Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague

Last updated: 10 January 2017

Scientific Name

Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague


Ammi copticum L. Ammios muricata Moench, Athamanta ajowan Wall., Bunium copticum (L.) Spreng., Carum ajowan Benth. & Hook.f., Carum aromaticum Druce, Carum copticum (L.) Benth. & Hook.f. ex C.B.Clarke, Carum copticum (L.) Benth. & Hook. f., Carum panatjan Baill., Cyclospermum ammi (L.) Lag., Daucus anisodorus Blanco, Daucus copticus (L.) Lam., Daucus copticus (L.) Pers., Helosciadium ammi (L.) Oken          , Helosciadium ammi (L.) Britton, Ptychotis coptica (L.) DC., Sison ammi L., Trachyspermum copticum (L.) Link, Apium ammi (L.) Urb. [Illegitimate]. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Jemuju, hajimuju, mungsi (Peninsular) [2][3]
English Bishop’s weed, carum,Ajwain, yavani, ptychotis ajowan, kannada ajamoda, sinhala asamodagam [2][3]
Indonesia Mungsi (Javanese, Malay); mose (Madurese); musi (Balinese) [2]
Thailand Phakchee (Northern) [2]
Philippines Damoro (Tagalog, Pampangan); lamudio (Tagalog, Bikol) [2][3]

Geographical Distributions

Trachyspermum ammi is probably a native of Ethiopia and Egypt, and occurs semi-naturally in southern Europe, but also found cultivated in northern Africa, Ethiopia, western Asia, India, Iran and the former USSR, as well as in Southeast Asia, e.g. in Java (Indonesia), Peninsular Malaysia and the Philippines. [2]

Botanical Description

T. ammi is a member of Umbelliferae family. T. ammi is an annual, erect and aromatic herb that reaches up to a height of 25-60(-140) cm. The stem is striate, smooth and usually strongly branched.

The leaves are arranged alternately pinnately compound. The stalk is long and sheathing. Its blade in outline is egg-shaped-elliptical, measuring up to 13 cm x 12 cm. There are 2-3-pinnate, segments linear to narrowly oblong and measuring to 2 mm long. [2]

The inflorescence is a terminal or arising from the axils, compound umbel and measures up to 6 cm in diametre. Its peduncle is measures 1-10 cm long. There are about 3-6 bracts compartment, which are linear-lance-shaped and sometimes divided. There are 5-9(-17) rays per umbel, 0.5-3 cm long and, measuring up to 2 cm in fruit. The pedicels (secondary rays) are 8-15(-25) and 1-6 mm long. There are 4-7 secondary bracts on the pedicel. The flowers are radially symmetrical, 5-merous, bisexual, sepal teeth are 0.5 mm long, fleshy petals are heart-shaped is measure about 0.6-0.7 mm long; its apex inflexed and white. There are 5 stamens. The anthers are reddish-brown while the ovary is inferior and it is densely white hairy. The stigma is spherical. [2]

The fruit is flattened, partially spherical schizocarp, splits into 2 hairy and 1-seeded mericarps. It is 2mm x 1mm where each mericarp is with 5 longitudinal ribs. The broad and warty trichomes are on the ribs. Each part of the fruits contains 4-6 oil ducts. [2]

The seed is tiny, ovoid, embryo straight and endosperm is copious and grey. The seedling is with ground epigeal germination. The cotyledons are reverse lance-shaped that measure 5-15 mm x 1-2 mm, base attenuate and slightly sheathing. Its first leaf is simple, blade egg-shaped in outline and deeply divided into 3 lobes with each repeatedly incised. [2]


In Southeast Asia, T. ammi is grown on the hills, measuring up to 750 m altitude. In Ethiopia, it is cultivated at 1700-2200 m altitude, but when grown at 2000 m fruit setting is less satisfactory. The climate of Central Europe is not considered suitable for T. ammi, and cultivation ceased centuries ago, although it is still found here and there in the wild. T. ammi prefers not too heavy, loamy soils, but can be grown on all types of soils, although wet rice-growing soils are considered unsuitable as they promote vegetative development.[2]

Chemical Constituent

T. ammi has been reported to contain mainly thymol, with p-cymene, dipentene, α and β pinene, t-terpinene, camphene, myrcene, β-3-carneen, limonene, carvacrol, glycocide 6-0-β-D glucopyranosyloxythymol, palmitic pertoselenic oleic and linoleic acids.  Vitamins include calcium, carotene, chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, nicotinic acid, phosphorus, riboflavin, thiamin, and zinc. [4][5][6][7]

Plant Part Used

Fruit/seed. [3]

Traditional Use

In Ayurvedic medicine, T. ammi primary use is that of an anti-tussive or an expectorant. Additionally, the fruit has anti-flatulent properties as well as anti-arthritic effects. It is also known for its ability to assist in digestion. [8] While it mollifies the vata and kapha doshas, it also stimulates the pitta dosha. Its rasa, or taste, has been classified as Katu (pungent) and Tikta (bitter). T. ammi is also thought to have a heating effect on the mind/body. [4]

Preclinical Data


T. ammi has been reported for its bronchodilatory effects, and has been used in the treatment of asthma. In one study, researchers compared the effects of an extract of the herb with both placebo and theophylline in treating asthmatic patients. By measuring the pulmonary functional tests (PFT) of the subjects at regular intervals, the researchers were able to conclude that T. ammi was as effective as the theophylline and more effective than the placebo. [9]

The anti-tussive properties of T. ammi have been reported in pre-clinical settings. One animal study suggested that T. ammi was more powerful than Codeine in this respect and that these properties were not related to carvracol, a constituent of C. copticum previously thought to be responsible for its anti-tussive properties. [10]

Other pre-clinical studies have indicated that T. ammi may have antihypertensive effects as well as analgesic properties as it has been identified as an opiod.T. ammi may also possess some anti-diabetic properties. [11][12]

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

Interaction with drug

Based on pharmacology, T. ammi may interfere with diabetic therapy and with medications for hyper and hypotension. [10]

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.


No documentation.


Dosage Range

3-6 g powder, 126 mg extract. [3]

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of T. ammi. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2017 Jan 19]. Available from:
  2. Schmelzer GH. Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague ex Turrill. In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 2001;p. 552-555
  3. Nadkarni AK. Indian materia medica. Volume 1. Mumbai: Popular Parkashan Pvt. Ltd.,1982; p. 692.
  4. Kapoor LD. CRCHandbook of ayurvedic medicinal plants. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 1990; p.102.
  5. Dehghan AS, Yamini Y, Shemirani F, Assadi Y. Solid phase microextraction with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry: A very rapid method for identification of volatile organic compounds emitted by Carum copticum. Nat Prod Res. 2006;20(9):850-859.
  6. Gersbach PV, Reddy N. Non-invasive localization of thymol accumulation in Carum copticum (Apiaceae) fruits by chemical shift selective magnetic resonance imaging. Ann Bot (Lond). 2002;90(2):253-257.
  7. Ishikawa T, Sega Y, Kitajima J. Water-soluble constituents of ajowan. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2001;49(7):840-844.
  8. Tahraoui A, El-Hilaly J, Israili ZH, Lyoussi B. Ethnopharmacological survey of plants used in the traditional treatment of hypertension and diabetes in south-eastern Morocco (Errachidia province). J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;110(1):105-117.
  9. Boskbady MH, Alizadeh M, Jahanbin B. Bronchodilatory effect of Carum copticum in airways of asthmatic patients. Therapie. 2007;62(1):23-29.
  10. Boskabady MH, Jandaghi P, Kiani S, Hasanzadeh L. Antitussive effect of Carum copticum in guinea pigs. J Ehtnopharmacol. 2005;97(1):79-82.
  11. Gilani AH, Jabeen Q, Ghayur MN, Janbaz KH, Akhtar MS. Studies on the antihypertensive, antispasmodic, bronchodilator and hepatoprotective activities of the Carum copticum seed extract. J Enthopharmacol. 2005;98(1-2):127-135.
  12. Dashti-Rahmatabadi MH, Hejazia SH, Morshedi, A, Rafati AThe analgesic effect of Carum copticum extract and morphine on phasic pain in mice. J Ehtnopharmacol. 2007;109(2):226-228.