulent colic in children.
Anti-histaminic - hay fever
Anti-septic and Disinfectant -
Anti-spasmodic - gastric and large intestine spasm, intestinal issues
Calming - anger, vertigo
Carminative - gas (drink a drop of Caraway essential oil in warm water)
Cardiac - helps maintain regular heart beat, strengthens cardiac muscles, prevents hardening of arteries and veins, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the blood
Digestive - stimulates secretion of gastric juices, acids and bile, protects from infection, ulcers, facilitates digestion, clears bowels, constipation, loss of appetite
Female - delayed or obstructed menstruation, PMS
Expectorant - congestion, coughs, cold, inflammation of nasal tract, larynx, pharynx, bronchi and throat (drink a drop in warm water with honey to abate cough)
Stimulant - depression, fatigue, circulatory, digestion, endocrinal, nervous and excretory system, activates the brain
Tonic - heart, liver, skin, muscles, wrinkles, boosts strength and energy
Insecticide and Vermifuge - insects on or inside the body such as lice, intestinal worms (safe for children), on dogs for mange and scabies
Application Suggestions (See Essential Oil Usage for more information and a dilution chart.)
Topical: Dilute with carrier oil and apply on area of concern or as desired.
Inhalation: Diffuse; use as a facial steam for complexion.
Internal: Caraway is suitable for internal use within safe parameters if such use is deemed appropriate. We feel that internal use is rarely *needed* and should only be used with respect for how concentrated the oils are. HEO does not advocate internal use of essential oils without appropriate knowledge and understanding of how to administer, for what purpose, how much, which essential oils, safety concerns and so on. In our experience, essential oils are generally more effective used topically with proper dilution or inhaled. Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D. notes that "French aromatherapy literature contains many references to using oils orally." He goes on to note that "generally 1 drop is always enough when ingesting essential oils." A potential toxicity hazard could occur when untrained people use essential oils orally and ingest too much. Keep in mind that while medical doctors or health care practitioners may prescribe essential oils for internal use, they are trained and experienced in the safe application of essential oils. It is not a matter of using "French aromatherapy" or "British" methods, it's a matter of experience and appropriate application. Tisserand/Young note that Caraway is used in capsules (often with Peppermint) for gastrointestinal issues. Click here for information about internal usage.
Caraway is used as a component in toothpaste and mouthwash.
Tisserand notes that Caraway Seed capsules are used in the treatment of gastrointestinal complaints, often in conjunction with Peppermint oil.
1. My new favorite oil is Caraway Seed. We use it daily as we all have allergies and asthma. - Lori
Caraway seed essential oil is considered non-toxic and non-irritating, however, it may cause dermal irritation in concentration (Lawless).
Avoid contact with the eyes and other sensitive areas. Essential oils are both lipophilic and hydrophobic. Lipophilic means they are attracted to fat—like the membranes of your eyes and skin. They are also hydrophobic, meaning they do not like water. Flushing with water will only send the essential oil back to the eye's membranes. Applying a carrier oil will create another fat for the essential oil to be attracted to other than the membranes of the eyes or skin. We’ve not known this to cause permanent injury or long-term discomfort, but if you feel concerned, please call your health care provider.
Battaglia, Salvatore, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2002, pages 284-285.
Lawless, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, 1992.
Price, Shirley and Len, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Third Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2008
Rose, J, 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, Frog Ltd, 1999
Tisserand, Robert; Young, Rodney, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, Elsevier Health Sciences UK 2nd Edition 2014, page 231.