Cardamom, also known as Elaichi in India, is one of the oldest spices in the world, besides being the third most expensive spice after saffron and vanilla. Cardamom is grown extensively in South India. The spice is high in the phytochemical cineole, which positively affects many ailments and conditions. Cardamom pods can be green or black/brown. Green cardamom is considered to be the best. It is used as a spice, as a tea, and as a medicine.
Botanical name – Elettaria cardamomum Maton
Sanskrit – Ela, Yamini
Tamil – Elakkai
Hindi – Chhoti elaichi
Cardamom Health Benefits
Cardamom has many health benefits. Cardamom is rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium and hence helps maintain cell and body fluids. Cardamom is also rich in vitamins including riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C. According to traditional Ayurvedic medicine, cardamom is effective in improving digestion. It helps those suffering from stomach cramps. It is a good stimulant and beneficial for those suffering from flatulence and gas. Cardamom also helps in cleansing the body as it has detoxifying properties. It is basically a warm spice, improving blood circulation to the lungs. It is said to be helpful in the prevention of spasms or convulsions.
Cardamom health Benefits for Digestion
Cardamom is related to ginger and can be used in much the same way to counteract digestive problems. It is used as a cure for nausea, acidity, bloating, gas, heartburn, loss of appetite, and constipation. Cardamom is also found to be good for improving appetite as well as metabolism and to prevent stomach infections.
Anti-inflammatory Health Benefits of Cardamom
Cardamom also possesses anti-inflammatory properties like ginger and turmeric. The anti-inflammatory properties in cardamom limit pain and swelling, especially in the mucus membranes, the mouth, and the throat.
Cardamom Health Benefits for Oral Health
Chewing a cardamom after meals, a custom in India, helps to freshen breath, and thus prevents halitosis. It promotes oral health, and is also used for mouth ulcers and infections of the mouth and throat.
Cardamom Health Benefits for Respiratory Disorders
Cardamom improves blood circulation to the lungs and can be helpful in prevention of spasms or convulsions. Hence, cardamom is very beneficial for those who suffer from asthma or bronchitis. It should be taken in small quantities. Cardamom is also beneficial for those suffering from some forms of respiratory allergies. Cardamom has warming effects and hence, is said to heat up the body and relieve headaches caused by extreme cold. It also helps in alleviating cough.
Cardamom Health Benefits for Detoxification
Cardamom helps the body to eliminate waste through the kidneys as it is a diuretic. It helps to cleanse the urinary tract, bladder and kidneys, thus removing toxins. It is also said to combat infections, and remove accumulated calcium and urea in the kidneys along with other toxins. It is also used in the treatment of genital and urinary infections. Gut modulatory, blood pressure lowering, diuretic and sedative activities of cardamom
In a study conducted to evaluate its antihypertensive potential, and its effect on some of the cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with stage 1 hypertension, results showed that administration of 3 g of cardamom powder to patients with primary hypertension of stage 1 for a period of 12 weeks demonstrated a significantly decreased systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure. (Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics. December 2009)
Natural Remedies with Cardamom
- Gargle with an infusion of a tsp each of powdered cinnamon and cardamom, mixed with a glass of water for relief from hoarseness in the throat.
- Chewing a cardamom pod after a meal, or making a tea with the seeds of 3-4 crushed pods, a pinch of dried ground ginger and a small pinch of grated nutmeg is an effective home remedy to settle a flatulent rumbling stomach.
- Shell a green cardamom pod and powder the seeds. Take half a tsp of the powdered seeds and boil in a cup of water. Cool and drink it, cold, warm, or hot as desired for chronic diarrhoea due to indigestion. Cardamom however is constipating and hence should be taken with caution.
- For cough, mix together a pinch of cardamom powder, a pinch of rock salt, 1 tsp of ghee, and ½ tsp of raw honey. This mixture helps to give relief from cough.
- Mix together 2 pinches of cardamom powder with ½ a tsp of raw honey and ½ a cup of yogurt. This is a good home remedy for nausea.