What is it?
common name: Cardamom
botanical name Elettaria cardamomum
part used: pod
Cardamom is the queen of spices, second only to black pepper the king of spices. It is one of the most valued spices in the world, native to the Middle East, North Africa, and Scandinavia. They are dried fruits of the ginger family. There are three types of cardamom – green cardamom, brown cardamom and Madagascar cardamom. Cardamom pods were chewed as a mouth refresher from ancient times in India. They have a pleasant aroma with a characteristic, slightly pungent taste and leave a warm feeling in the mouth. It is the seeds, taken out from the fruit, which produce the warm sensation.
Nutritional Value of Cardamom
According to the US Department of Agriculture and the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, cardamom (100g) contains energy (300 kcal), carbohydrates (68 g), protein (11 g), dietary fiber (28 g), and no cholesterol (0mg).
How it will help you?
• Digestion – Cardamom is related to ginger and can be used in much the same way to counteract digestive problems. Use it to combat nausea, acidity, bloating, gas, heartburn, loss of appetite, constipation, and much more.
• Detoxify – This spice helps the body eliminate waste through the kidneys.
• Halitosis – In India they chew cardamom after meals or whenever they need to freshen their breath.
• Diuretic – Part of the reason cardamom is such a good detoxifier is thanks to the diuretic properties. It helps clean out the urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys, removing waste, salt, excess water, toxins, and combating infections too.
• Depression – The science behind the antidepressant qualities of cardamom hasn’t been studied yet, but Ayurvedic medicine swears by the tea as a means to fight depression.
• Oral Health – Apart from helping with bad breath, cardamom is used for mouth ulcers and infections of the mouth and throat.
• Cold and Flu – This pungent spice may help prevent and relieve cold and flu symptoms. It’s also used for bronchitis and coughs.
• Cancer – Animal studies are showing promise that cardamom protects against, inhibits growth, and even kills some cancers.
• Blood Pressure – As a diuretic and fiber rich spice, cardamom significantly lowers blood pressure.
• Blood Clots – Cardamom prevents dangerous blood clots by preventing platelet aggregation and the sticking to the artery walls.
• Antioxidant – Many of the vitamins, phytonutrients, and essential oils in cardamom act as antioxidants, cleaning up free radicals and resisting cellular aging.
• Pathogens – The volatile essential oils in cardamom inhibit the growth of viruses, bacteria, fungus, and mold.
• Anti-inflammatory – Like ginger and turmeric, its relatives, cardamom has some anti-inflammatory properties that limit pain and swelling, especially in mucus membranes, the mouth, and throat.
• Hiccups – Cardamom is an anti-spasmodic that can help get rid of hiccups. This also applies to 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. -
How to take?
Whole pods can be added when cooking, but so the flavour can be released, give them a quick bash with a rolling pin first to expose the seeds. If added whole the pods can either be discarded after cooking or left in for decoration only (they are not edible). When a recipe calls for just the seeds, slit the pod lengthways with a small sharp knife so you can pick them out.