Ajwain was first cultivated for extract, whose principal component, thymol, has bactericidal and antiseptic properties. Ajwain comes from southern India and in the old Orient, its seeds were used as a natural antiseptic and anti-flatulence agent. Lentils are an appropriate legume to cook with ajwain. The main supplier of ajwain is India, but it is also grown in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Egypt. Ajwain is an excellent additive to foods high in starch. In Southeast Asia it is routinely added to bread and unsweetened pastry. Ajwain may be replaced by thyme, but in a much smaller quantity, since ajwain's flavor is much stronger.