Botanical Name(s): Elettaria Cardamomum
Genus: Elettaria Maton
Species: Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton
Popular Name(s): Cardamon, Malabar Cardamom, Elachi
Parts Used: Seed
Habitat: Commonly found in South India
Cardamom is an evergreen, perennial ginger-like plant, with thick rhizomes and erect stems, bearing pointed leaves. White flowers with a pink to violet striped lip are born in a loose spike in summers, followed by pale green to beige, 3-celled capsules or pods, containing 15-20 aromatic seeds. The small, brown-black sticky seeds are contained in three double rows, with about six seeds in each row. The seeds are pungent, warm and aromatic. Elettaria and Amomum are the two main genera of the ginger family that are named as forms of cardamom. Elettaria is commonly called cardamom, green cardamom, or true cardamom, whereas Amomum is commonly known as black cardamom, brown cardamom, Kravan, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Siamese cardamom, white or red cardamom.
a-pinene, b-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, a-phellandrene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, y-terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-oil, a-terpineol, a-terpineol acetate, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol and trans-nerolidol.
Uses & Benefits of Cardamom
- Cardamom is used internally for indigestion, nausea, vomiting and pulmonary disease with copious phlegm.
- It can be used with a laxative to prevent stomach pain, griping, as well as flatulence.
- Cardamom seeds are chewed to sweeten the breath and to detoxify caffeine, in people taking excessive amounts of coffee. They are also used as a spice in cooking and as a flavoring in other medicines.
- The oil made from cardamom seeds is very good for digestive system. It functions as a laxative and soothes colic, wind, dyspepsia and nausea. It also works to warm the stomach and helps with heart burn.
- In South Asia, green cardamom is extensively used to treat infections in teeth and gums. It is also used to prevent throat troubles, congestion of the lungs, pulmonary tuberculosis and inflammation of eyelids.
- Cardamom is also brought in used to kidney stones and gall stones.
- The culinary uses of cardamom are enormous, notably in India. In a variety of dishes, the seeds are bruised and fried before the main ingredients. In Scandinavia, cardamom is often used in baking dishes.
- Cardamom species, in a different genus Amomum, are used to make traditional Indian medicines.
- Among the other species and varieties of cardamom, Amomum villosum is used in making some traditional Chinese medicine, which can treat stomachaches, constipation, dysentery, and other digestion problems.
- ‘Tskao’, a variety of cardamom cultivated in Yunnan and China, is used for both medicinal purposes and a spice.
- Pregnant women as well as those who are breastfeeding need to exercise caution while consuming cardamom.
- In case you plan to give cardamom to children, it is advisable to consult a health care provider beforehand.
- Always buy cardamom oil from reputed pharmacies only. Otherwise, you can end up with a fake version of the same.