Cardamom is the dried ripe fruit (capsules of cardamom plant) often referred as the “Queen of Spices” because of its very pleasant aroma and taste. Cardamom is a perennial, herbaceous, rhizomatous plant. Based on the nature of panicles, three varieties are recognized viz. Malabar with prostrate panicle, Mysore with erect panicle, and Vazhukka with semi erect panicle. Plants are of medium size (2 to 3 mtr height) with pubescent leaves (on the dorsal side) and fruits globose in the case of Malabar, whereas plant robust (3 to 4 mtr height) with leaves glabrous on both sides with ovoid capsules in the case of Mysore. Vazhukka variety is a mix of both the above in physical characteristics.
Indian cardamom is offered to the international markets in different grades: ‘Alleppey Green Extra Bold’ (AGEB), ‘Alleppey Green Bold’ (AGB) and ‘Alleppey Green Superior’ (AGS) are names that register instant appeal worldwide. Cardamom oil is a precious ingredient in food preparations, perfumery, health foods medicines and beverages. India, a traditional exporter of cardamom to the Middle East countries where it goes mostly into the preparation of ‘Gahwa’ – a strong cardamom – coffee concoction without which no day is complete or no hospitality hearty for an Arab. Indian cardamom enjoys a premium preference in the Middle East, Japanese and Russians who relish it for its distinct enriching properties.
Cultivation of cardamom is mostly concentrated in the ever green forests of Western Ghats in South India. Besides India, cardamom is grown as a commercial crop in Guatemala and on small scale in Tanzania, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Honduras, and Papua & New Guinea. The optimum altitudinal range on growing cardamom is 600 to 1500 mtr above MsL. The cardamom growing regions of South India lies within 8 – 30 degree N latitudes and 75-78 degree longitudes.
Cardamom is widely used as a flavoring material in whole and ground form. It can add a lingering sparkle to every kind of dishes both traditional and modern. In Scandinavian countries it is used in baked goods and confectionaries. In Europe and North America it is an ingredient in curry powder and in some sausages products. Cardamom oil and oleoresin has applications in flavoring processed foods, cordials, and liquors and in perfumery and in Ayurvedic medicines.
- Metabolism & Digestion:
Cardamom improves digestion. Cardamom is a great solution for a lot of digestive problems like dysentery, constipation, and digestion. Cardamom is a great appetizer and also helps soothe heartburn and gas.
Cardamom helps in relieving many gastrointestinal disorders like flatulence, acidity, and stomach cramps. This is due to the extracted volatile oils from this plant. Cardamom is useful in treating ulcers.
Also read about the benefits of other commonly used spices like Mint, Ginger, Fenugreek, Curry Leaves, Cumin Seeds, Coriander, Cloves, Cinnamon, Fennel, Bay Leaves, Basil, Asafoetida, Aniseeds on our digestion and metabolism.
2. Asthma and Bronchitis:
Cardamom with its great aromatic properties acts as a soothing agent in our wind pipe. It reduces inflammation hence is found to be very useful in treating asthma and other respiratory problems. It also acts as a great expectorant and helps in reducing the symptoms of cough and cold. It may also help in sore throat.
Other commonly used home remedies which can help the symptoms of respiratory health and asthma are Mint, Ginger, Garlic, Curry Leaves, Coriander, Cloves, Cinnamon, Chilies, Bay Leaves, Basil, Asafoetida, Aniseeds.
3. Heart Health:
Cardamoms are very useful in reducing the cholesterol levels It helps managing hypertension and high blood pressure. Cardamom boost blood circulation in the body.
Among many health benefits of cardamom, they are known to act as a natural detoxifying agent, which could effectively defeating cancer cells. It can improve the health of Kidneys and Liver.
5. Oral Health:
They have traditionally been used as breath fresheners or mouth fresheners. The aroma and flavors found in cardamom are because of the presence of essential oil. Cardamom possesses antimicrobial agents that eliminate pathogenic oral bacteria and prevent the formation and growth of cavities. It can also kill the odor-causing bacteria in the mouth and improve bad breath.
6. Boots Immunity:
Antioxidants help fight free radicals by external toxins as well as by internal processes and protect your cells from oxidative damage. Cardamom antioxidants can add to your immune power.
7. Stress Management:
Cardamom has calming and sedative properties. Green cardamom could induce sleep and helps overcome anxiety.
Cardamom has antispasmodic properties and is helpful for stomach and intestinal cramps.
Cardamom is a proven aphrodisiac. The spice is rich in a compound called cineole, and just a small pinch of cardamom powder can release nerve stimulants.
Cardamom acts as a diuretic that can soothe various problems relating to urinary, bladder, and kidneys, such as painful or burning urination and frequent urges to urinate.
You may also read Coriander for their Diuretic advantages.