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Kalijiri: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

By NS Desk | Herbs | Posted on :   08-Dec-2020

Kalijiri, also known as Bitter Cumin, is a plant commonly grown in India and Southeast Asia. The seeds are brown and have a sharp, bitter taste. Raw seeds are challenging to consume directly and are traditionally used as an ingredient in classic Ayurvedic formulations.

Kalijiri seeds are beneficial for respiratory diseases such as asthma due to their bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also useful for vitiligo due to its ability to promote melanin synthesis.

Kalijiri is used as an ingredient in Ayurvedic creams and oils used to manage skin infections due to its antibacterial properties. The antioxidants present in Kalijiri also help wound healing by accelerating wound contraction. According to Ayurveda, applying Kalijiri seed paste with Neem or coconut oil can help with early wound healing due to its Kashay (astringent) properties. It has been found in detoxifying blood by eliminating toxins and hence increasing their elimination. It has also been found for losing weight and managing flatulence as well.

What are the synonyms for Kalijiri?

Kalijiris is pronounced with different names in different languages. It’s called Centratherum anthelminticum in Latin. In Sanskrit, it's known as Vanyajiraka, Aranya-Jiraka, Aranyajirakah, Kaalijiri,Brihatpali, Karjiri,Somaraji,Vanajiraka. It is known as Somaraaj or Babchi in Bengali. In Gujarati, Kalijiri is known as Kaaleejeeree, Kadavijeeree, or Kadvo-Jiri. In Punjabi, it's known as Bukoki, Kakshama, Kala-Zira, Kali-ziri, Malwa-bakchi, Malwabakshi. It's also known in multiple names in Hindi, namely as Kaalijeeree, Karajiri, Soharaai, Bakchi, Bakshi, and Buckshi. In Telugu as Adavijilakaroa and Garetikamma. And in Tamil, it's known as Kaattuchirakam, Chittilai, or Kaattu Chirakam.

From where Kalijiri is grown?

Kalijiri, Ayurvedic medicine, is a plant-based herb.

Benefits of consuming Kalijiri

1. Indigestion

Kalijiri helps manage indigestion. According to Ayurveda, indigestion refers to the condition of an incomplete digestive process. The main reason for indigestion is aggravated Kapha, which causes Agnimandya (weak digestive fire). Using Kalijiri in your diet will help improve Agni (digestive fire) and help digest food easily. This is due to the Deepan (appetizer) property.

Tips for using Kalijiri for indigestion

  1. A well-known way to consume Kalijiri is by mixing it with Methi seeds and Ajwain.
  2. Make all the ingredients mentioned above separately and sift them to remove stones or other impurities.
  3. Now on a dry roast, roast Kalijiri for 1 minute.
  4. Repeat this process for the other two ingredients as well.
  5. Grind each ingredient separately to get a powder.
  6. Mix the three powders to get Kalijiri, Methi, and Ajwain powder.
  7.  Take 1-3 gm of this mixture with hot water at bedtime (or as directed by your doctor) to eliminate symptoms of indigestion.

2. Asthma

The main Doshas associated with asthma are Vata and Kapha. Vitiated “Vata'' combines with the deranged 'Kapha dosha' in the lungs to block the respiratory tract. This causes shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. This condition is called Swas Roga (asthma). Kalijiri helps manage asthma due to its Vata-Kapha balance and Ushna (hot) properties. It also helps remove obstructions and makes breathing easier.

3. Cough

Cough is a widespread disease that usually occurs with colds. Commonly known as Kapha disorder in Ayurveda. Coughing is generally caused by the accumulation of mucus in the respiratory tract. Kalijiri helps manage cough due to its Kapha balance and Ushna (hot) properties. It helps by quickly draining accumulated mucus to relieve it.

4. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary tract infections are described by Ayurveda's broad term Mutrakcchra. Mutra means ooze, and krichra means painful. Therefore, painful urination and dysuria are called Mutrakcchra. Kalijiri helps manage urinary tract infections due to its Mutral (diuretic) properties. It increases urine flow and reduces symptoms of urinary tract infections.

5. Healing wounds

Wounds are caused by external injuries and lead to certain conditions such as pain, swelling, or sometimes bleeding. This is due to the deteriorated Vata dosha at the site of the damage. Kalijiri helps in managing wounds due to its Vata balancing and Kashay (astringent) properties. It also helps in reducing symptoms of injuries such as pain or bleeding and promotes rapid healing.

Tips for consuming Kalijiri powder.

  1. Take a few Kalijiri seeds.
  2. Grind to a powder.
  3. Mix this powder with neem oil or coconut oil.
  4. Applying to the affected area once a day can quickly relieve wounds or skin infections.

Precautions when consumingKalijiri

During Breastfeeding

There is no scientific information available on the use of Kalijiri in breastfeeding. Since a specific diet is recommended to mothers during this period, it is advisable to avoid or consult a doctor before using Kalijiri while breastfeeding.

During Pregnancy

According to modern science, there is not enough scientific information available for the use of Kalijiri during pregnancy. Since there are a lot of hormonal changes, a female goes through pregnancy. It is advisable to avoid or consult a doctor before using Kalijiri in pregnancy.

How to use Kalijiri

Kalijiri Powder

  1. A well-known way to consume Kalijiri is by mixing it with Methi seeds and Ajwain.
  2. Take all the ingredients mentioned above separately and sift them to remove stones or other impurities.
  3. Now on a dry roast, roast Kalijiri for 1 minute.
  4. Repeat this process for the other two materials.
  5. Grind each ingredient separately to get a powder.
  6. Mix all three powders to get Kalijiri, Methi, and Ajwain powder.
  7. Take 1-3 gm of this mixture with hot water at bedtime (or as directed by your doctor) to eliminate symptoms of indigestion.

Tips for using Kalijiri powder.

  1. Take some Kalijiri seeds.
  2. Grind to make a powder.
  3. Mix this powder with neem oil or coconut oil.
  4. Apply once a day on the affected area for quick relief from injury or skin infection.

Kalijiri paste

  1. Take some Kalijiri seeds.
  2. Grind to make a powder.
  3. Add this powder to neem oil or coconut oil and make a paste.
  4. Apply this paste once a day for quick relief from injury or skin infection.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q1. Is Kalijiri available in the market?

Yes, Kalijiri seeds and seed powder are readily available in the market. It can be purchased online or from the market.

Q2. What is the taste of Kalijiriseeds?

The seeds have a bitter taste. Kalijiri seeds alone are hard to eat, so take them with other herbs like methi and Ajwain.

Q3. Are Kalijiri and Jeera the same?

No, they are not. Kalijiri and Jeera are not identical. Kalijiri is used for medicinal purposes and not much in cooking due to its bitter taste. Cumin has a strong aroma and taste and is a commonly used spice in Indian cuisine.

Q4. Does Kalijiri help with diabetes?

Modern Science

Ayurveda

As per the modern science view, Yes, Kalijiri seeds can help in treating diabetes. It contains antioxidants that prevent pancreatic cells from being damaged by free radicals. It raises insulin levels and helps controlling diabetes. 

 

According to Ayurveda, Diabetes is also known as Madhumeha, is caused due to Vata-Kapha dosha imbalance and improper digestion. Indigestion is the accumulation of Ama in the pancreatic cells (the toxic that is leftover in the body due to improper digestion), which interferes with insulin action. Kalijiri helps control diabetes due to its Vata-Kapha balancing and Tikta (bitter) properties. It reduces the symptoms of diabetes by maintaining the normal functioning of insulin.

 

Q5. Can Kalijiri Help with Kidney Stones?

Modern Science

Ayurveda

Yes, Kalijiri helps with kidney stones. Due to the presence of antiurolithiatic properties and prevents the formation of urinary stones. It increases urine production and helps in phosphorus and calcium excretion, which otherwise promotes kidney stones formation due to diuretic properties.

 

As per Ayurveda, Kalijiri does help with kidney stones due to Mutra (diuretic) properties. It increases urine production and makes it easier for kidney stones to pass through the urine.

Q6. Does Kalijiri help with hypertension?

According to modern science, Kalijiri seeds have diuretic properties and help with hypertension. It stimulates urine production and helps in the removal of sodium ions, which leads to relaxing blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.

Q7. Can Kalijirihelp in breathingdifficulties?

Yes, Kalijiri seeds eliminate breathing difficulties due to bronchodilator properties. It relaxes the airway and increases airflow. It reduces inflammation in the lungs due to the presence of specific components that have anti-inflammatory properties.Kalijiri helps manage asthma due to its Vata-Kapha balance and Ushna (hot) properties and provides relief in breathing

Q8. Does Kalijiri help in treating fever?

According to modern science. Yes, Kalijiri has antipyretic properties with fevers. It lowers body temperature and reduces the pain that is related to fever due to the presence of its analgesic properties. A person with a fever can consume Kalijiri with hot water (recipe mentioned above) to relieve fever.

Q9. Can Kalijiri help to deal with vitiligo?

Modern Science

Ayurveda

Vitiligo or leukoderma is a disease in which white spots appear on the skin. Kalijiri fruit helps treat vitiligo because it contains specific components (flavonoids) that increase melanin synthesis. It helps to reduce depigmentation and treats vitiligo.

 

As per Ayurveda, Vitiligo is a pigmentation disorder that destroys melanocytes in the skin. In Ayurveda, vitiligo or shingles is caused by an imbalance in one of the three doshas in the body (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). An improper balance of dosha leads to Ama's formation (the toxic waste in the body that remains due to improper digestion) that damages the body's deep tissues. This can eventually lead to depigmentation of the skin. Kalijiri reduces vitiligo symptoms by reducing the Ama in the body due to the Deepan (appetizer) property. It also helps in balancing Vata and Kapha, which helps in treating white patches.

Q10. Can Kalijiri be used for arthritis?

Modern Science

Ayurveda

According to modern science, Yes, Kalijiri can be used in arthritis because it reduces pain and inflammation symptoms associated with gout. It contains specific components (flavonoids, phytosterols, phenols) with anti-inflammatory properties. These factors inhibit the mediators of inflammation and reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

 

As per Ayurveda, due to an imbalance of Vata Dosha, Kalijiri is especially beneficial in gout. This imbalance can lead to specific symptoms such as pain or inflammation. Kalijiri helps in reducing the symptoms of gout due to its balancing and Ushna (hot) properties.

Q11. Is Kalijiri Beneficial for Fungal Infections?

As per modern science, Kalijiri seeds may help in the management of fungal infections. This may be due to the presence of specific components (phenol) that have antifungal properties. It prevents the growth and multiplication of fungi that cause fungal infections. Apart from that, many other factors can increase fungal infections on the skin (like moisture trap and chafing), so dependence on Himsara for fungal infection should be done with caution.

Q12. Can Kalijiri help with diarrhea?

Modern Science

Ayurveda

As per modern science, Yes, Kalijirini can be used in diarrhea due to astringent properties. It helps to shrink the mucous membrane and reduce the discharge of mucus secretions. Kalijiri fruit is boiled with garlic and pepper, and its decoction is used for treating diarrhea.

 

Diarrhea is also known as Atisar in Ayurveda. Some factors, such as improper diet, unclean water, toxins, stress, and Agnimandya (known as weak digestive fire), are responsible for the imbalanced or excess amount of Vata. This excessive Vata amount brings fluid in intestines from various cells in the body and mixes with the stool. This leading to loose, watery movements or diarrhea. Kalijiri helps control diarrhea due to the presence and Kashaya (astringent) and Deepan (appetite) properties. It helps to reduce excess water loss and prevents diarrhea.

 

Q13. Can Kalijiri heal skin wounds?

In scientific medicine, the topical application of Kalijiri leaf extract can help in wound healing. It contains constituents (flavonoids, fatty acids, and saponins) that promote wound shrinkage and increase collagen production. It reduces inflammation and heals wounds associated with irritation. The use of Kalijiri can help in the recovery of injuries and can close wounds for better healing.

Q14. Can Kalijirihelp with Skin Infections?

Modern Science

Ayurveda

As per modern science, the background application of Kalijiri seeds helps treat skin diseases. It has strong antibacterial properties that inhibit bacterial growth and prevent infection. It has been found helpful in treating various skin diseases such as ulcers, eczema, and psoriasis by reducing itching and irritation and facilitating soothing action.

 

As per Ayurveda, Skin infections usually occur due to imbalance in any of the three doshas. This imbalance can lead to certain conditions such as itching, irritation, or sometimes bleeding. Kalijiri, with the help of its dosha-balancing and Kashaya (astringent) properties, can help manage skin infections effectively.One effectively uses such Ayurvedic substances as light on skin and does not make your skin dry during the recovery process. Kalijiri helps in controlling skin diseases. It reduces symptoms and gives relief.

 

Q15. Can Kalijiri help control mosquitoes?

As per modern science, Yes, Kalijiri leaves and fruit extract can be used as a natural preventive agent against mosquito infestation. It helps to control mosquitoes by inhibiting the growth of the Anopheles mosquito (vector of malaria) in the larval stage due to the larvicidal property. Therefore, malaria can be prevented from spreading malaria.

NS Desk

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