CARDAMOM: WONDERFUL HERB & SPICE
DR. S. M. ALAM
Dec 12 - 18, 2011
Cardamom belongs to the family Zingiberaceae. The true cardamom is classified as Elettaria cardamomum. Cardamom is spice used in countries throughout the world but most prominently in Pakistan, India, and Europe.
In Pakistan and India, whole pods, green or brown are fried to extract the flavor and added to curries. In Europe, the seed is used to flavor breads and pastries.
The spice known as cardamom is the fruit of several plants of the Elettaria, Aframomum and Amomum genera in Zingiberaceae, or ginger family.
In general, Aframomum is used as a spice. Elettaria is used both as a spice and as medicine, and Amomum is used as an ingredient in several traditional medicines in China, Pakistan, India, Korea, and Vietnam.
The names of cardamom in different countries of the world are: Aframomum, Amomum, Amomum cardamomum, Amomum subulatum Roxb, amooman, bai dou kou, Bari Ilaichi, bastard cardamom, buah pelaga (Malay), cardamom oil, cardamome (French), cardamomo (Italian, Spanish), cardamon, cardamone (Italian), cardomomi fructus, chhoti elachi (Indian), elaichi (Pakistan and Indian), Elettaria cardamomum, Elettaria cardamomum Maton var. Miniscula Burkill, elam (Tamil), enasal (Sinhalese), grains of paradise, grawahn (Thai), greater cardamom, etc.
Cardamom is the dried, un-ripened fruit of the perennial Elettaria cardamomum. Enclosed in the fruit pods are tiny, brown, aromatic seeds, which are both pungent and sweet to the taste. Cardamom pods are generally green but are also available in bleached white pod form. It is available both in the whole pod and as decorticated seeds with the outer hull removed.
Cardamom has been used traditionally for a variety of conditions including as a digestive, carminative, stimulant, breath freshener, and aphrodisiac. Current research has implicated cardamom's potential therapeutic value as an inhibitor of human platelet aggregation.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. It may be used as remedy in following maladies: allergic skin reactions (contact dermatitis), antacid, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antipyretic (fever reducer), antiseptic (pulmonary), aphrodisiac, asthma, bronchitis, cardiac conditions, carminative (digestive aid), colds, colon cancer, constipation, cough, depression, digestive, dyspepsia (upset stomach), enhanced vision, flatulence (gas), food flavoring, food uses, gastrointestinal disorders, immunostimulant, infections (teeth and gum), inflammation (eyelids), intestinal spasm, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), laxative, liver and gallbladder complaints, loss of appetite, lung congestion, mouth and throat inflammation, nausea, nutritional intolerance in children (grains), sedative, skin conditions, snake bites, sore throats, stimulant, stings (scorpion), stomach aches, stress, tuberculosis, urinary tract infection and weight loss.
Traditionally, the typical dose of cardamom is 1.5 grams of the ground seeds per day. As a digestive, a tea prepared from one teaspoon of freshly crushed cardamom seeds infused in one cup boiled water for 10-15 minutes has been used.
Cardamom essential oil has traditionally been used as a tonic to the digestive system as well as a component of many sensual aphrodisiac blends. The oil has the aroma of freshly dried cardamom pods, far superior to the comparatively flat steam distilled variety of this oil. This essential oil is one of the delightful surprises in our collection. Its aroma is wonderfully rich and complex. The aroma is noted for its uplifting qualities that can bring calm and clarity.
It is listed in the British herbal pharmacopoeia as a specific for flatulence and dyspepsia.
Cardamom oil may relieve spasm, making it possibly beneficial for colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, and cramps.
Cardamom oil may be of benefit where the digestive system is affected by nervous tension. It is noted like black pepper essential oil to be a powerful digestive stimulant.
In addition, cardamom oil can relieve nausea and may be useful for morning sickness in pregnancy for some mothers-to-be.
Cardamom oil is also noted for its antiseptic properties and may stimulate phagocytic action of the immune system. It is also thought to be supportive of the nervous system and could be useful in massage blends addressing sciatica. Cardamom oil is extracted from the seed of the plant, which is also used extensively in Indian and Asian cooking. The same warming properties found in the spice also make the essential oil useful in massage oil formulas. The lovely aroma is found to be uplifting, invigorating and refreshing, adding a little spice on its own or to blends. Cardamom is the common name for several plant species native to India and southeastern Asia.
Cardamom is used for their aromatic pods and seeds. The true cardamom has large leaves and white flowers with blue stripes and yellow borders; it grows to about three m (about 10 ft) in height. The fruit is a small capsule with eight to 16 brown seeds.