Caraway is the mature, dried schizocarpic fruit of a biennial herb, native to Eurasia. Each schizocarpic fruit is formed of two caraway seeds and divides into the two half-fruits when mature. The umbels are cut shortly before they reach maturity and dried. Caraway has a warm, sweet and slightly peppery aroma. Caraway is used in the food industry, in medicine and domestically. The primary active constituent in caraway is volatile oil (4-6 on average), which itself is made up of carvone and limonene. The fruit of the caraway plant contains fixed oil along with carbohydrate and protein.
Both fruit and oil possess aromatic, stimulant and carminative properties. Caraway was widely employed at one time as a carminative cordial, and was recommended in dyspepsia and symptoms attending hysteria and other disorders. It possesses some tonic property and forms a pleasant stomachic. Its former extensive employment in medicine has much decreased in recent years, and the oil and fruit are now principally employed as adjuncts to other medicines as corrective or flavouring agents, combined with purgatives.
It is a versatile spice and is used, among other things, for seasoning meat dishes, as a sausage spice, for seasoning vegetable dishes (cabbage dishes), sauces, bread and cheese.