This section is from the book "The London Medical Dictionary", by Bartholomew Parr. Also available from Amazon: London Medical Dictionary.
Also called carvi, cuminum pratense, caros; carawaies. It is the carum carvi Lin. Sp. Pi. 378. Nat. order umbelliflerae.
It is a native of the northern climes; cultivated in gardens with us; but by chance found wild, and is a biennial plant. Its roots and leaves are esculent.
The seeds are warm and carminative; have an aromatic smell, a warm penetrating taste, and are given in powder from Э j. to 3 j. They dispel wind, are cordial, stomachic, and assist the digestive powers; recommended in dyspepsia, flatulencies, and some hysterical and hypochondriacal affections. Carui seeds excite the discharge of saliva, and are said to be emmena-gogue. They are used in palsies: the oil is supposed to be advantageous in tooth ach. In the complaints of children, they are boiled with advantage among the laxative ingredients of clysters. Custom even retains them in those of adults. They differ only from anise-seeds in the peculiarity of their odour.
An extract made from a tincture, with rectified spirit, retains all the virtue of the seeds. After infusion in water, spirits extract a strong tincture; watery infusions are strongest to the smell, and spirituous ones to the taste.
When distilled in water, all their aroma rises. They afford an essential oil, which is a warm carminative, and given in doses from one to five drops: and there is also a spirit drawn from the seeds. Spiritus ca-rvi is made by adding half a pound of bruised carui seeds to a gallon of proof spirit, with a little water to avoid empyreuma, and distilling off a gallon. It has been used as a stomachic; but, by such medicines, the pernicious habit of drinking drams is often incautiously introduced.