The cardamom is not only a versatile spice that blends well with food as varied as tea and stew, meat and fish, and sweets and cakes, but also has many benefits for health to offer. It is found in two types, a small green variety ( Elettaria cardamomum ) and a large black variety ( Amomum subulatum ), cardamom has long been for ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine for a number of ailments ranging from the common cold until erectile dysfunction. Ayurveda believes that it is a tridoshic remedy, which means that it can balance all threedoshas, namely kapha, pitta and vata. According to Ayurvedic philosophy, all diseases arise from imbalances in these three doshas.
From a nutritional point of view, cardamom has a good amount of dietary fiber, with only 2 grams of ground spices that satisfy 2% of our daily fiber needs. Apart from that, it can provide some amount of potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and vitamin C. However, we get these nutrients only in tiny amounts since we usually don’t have more than 2 tablespoons of cardamom powder in one day.2 In addition, it has several antioxidants in the form of terpenes and flavonoids that give it a moderate ORAC value (oxygen radical absorption capacity) of 2764 – the ORAC value indicates how effective a substance is in the fight against free radicals.3 Cardamom antioxidant increases when combined with other antioxidant herbs such as turmeric and clove.
1. Treat Cold and Cough:
Green cardamom has been traditionally used to relieve a cold and cough. Research has found that this is largely due to the presence of a compound called 1, 8-cineole, which acts as an expectorant and helps eliminate mucus. Also known as eucalyptol, 1,8-cineole is what makes eucalyptus oil a standard remedy for coughs and colds and respiratory diseases. Commercial cough drops also contain this aromatic compound.
Cardamom tea for cough and cold: Add some seeds, a clove and a teaspoon of honey in a cup of boiling water. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Drink hot
2. Treat Asthma and Bronchitis:
Folk medicine has also used cardamom to relieve asthma attacks and bronchitis, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Asthma attacks occur when the airways narrow due to inflammation and then become more clogged with excess mucus, leading to a shortage of oxygen. In a study on rats and rabbits, it was found to help in several ways. While 1,8-cineol clears mucus, cardamom flavonoids dilate the bronchial tubes (the tubes that carry air to the lungs) and thus facilitate the breathing process. Researchers believe that this bronchodilator effect of this could also be useful in the main treatment of asthma. If you suffer from asthma, continue adding cardamom to your dishes.
“You may also want to drink cardamom tea during the winter and in the seasons of the year when you are likely to have an attack”.
An Ayurvedic formula called eladi churna, which contains cardamom, among other herbs, is often taken to relieve asthma.
Caution: Do not use this to relieve your asthma symptoms if you already have an allergy to cardamom itself.
3. Help in Digestion:
The beneficial effect of black cardamom on digestion is well documented in Unani and Ayurveda. It improves digestion and decreases cases of constipation, indigestion, belching, swelling, heartburn and gastric inflammation. In fact, studies show that by consuming large cardamom, you could inhibit gastric lesions induced by medications such as aspirin as well. By eliminating harmful bacteria, fiber-rich black cardamom pods can also help restore bacterial balance in the intestine and aid indigestion. It has been discovered that the extract of the fruit and the bark has an antibacterial effect against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause serious gastric infections. Because it has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, cardamom can also reduce the severity of stomach cramps.
Cardamom tea for digestion: Add a teaspoon of cardamom powder to a cup of boiling water and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Drink this after a meal for better digestion.
4. Reduce Vomiting:
The aroma of cardamom can help reduce nausea and vomiting. A simple remedy that ayurveda recommends, regardless of its type of dosha, is to take an infusion of 1/2 teaspoon of green cardamom and fennel powder along with some honey in a cup of warm water. However, if your nausea is due to a vata imbalance, where vomiting is often triggered by the hypersensitivity of the mind, you can also mix 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom and fennel powder with honey or warm milk. This will have a relaxing effect.
5. Increases Appetite:
Cardamom not only aids digestion, but also stimulates appetite by increasing the production of saliva and gastric juices. Green cardamom, along with fennel and ginger, has been used by Ayurvedic doctors to stimulate appetite in anorexic patients. It also helps control symptoms of anorexia such as nausea or vomiting. Preparing teas with these herbs after a meal can help in digestion, as well as exerting a calming effect on the patient.
An Ayurvedic formula to treat the symptoms of anorexia: Mix 2 parts of ashwagandha, 1 part of gotu kola, 1 part of cardamom and 1 part of fennel powder. Add 1-2 teaspoons of this in a cup of water with some honey. Drink this every 2-3 hours.
6. Protects the liver and kidney
The antioxidant properties of cardamom also help protect the liver. The liver needs a constant supply of antioxidants to continue the detoxification process. A study in rats with liver damage caused by a drug found that an aqueous extract of cardamom significantly reduced all markers of liver damage, including triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol. It also significantly increased good cholesterol levels. Another study found that cardamom could reverse kidney damage caused by chewing tobacco. Although the study was conducted in rats, the researchers suggested that green cardamom could also play a protective role against kidney failure due to human tobacco use.
7. Help in Detoxification:
Ayurveda maintains that certain diseases or ailments of the body are caused by the accumulation of an excess of “love” or toxin in the body. It is described as similar to a sticky substance that can block normal circulation and reduce energy levels. Ayurveda suggests eating ama reducing foods to purge toxins, and cardamom is one of those foods. To put it simply, cardamom helps detoxify the body.
8. Control Obesity:
Cardamom can help with obesity by improving digestion and metabolism. You can also reduce your total cholesterol level without significantly affecting your HDL (good cholesterol) levels. High total cholesterol is often an indicator of inflammation in the body, and inflammation increases the risk of obesity. Obese people also often have visceral fat deposits around their abdominal organs caused, most of the time, by a diet rich in refined carbohydrates and trans fats. In an animal study, rats that were fed a diet high in carbohydrates and fats became obese. Then they were given cardamom powder as a supplement. As a result, there was a reduction in the level of total cholesterol and fat deposition. By increasing the natural levels of antioxidants in the body, cardamom could also decrease the oxidation triggered by the diet high in carbohydrates and fats. Black cardamom is more potent to improve metabolism and reduce obesity than the green variety.
9. Protect the Heart:
In ayurveda, cardamom is also used as a diuretic, which helps reduce blood pressure and prevents heart failure. Modern science finds that it can help your heart and not only with its diuretic effect. In one study, rats fed black cardamom suffered less heart damage after a heart attack. It was found that this was due to the antioxidants in cardamom.
It Lowers Blood Pressure and Reduces Blood Clotting:
When patients with stage 1 primary hypertension (systolic blood pressure below 140 and diastolic blood pressure below 100) were given 3 g of green cardamom powder in 2 divided doses daily for 12 weeks, systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly and the antioxidant state improved by 90%. In addition, there was a decrease in blood clotting. This is an important factor in the prevention of heart attacks, since blood clots often end up blocking the arteries and causing heart attacks. The same group of researchers also found that a similar dose of black cardamom reduced the total cholesterol level by almost 11% and the level of bad LDL cholesterol by 14%, reduced blood clotting and increased antioxidant levels in ischemia patients. This finding is important because in people who are already at risk of heart attacks, it is vital to reduce the level of total cholesterol to the proportion of HDL. What these studies indicate is that cardamom can be an effective way to prevent heart attacks in the population at risk, and black cardamom may be more effective than green cardamom.
10. Increase Immunity:
The strength of your immunity depends on the natural antioxidants in your body. Antioxidants fight free radicals generated by external toxins as well as internal processes and protect your cells from oxidative damage. Cardamom antioxidants can add to your immune energy. Take it along with other anti-inflammatory antioxidants such as berries, green leaves, nuts and herbs. It has antiseptic properties, which prevent infections. It has also been found that both green and black cardamom slow the growth of fungi and that its essential oil inhibits a number of disease-causing bacteria. Taking this regularly at meals or as tea can prevent and fight infections.
11. It has a Relaxing Effect:
Cardamom also has calming and sedative properties. An animal study found that green cardamom could induce sleep as effectively as diazepam, an anxiolytic medication. The researchers also suggested that it has the potential to treat epilepsy. Some experts also claim that drinking a glass of warm milk mixed with cardamom oil can help reduce insomnia and ensure a good night’s sleep.
12. Prevents Muscle Spasms:
Studies indicate that cardamom has antispasmodic properties and, therefore, could be used to fight hiccups, as well as stomach and intestinal cramps. Other studies state that the incorporation of cardamom in the diets of epileptic patients could prevent involuntary muscle spasms. However, additional research is required to fully understand this benefit.
13. Can Prevent Cancer:
Thanks to its antioxidants, green cardamom may have the potential to protect your skin from non-melanoma cancer.28 In an animal study, mice that suffered from a tumor form similar to non-melanoma cancer in humans were fed cardamom. This helped reduce both the size and number of tumors in the skin of mice by raising the levels of natural antioxidants in the body that help in detoxification and lowering the levels of chemicals that cause inflammation. Although cardamom has not yet been used in human studies, researchers suggest that it has the potential to prevent tumor formation and skin cancer.
Preliminary research indicates that cardamom can also help prevent colon cancer. In one study, it reduced the number of pre-tumor lesions in the colon of mice injected with a carcinogen and prevented the lesions from becoming cancerous. This spice suppressed cell proliferation, induced cell death and reduced levels of chemicals responsible for inflammation and pain. It can also raise GST levels, an antioxidant required for detoxification.
14. Maintains Healthy Skin and Hair:
Cardamom seeds contain approximately 62% oleic acid, a fatty acid that gives olive oil its beauty benefits. The oil extracted from the seeds can hydrate the skin and scalp well, reducing dryness and wrinkles, as well as dandruff. In addition, due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, this can effectively treat pimples, acne and skin warts.
15. Improves Dental Health:
While cardamom is often used as an oral freshener, its role in dental hygiene is not as well known. It has antimicrobial agents that eliminate pathogenic oral bacteria and prevent the formation and growth of tooth decay. It can also kill the bacteria that cause mouth odor and improve bad breath. Chew a pod or a few seeds after a meal to get the benefits.
How to Consume Cardamom?
Cardamom is a versatile spice that lends itself to a myriad of dishes. Use the green “queen of spices” to flavor your desserts and the black variety, stronger for stews and curries. Remove the seeds from the pod and crush it until a fine powder is obtained. You can add this powder directly to the dough or sprinkle it on food. In tasty dishes, you can choose to use the whole pod. When it comes to health benefits, use green cardamom for coughs and colds and black for digestion. You can also soak the seed powder in hot water to prepare a cardamom tea. The daily dose is 1.5 g of the seed powder or a little less than 1 teaspoon. You can also buy this spice supplements, but always comply with the recommended dose.
Cardamom Side Effects:
- Cardamom allergy: If you are sensitive to this spice, eating it can cause skin rashes and temporary respiratory problems such as difficulty breathing and chest tightness.
- Gallstones: Eating too much cardamom can cause gallstones. Also, if you are affected by gallstones, it is better to avoid this.
- Drug interactions: If you are taking medication for a particular disease or infection, consult your doctor before increasing your consumption of cardamom.