What is Cardamom?
True Cardom (Elettaria cardamomum) is a sweetly aromatic plant that is used in cooking and also has medicinal uses. The plant yields small cardamom pods which have tiny brownish-black seeds inside that can be crushed into power or chewed. The plants are native to the moist forests of southern India but are now cultivated primarily in Guatemala, India and Sri Lanka. It is a herbaceous perennial of the ginger family. The beneficial part of the plant is the cineole and α-terpinyl acetate which are found in the outer layer of the seed coat. The percentage of essential oil of each seed varies between 2 and 10 percent. It also remains one of the top three most expensive spices since ancient times. You can buy a bag of Guatemalan Cardamom online at Amazon for about $7 for a bag of 100g.
Difference between Green VS Black Cardamom types
There are two types of cardamom plants available the Green cardamom and the Black Cardamom. The Green pods are generally preferred and are commonly found online as well as some whole food stores. Most Asian cultures see the Green Cardamom to be of much better quality and prefer it to the black version. When you see ground cardamom at the store it’s usually the green type. The Green cardamom is slightly sweet and has a minty flavor.
The Black cardamom has a smoky flavor and aroma that is derived from traditional methods of drying over open flames. Black cardamom is used for braised meat stews and similar hearty dishes. Although the flavor differs from the smaller green cardamom, black cardamom is sometimes used by large-scale commercial bakers because of its low cost. Black cardamom is also used to treat stomach disorders and malaria
- Food: Both black and green ground Cardamom types of cardamom are widely used in cooking but many people prefer the green due to the slightly sweet touch it gives. Cardamom is frequently used in Indian and Nepali masalas and Thai curry pastes as well as traditional Indian sweets and in masala chai (spiced tea). It can also be used as a garnish in basmati rice and other types of Indian dishes.
- Medicine: In Ayurvedic medicine, Cardamom has many medicinal benefits. The phytonutrients in cardamom are beneficial to for human health and help prevent various diseases. Just four teaspoons provide 100% of the recommended manganese value.It also contains fiber, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, potassium, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine, and zinc. It also contains volatile oils such as limonene, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, pinene, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, terpinene, terpinolene, linalool, terpinen-4-oil, a-terpineol, methyl eugenol, and a-terpineol acetate.
Cardamom Health Benefits
- Carminative: Cardamom has similar properties to Ginger and can help counteract digestive problems. Chewing cardamom pods after a meal to help prevent nausea, acidity, bloating, gas, heartburn, loss of appetite and constipation.
- Diuretic: Chewing fresh cardamom pods helps promote the nephrons to remove waste products like uric acid, urea, amino acid, creatinine, salt, excess water and other wastes from the urinary tract, bladder and kidneys.
- Antispasmodic: Helps dispel feeling of vomiting or nausea, hiccups and relief from other involuntary muscle spasms, like stomach and intestinal cramps.
- Aphrodisiac: Traditional medicine lists cardamom as a powerful aphrodisiac that can help with erectile dysfunction and impotence.
- Immune Booster: Cardamom, being a rich source of Vitamin C, helps in boosting your immune system, thereby preventing you from a number of microbial infections.
- Anti-inflammatory: Has inherent properties that cure cold, fever, liver problems, pain, arthritis, bronchitis, and limit pain and swelling especially in mucus membranes, the mouth, and throat.
- Potent stimulant: When added to perfumes, it can stimulate various physiological systems, which in turn helps improve the functionality of all body processes.
- Antioxidants reservoir: Many of the vitamins, phytonutrients, and essential oils in cardamom act as antioxidants, cleaning up free radicals and resisting cellular aging.
- Expectorant: This pungent spice clears the bronchi and lungs of mucus, thereby cleaning the respiratory tract. Helps prevent and relieve symptoms of cold, cough, flu and bronchitis.
- Anti-septic: Prevents wounds from septic infections and also assists in the healing of wounds.
- Homeostasis agent: Being a rich source of vitamins and minerals, helps maintain homeostasis or a steady state in the body, by sustaining the mechanisms at the cellular and tissue levels.
- Anti coagulant: Cardamom prevents dangerous blood clots by preventing platelet aggregation and the sticking to the artery walls.
- Fights Anemia: Copper, iron and essential vitamins like riboflavin, vitamin C and niacin, present in cardamom, are extremely important for the production of red blood cells, for cellular metabolism and prevent anemia.
- Fights Pathogens– The volatile essential oils in cardamom inhibit the growth of viruses, bacteria, fungus, and mold.
- Aroma therapy: A massage with cardamom essential oil helps relieve mental strain, emotional stress and provide instant relief from joint and muscular pain.
- Appetizer: Powdered seeds of cardamom spice up your food. Alternatively, you can also chew one or two cloves of cardamom. It will help in increase your appetite.
- Rich source of fiber: High fiber content stimulates bowel movements, thereby protecting you from constipation and aids smooth discharge of toxins.
- Breath freshener: Usually served as a breath freshener after meals in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent and in the treatment of Halitosis. Individual seeds are sometimes chewed liked gum to neutralize bad odors in your mouth.
- Oral Care: Not only does it cure bad breath, cardamom is used for the treatment of ulcers and infections of the mouth and throat.
- Cancer inhibitor: Animal studies are showing promise that cardamom protects against, inhibits growth, and even kills some cancers.
- Blood Pressure regulator: As a diuretic and fiber-rich spice, cardamom significantly lowers elevated blood pressure levels.
- Asthma Cure: Cardamom is considered to be highly beneficial for asthma patients. It also acts as a natural remedy for whooping cough and bronchitis.
- Fair Skin: Cardamom essential oil helps in removing blemishes, thus giving you a fairer complexion.
- Skin Allergy Treatment: Black cardamom, because of it anti-bacterial properties, is used as an antiseptic to treat skin allergies.
- Lip Care: Cardamom essential oil can be found in lip balms to impart the taste of the oil and make them smooth.
- Scalp Nourisher: Black cardamoms, by virtue of their anti-oxidative properties, provide nourishment to the scalp and hair follicles and its anti-bacterial properties prevent the scalp from infections and irritation.
Cardomom Side Effects
- Allergies: Skin allergy known as contact dermatitis is a popular type of skin rash developed due to over intake of cardamom. You may also experience respiratory allergic reactions like chest or throat tightness, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
- Gallstones: Often our digestive system fails to absorb cardamom completely which results in sedimentation of the seeds within our bodies. This process eventually leads to growth of gallbladder stones. Eating cardamom is strictly ‘no’ for the gallbladder stone patients and can lead to infection and bleeding and trigger gallstone colic (spasmodic pain).
- Drug Interactions: Avoid eating this as mouth freshener if you are any medications like HIV drugs, anticoagulants, liver medicines, antidepressants, aspirin, anti-platelet drugs, gallstone medicines, and irritable bowel syndrome medicines.
Where to buy Cardamom?
Yoga is strongly interrelated into the Ayurveda lifestyle. The combination of mind and body can been seen once again here. Each has a unique function but they are closely intertwined on many levels. They both encompass an understanding of how the body works and are based on the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, space). Both of these recognize that keeping the body healthy is vital for living a happy balanced life. There are even special training and yoga poses that are directed to people who follow the Ayurvedic principles
There are many healing herbs that are used in combination with diet and meditation in the Ayurveda traditions. As with all herbal supplement you purchase online you should research all products thoroughly before consuming anything you buy online. Here are some of the most popular ones.
CARDAMOM (Elettaria cardamomum): a natural tranquilizer that provides clarity and relaxation to a busy mind. It can also help cure teeth and gum infections, improves digestion, lowers blood pressure, cures strep throat, congestion of the lungs, pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of the eyelids, gastrointestinal disorders, disintegrating kidneys, and gallbladder stones, and has also been used as an antidote for poisons and venoms.
ASHWAGANDHA (Withania somnifera): is one of the most popular herbs. The name translates to “Strength of horse.” It’s root has been used for thousands of years to treat many problems such as insomnia, anxiety, stress relief, fatigue, and brain fog.
TRIPHALA (Trifala): is another traditional Ayurvedic herb that helps support healthy bowel movements and intestinal repair. It promotes peristalsis that helps to detoxify the body.
TURMERIC (Curcuma longa): The compounds in this root have been shown help with the preservation of brain function, regulation of inflammation, and also cancer prevention.
The International Ayurvedic Medical Journal (IAMJ) is an open access publication and is a great place to do further research into Ayurveda. If you wish to become a qualified practitioner there are several places you get more info such as Ayurveda.com and ayurvedacollege.com