Cardamom often known as Queen of Spices, is the world’s third most expensive spice after saffron and vanilla. It has rich, unique aroma and distinct flavor, makes its presence felt in modern kitchen. Most of the cardamom today comes from Guatemala, India and Sri Lanka. Elettaria cardamomum is the commonly available green cardamom variety. Black cardamom is a variety from Nepal. Cardamom pods and cardamom seeds are commonly used in flavoring food, drinks and desserts. Cardamom tea or Elaichi Chai is a popular beverage in India. Cardamom flavored milk and cardamom coffee are equally preferred.
This spice from ginger family is also known for its medical benefits. Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine have recognized this herb for its medicinal uses. Cardamom is traditionally used in wide range of disorders including digestive disorders, bad breath, tooth infection, respiratory diseases and others. Cardamom consist wide range of vitamins and minerals. Cardamon essential oil contains bio active ingredients, including α-terpineol (45%), myrcene (27%) and others.
Cardamom health benefits
The cardamom health benefits includes protecting stomach and intestine, improve digestion, control cholesterol, improve cardiovascular system, cure dental disorders, protect urinary system, relaxing nervous system and others. Various medicine uses of cardamon and health benefits are discussed here:
Cardamom benefits for skin
Cardamom offers benefits to your skin both internally and externally. Cardamom is good detoxifying and antioxidant agent. Drinking cardamom tea also increases blood circulation to skin and offer a glowing skin. Chewing green cardamom pods may boost clearer skin. Cardamom protects skin against bacterial infection and allergies. It is often used as natural remedy for contact dermatitis.
Benefits of cardamom oil for skin – Cardamom oil has natural cleansing effect. It helps to declog skin pores and prevent pimples. It helps in toning the skin and removes blemishes. Cardamom oil often forms part of lip balm. It protects skin from free radicals and prevents sign of aging and wrinkles.
Spicy treat to your skin – Mix in equal proportion dry ginger, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Blend well and mix with base oil – olive or coconut, depending on your skin type. This mask can be applied to your skin to get clean and bright skin.
Cardamom Rose Face Mask – Mix three quarter cup of oatmeal with about a cup of water. To this add a tsp of rose water and pinch of powdered cardamom powder. Boil this for 2-3 minutes. Allow this to cool and apply this mask to your skin. Let it work for 15-20 minutes, before you wash with cold water.
Cardamom for Hair
Just like your skin, cardamom keeps your scalp clean and healthy. It assists in supply of nutrient carrying blood to hair follcicle and aid their growth. With its antioxidant and antibacterial benefits, it keeps scalp healthy and protects it from dandruff and other infections.
Apart from consumption of cardamom in diet regularly, best way to use cardamom for hair through cardamom oil. Mix it with coconut oil or olive oil and apply to your hair and scalp on regular basis. It helps in growth of hair, makes them stronger and thicker.
Cardamom aids digestive function
Cardamon seeds have been traditionally used for improving digestion; provide relief from bloating, flatulence and gas. It stimulates secretion of digestive enzymes. In India, raw green cardamom is often consumed along with fennel seeds after a meal to help digestion. It is also used as home remedy over heart burn, indigestion and nausea. Cardamom has been highly respected for its ability to cure gastrointestinal problems in Ayurveda, Unani and traditional Chinese medicine. In Unani, it is known as Heel khurd – medicine to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Black cardamom seeds are used in eliminating bile and treating congestive jaundice. Latest research on cardamom essential oil has confirmed its benefits in gastroprotective functions.
As home remedy for flatulence and indigestion, grind 2-3 cardamom, with a small piece of fresh ginger, 2-3 cloves and ½ tsp of coriander / cilantro seeds and consume with warm water or honey.
Cardamom for hyperacidity
Various essential oils present in cardamom stimulate saliva production and neutralizes stomach acid. Chewing cardamom is good remedy over heart burn and gastro esophageal reflux.
Read more about home remedies for GERD
Antimicrobial property of cardamom
Cardamom contains various bio active compounds which have strong antibacterial and antifungal action. It helps in increasing immunity and protecting body from various infections. Lab results have confirmed antimicrobial activities against broad spectrum of microbes.
What is cardamom called in local languages? Cardamome (French), Kardamom (German), cardamomo, cardamone (Italian), cardamomo (Spanish), phalazee (Burmese), ts’ao-k’ou (Chinese), kapulaga (Indonesian), buah pelaga (Malay), enasal (Sinhalese), grawahn, kravan (Thai), elakki (kannada), yelakulu(Telugu), elakkai (tamil /malayalam), Elaichi (hindi), Velchi (Marathi)
Detox your body with cardamom tea
Our body processes leads to production of byproducts which are toxic in nature. They need to be flushed out of body to remain healthy. Otherwise may cause degenerative diseases including cancer. Cardamom aids in this detoxifying function. Drinking cardamom tea is good way to detox.
Cardamom for heart
Cardamom is believed to lower blood pressure and thus treat hypertension. Consuming 1-2 cardamom pods is considered helpful in reducing blood pressure. Recent studies have confirmed such protective function. Cardamom is also helpful in regulating heart rate. With its detoxifying action, it helps in reducing cholesterol in body.
Cancer cure and Cardamom
Latest research has confirmed chemoprotective functions of cardamom. It is believed to prevent intestinal cancer, skin cancer and stomach cancer. Another research has showed that it can prevent growth of cancer cells in body. This can be attributed to the antioxidant property of cardamom which protects body cells from oxidizing effect of free radicals.
Cardamom for diabetes
Cardamom helps in reducing blood lipids and regulating glucose levels. Lab test with rats have confirmed ability of cardamom in regulating blood lipids and sugar. Due to free radicals, glycation byproducts are formed in body which often leads to diabetes. Cardamom has ability to inhibit hemoglobin glycation and helpful in preventing glycation-associated diabetes.
Cardamom and dental care
Indigestion often leads to bad bread. Cardamom helps in digestion of food and with its pleasant aroma helps in preventing bad breath. It also offers antibacterial properties which prevents growth of bacteria in oral cavity. Chewing cardamom post meal is excellent alternative for chewing gum and other mouth freshener. Ancient Egyptians used cardamom as teeth cleaner and used to cure toothache.
Cardamom prevents spasms
Cardamom has anti-spasmodic effect. It helps muscles relax and control spasms. Cardamom is also used to get rid of hiccups. Boil 4-5 cardamon pods in water and drink this water as home remedy for hiccups.
Cardamom tea and cardamom oil is used in curing headache. Cardamom tea helps body relax and provides relief on headache. Cardamom oil is also used in aromatherapy. Inhaling cardamom oil relaxes nerves and provides relief on headache.
Read more on natural food for headache
Cardamom – Aphrodisiac
Elaichi acts as tonic and stimulant to body reproductive system. It is found helpful in treating sexual disorders like impotency, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction. Its rich aroma works in stimulating mood. Reference of cardamom as aphrodisiac can be found in Arabian nights. A simple elaichi chai or cardamom milk is good enough to raise your mood.
Treating depression with cardamom
Cardamom helps in treating depression. Cardamom essential oil helps in stimulating nerves and reduces stress. Cardamom oil offers stimulating effect to treat physical and mental fatigue. Consumption of cardamom powder along with honey is good way of stimulating nervous system and boosting confidence levels. Consumption of cardamom tea benefits in fighting depression.
Cardamom for treating urinary disorders
Cardamom has been traditionally used as remedy over urinary tract infection, gonorrhea, cystitis. Combined with amla juice, it works as diuretic and relieve painful urination.
Read more on home remedies for urinary tract infection
Cardamom uses for respiratory disorders
Cardamom oil has warming effect and helps in reliving cold and cough. Inhaling steam contain cardamom seeds or cardamom essential oil helps in nasal decongestion. Cardamom also acts as good home remedy for sore throats. Gargling with water boiled with cardamom and cinnamon is home remedy for painful sore throat. Cardamom is also found to be effective over asthma and other respiratory disorders.
Cardamom side effects
Cardamom is widely used without many side effects. However some side effects may include allergy in some people.
Culinary uses of cardamom – Cardamom pods are used to flavor rice, pulses and other food in India. Sweet dishes made from milk and milk products often contain powdered cardamom seeds. It is also used to flavor baked foods including breads, biscuits, cakes, pasteries, ice creams. It is also used in flavoring marinates or liquor. Turkish coffee often contain cardamom. Popular Ethopian berbere spice mix contains cardamom to balance the flavor. Cardamom substitute is virtually non-existent! One can used cardamom extract or cardamom syrup as substitute for cardamom seed powder. Look out for cardamom recipes and enhance your meals. Read this simple authentic swedish cardamom buns recipe from Del here.
It is quite sure you must have already tried cardamom. If not, definitely try out this spice in your daily diet and enjoy its flavor, aroma and above all the benefits it offers to your body.Image Credits: Wikimedia user - Autopilot