What is cardamom?
Cardamom referred to as the “queen of spices” is made from the seedpods of the cardamom plant, a close relative to ginger and turmeric. You can identify it by the trigonal pod husks containing small black seeds.
It is grown perennially in the southern parts of India, Sri Lanka, and Guatemala. It is called elaichi in these countries of its growth.
It is of two types – green cardamom and black cardamom. The green variety is more expensive and has a more robust flavor. The green variety is typically used in therapeutic remedies while the black variety is more used in cooking, though both are often used in both applications.
The cardamom seeds are commonly used in cooking because of their aroma and taste. Its seeds are also commonly used as additives in tea and coffee, because of the unique taste and flavor, they impart to these beverages.
Cardamom is inherently rich in:
- Healthy fats
- Vitamin B6, vitamin B3, vitamin C
- Zinc, calcium, magnesium, and potassium
- Crude fiber
- Minerals like Copper, Phosphorus, and Iron
- Potent antioxidants like flavonoids, plant esters, and quercetin
- The volatile oil of cardamom contains cineol, sabinene, terpineol, and limonene in the form of formic and acetic acids
There is no established dosage for taking this spice as a supplement. Many of its supplements contain 400–500 mg of dried herb per pill.
Besides its unique taste, flavor, and aroma, its health benefits, which range across several systems of our body are well known and time proven.
Benefits to the digestive system
- It is a good appetizer
- It acts as a carminative – Gets rid of stomach and intestinal gas
- Helps to get rid of stomach cramps
- Gives relief from acidity and heartburn
Cardamom acts as a potential detoxifier for the body. It facilitates the excretion of the toxins in the blood through urine thereby getting rid of the toxins and impurities from the blood. The essential oils and phytochemicals present in it provide these diuretic and detoxifying effects.
Improves blood circulation
Cardamom improves the blood circulation in the body including the lungs. This helps to relieve symptoms of asthma. It also prevents platelet aggregation, which prevents the formation of dangerous blood clots.
Soothes a sore throat
Benefits on oral health
Cardamom is effectively used in the treatment of halitosis (bad breath). Therefore, it is often used as a mouth freshener.
Its seeds contain cineole and pinene, which have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. That is how cardamom kills bacteria and effectively treats bleeding and inflamed gums.
It is also used to treat mouth ulcers by allowing its seeds to stay in the mouth and swallowing the juice.
Treats respiratory tract infections
Cardamom is used to treat respiratory tract infections and allergy symptoms such as colds, coughs, bronchitis, and bronchial asthma.
Cardamom acts as a mild diuretic and helps in proper urination, thereby preventing urinary tract infections and kidney stones. This property, therefore also helps in problems related to water retention.
Offers protection to the Liver
It also helps in the excretion of bile and acts as a good liver booster.
Helps people with erectile dysfunction
Cardamom, in the proper dosage, is used in the treatment of impotency or erectile dysfunction. It is a known aphrodisiac and could increase sexual desire in men, making it a good natural substitute for Viagra. It acts as a stimulant and has a beneficial effect on sexual health and performance.
The main reason for infertility is a low sperm count. According to some Ayurvedic experts, If you take 1 to 2 cardamom a day the sperm rate will grow.
Cardamom effect on blood sugar
Cardamom effectively controls high blood sugar levels. This beneficial effect on diabetes is due to its high content of manganese.
Numerous scientific studies suggest that its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and hypolipidemic properties help control blood sugar. Take one teaspoon of cardamom powder daily. This can help to counter and help those with prediabetes conditions.
Cardamom benefits on sleep
If you inhale the typical and unique aroma of cardamom or apply a little amount of its oil around your nostrils, it helps induce sound sleep. It is, therefore, highly effective in treating insomnia and stress.
Side effects of cardamom
Side effects of cardamom are rare and can include skin rashes and acid reflux.
Excessive consumption, however, can cause diarrhea and dehydration. Consuming large amounts of cardamom may produce flatulence.
Who should not take cardamom?
Besides that used in cooking, pregnant and lactating women should not take additional doses of cardamom.
If you have gallstones, you should not take more of it than what is present in your food. Its seeds can trigger gallstone colic.
Some of us may be allergic to over intake of cardamom. Some people may develop contact dermatitis or hives if they are hypersensitive to it. Such people should consume only that much of it that is used in cooking.