Other Names of Cardamom

  • Lesser Cardamom
  • Indian Cardamom
  • Green Cardamom
  • Elettaria cardamomum
  • Ela
  • Cardomomi Fructus
  • Cardamomo
  • Cardamome
  • Black Cardamom
  • Bai Dou Kou
  • Amomum cardamomum
  • Elaichi
  • Grains of Paradise

Useful Parts of the Plant:

  • Seed
  • Fruit

Cardamom comes from the ginger family Elettaria Cardamomum. The ripe fruit when dried is sold commercially and it is often called the 'Queen of Spices' due to the pleasant taste and aroma that it possesses. Cardamom is a rhizomatous, herbaceous, and perennial plant. Based on its panicle nature there are three varieties that are recognized. These are Vazhukka-with a panicle that is semi erect, Mysore-with a panicle that is erect, and Malabar-with a panicle that is prostrate. The height of the plant ranges from two to three meters with leaves that are pubescent and with globose fruits.

Nutritional Information and Properties of Cardamom

Cardamom is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. It also has a good quantity of manganese, sodium, and iron. There is also a little copper and zinc present. There is a good amount of vitamin C present in cardamom. It also contains some amount of vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin. 100 grams of cardamom contains 311 calories, out of which 56 calories come from fat. Some of the chemical constituents of cardamom essential oil are heptanes, sabinene, cineol, β-phellandrene, menthone, limonene, mycene, and terpineol.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses of Cardamom

  • Indigestion Cardamom helps in soothing the mucous membrane and improving appetite. It is effective in relieving heartburn and gas caused by onion and garlic. It is also made use of in digestive ailments like excessive thirst, halitosis, flatulence, and anorexia.
  • Diuretic Cardamom is a very good diuretic and can be made use of in the treatment of scanty urination, burning micturition, nephritis, cystitis, and gonorrhea.
  • Sore Throat Gargling with a preparation made of cinnamon and cardamom is used to treat sore throats and pharyngitis and also to bring relief to voice hoarseness during influenza's infectious stage.
  • Impotency Cardamom is also effective in treating premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. However, you should avoid using cardamom excessively since it can also bring about impotency.
  • Antidote Among some of the other cardamom benefits is its ability to acts as an antidote for scorpion and snake venom.
  • Other Medicinal Uses Cardamom's medicinal uses also include the treatment of burning sensations caused by skin diseases, fevers, infection of the gums and teeth, and pulmonary tuberculosis. It also helps to break up gall stones and kidney stones. It is also used to treat hiccups, cough, and depression.

Other Uses

  • Mouth Freshener: Cardamom's aromatic flavor helps in as a mouth freshener, to clear the breath of foul smell. It can also be used to get rid of any bad taste in the mouth.
  • Cardamom has a very sweet and pungent flavor and is used most commonly in Arabic countries to flavor coffee. Cooking with cardamom in Scandinavian countries is in the preparation of bread and in India it is used in curry blends. Cardamom is also made use of in American favorites like coffee cake and apple pie.

Precautions/Side Effects/ Warnings

Cardamom is considered to be safe for most individuals but the potential side effects are not known. You should avoid taking cardamom in greater amounts than is normally found in food if you are breast feeding or pregnant or if you have gall stones. The correct dose of cardamom for treatment depends on many factors such as health, age, and other conditions. Just because cardamom is a natural product, it does not mean that it should be consumed in excess. It is therefore important that you follow the directions mentioned on the labels of products that contain cardamom and consult your physician or pharmacist before taking any medication that contains cardamom as the main ingredient.