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Caraway seeds, which are in fact the dried fruits of the plant, are used as a spice to flavour foods, and the essential oil has also been used traditionally in foods, in the cosmetic industry, as well as for medicinal purposes. Caraway (seeds and oil) has anise-like flavour, is high in iron and phytosterols, and has traditionally been added to meat, cheese, condiments, rye breads, cakes, sweets and beverages. Research, particularly out of the Middle East but also Europe and the US, provides evidence of caraway possessing a number of bioactive properties, which include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, glucose lowering, anti-diabetic, lipid lowering, chemopreventive/anti-cancer, hepato- and nephroprotective, diuretic, anticonvulsant and antimicrobial properties. This spice is also reported to affect reproductive organs and impact on drug bioavailability. In addition, clinical trials provide some evidence of its possible effectiveness in the management of obesity and digestive problems, in particular functional dyspepsia (partly due to its reported analgesic effect), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

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