Cardamom For Health Benefits

Cardamom is a spice that originated from India and is commonly used in Indian cuisine. In many parts of the world, cardamom is famous as a cooking spice. What people don’t  know is how to use cardamom for health benefits.

What Is Cardamom Pods?

Cardamom (/ˈkɑːrdəməm/), sometimes Cardamon or Cardamum, is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India (the largest producer until the late 20th century), Bhutan, Indonesia, and Nepal. In Indonesia, it is known as “kapulaga“. They are recognized by their small seed pods: triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seed.

There are two major varieties of cardamom:

1. Green cardamom or true cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
Elettaria pods are light green and small. Elettaria cardamomum is popular from India to Malaysia.

Green Cardamom, elettaria cardamomum, true cardamom

Picture 1. Green Cardamom ( credit to Pixabay )

2. Black (or brown) cardamom (Amomum costatum, Amomum subulatum).

Amomum pods are dark brown and larger than green cardamoms. Amomum is mainly used in Asia and Australia and is also known as black, brown, Java, Bengal or Siamese cardamom.

Brown Cardamom, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Siamese cardamom

Picture 2. Brown Cardamom ( credit to Wikipedia.org )

The first references of cardamom trade came from Sri Lanka in the 12th century CE, where it was grown on a small scale in forests in the central mountain ranges. Nowadays, some other countries, such as Guatemala, Malaysia, and Tanzania also cultivated it. The German coffee planter, Oscar Majus Kloeffer, introduced Indian cardamom (Kerala) to cultivate in Guatemala before World War I.

By the year 2000, that country had become the biggest producer and exporter of cardamom in the world, followed by India. Cardamom is the third most expensive spice after vanilla and saffron. Its medicinal properties have been mentioned in the ancient Vedic text, which dates back to 3000 years! Thus, cardamom for health benefits has been proven for thousands of years.

Dioscorides, the Greek physician, pharmacologist, and botanist, described its use in the treatment of sciatica, coughs, spasm, abdominal pains and the retention of urine. In India, cardamom is a digestive aid, a spice and a medicament.

Since the early 1800s, cardamom has been known to freshen breath, overcome the infection, and used as a digestive aid. The making of perfume and the kitchen uses its essential oil and oleoresin. Cardamom is used in many dishes from main courses and soups to desserts, drinks, and pastries.

The Nutrient Facts of Cardamom

Nutritional Facts per 100 g (source: USDA Food Composition Data Base )

Nutrients In Cardamom

Picture 3. Cardamom Nutrient Facts

Before reading more about cardamom for health benefits, let us watch a video below:

[VIDEO]

What are the Health Benefits of Cardamom?

Cardamom has many benefits for health:

1. An Anti Aging

Cardamom seeds and pods are rich in antioxidants, which are manganese, iron, phosphorus, copper, and vitamin C. Manganese is a powerful antioxidant mineral which prevents free radical damage to cells, promotes fast wound healing, supports thyroid activity and maintains a healthy reproductive system. Then, the good amounts of iron, phosphorus, and copper protect cells and DNA,  prevents premature hair graying and iris discoloration. They also improve energy levels and contribute to bone strength.  Antioxidant effects of vitamin C have been demonstrated in many experiments in vitro. Antioxidants delay aging signs as a result of oxidative stress from free radical and trigger tissue repair processes. Many plants have delay aging benefits, such as leek, curcumin, etc.

aging signs

Picture 4. Gray Hair ( credit to Pixabay )


2. Fights Cancer

Cardamom contains indole-3-carbinol (IC3) and diindolylmethane (DIM). These two phytochemicals are cancer-fighters, specifically helping to counteract cancer-related hormonal responses, for example, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer. Cardamom also contains abundant antioxidants, adding the properties of cardamom to provide protection against the effects of aging and stress and the impact of free radicals that can trigger cancer.

3. Promotes Cardiovascular Health And Lowers Blood Pressure

Cardamom is a good source of potassium (24 % of the RDA) and magnesium (57 % of the RDA). Potassium regulates body fluid and blood pressure. Magnesium ensures calcium deposits in bones not on artery walls where it could build into plaques. The plaques may block blood flow and cause a heart attack or stroke.

A 2009 study published in the Indian Journal of Biochemistry & Biophysics analyzed the health effects of cardamom and found that participants given powdered cardamom daily for several months saw significant reductions in their blood pressure.

hemoglobin

Picture 5. Blood Vein ( credit to Pixabay )

We can include cardamom seeds or powder in various foods, in soups and stews, and even in baked goods to get a special flavor and many health benefits.

4. Prevents Dangerous Blood Clots

Cardamom prevents dangerous blood clots by preventing platelets from sticking to the artery walls and clumping together (platelet aggregation). Platelets are the tiny blood cells that help stop bleeding by binding together to form a clump or plug at sites of injury inside blood vessels. 

5. Boosts Immunity

The immune system is a host defense system comprising many biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against diseases. To function properly, an immune system must detect a wide variety of pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy tissue.

The High content of zinc (68 % RDA) is the factor that causes cardamom to support the immune system in fighting viruses and bacteria. Zinc is one of the best nutrients for a strong immune system.

pathogen

Picture 6. Virus ( credit to Pixabay )

The volatile essential oil in cardamom inhibits the growth of viruses, bacteria, fungus, and mold. These essential oils are pinene, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, Limonene, 8-cineol, terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, terpinen-4-ol, terpineol, terpineol acetate, linalool, linalyl acetate, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol and trans-nerolidol.

6. Prevent Anemia

Cardamom is a good food source of iron ( Fe ). Iron plays a crucial role in the production of red blood cells and is also an important property in synthesizing the primary source of cellular energy. The nonheme form of iron found in plant-based foods like cardamom needs to be accompanied by vitamin C, meat or both to be readily absorbed. Eating cardamom as part of meat food that includes tomatoes which are rich in vitamin C ensures optimal iron absorption.

7. Aphrodisiacs

Traditional medicine list cardamom as powerful aphrodisiacs that can help overcome erectile dysfunction and impotence. Cardamom oil scent stimulates the mind into clarity, encourage intimacy, remove frigidity and loss of libido.

Cardamom as aphrosidiacs

Picture 7. Aphrodisiacs ( credit to Pixabay )

8. A Remedy For Digestive Problems.

Cardamom has been in the treatment of heartburn, ulcer disease, irritable bowel syndrome, excess gas, constipation, liver problems, and gallbladder, as well as to increase appetite. It belongs to the same family as ginger and functions like ginger to overcome digestive problems. In addition, the essential oil content in cardamom can relieve stomachache and makes cardamom an ideal solution to relieve various digestive problems, such as constipation or dysentery.

To alleviate digestive discomfort, combine five drops of cardamom, five drops of orange, and five drops of ginger essential oils with one fluid ounce of carrier oil. Apply the blend to the abdomen area and massage clockwise. For best result apply a warm wet towel and a hot water bottle over the area. Rest for 15 minutes and feel your tummy relax and heal itself slowly.

Cardamom helps relieve heartburn. To overcome various digestive problems, we can consume cardamom seeds directly or mix it in cooking. We can also make tea out of it.

9. Increases Appetite

The lack of digestive power becomes primary causes of loss appetite. Other medical issues take responsibility for the low appetite, consist of hypothyroidism, kidney failure, dementia, bacterial infections, chronic liver disease and so on. Cardamom aroma increases appetite by encouraging the secretion of digestive juices. We can add a little cardamom seed or cardamom pods to our daily tea meals.

Cardamom increase appetite

Picture 8. Cardamom Tea ( credit to Pixabay )

10. Cure Cold, Cough, Bronchitis And Sore Throat.

Bronchitis is due to infections by bacteria and viruses. Smoking and the inhalation of noxious fumes and dust can also cause bronchitis. There are two kinds of bronchitis: acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.

Cardamom relieves cold and flu symptoms. Make cardamom tea by mixing it with hot water. Then, consume it and feel no more headache and cold.

cardamom bronchitis

Picture 9. Lung ( credit to Pixabay )

 

11. Has Detoxification Effect.
Natural Drug To Release Urine ( Diuretic )

One of the reasons why cardamom is the effective neutralizing of toxins is its diuretic abilities. These cardamom properties help cleanse the digestive tract, bladder, and kidneys by disposing of body waste, salt, excess water, toxins, and eradicate infections. The spices help the body in neutralizing and dispose of toxic waste of the body through the kidneys. It helps clean out the urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys. It removes waste, salt, excess water, toxins and combats infections.

cardamom as diuretic

Picture 10. Kidney

12. Overcome Bad Breath.

In India, many are accustomed to chewing cardamom after eating or whenever they feel the need to refresh the breath. Indeed, cardamom is one of the most effective solutions to overcome halitosis (bad breath). Even there is a cardamom chewing gum that is able to eliminate the most unpleasant bad breath though.

cardamom overcome bad breath, cardamom overcome halitosis

Picture 11. Mouth Breath ( credit to Pixabay )

13. Fights Stress And Depression – As Aromatherapy

Cardamom oil can be added to water for bathing baths as aromatherapy. Aromatherapy cardamom can help us fight depression or just reduce stress. To get similar benefits, we can also make tea out of powdered cardamom seeds. Learn more about the benefits of aromatherapy massage here.

In recent years, scientists have been studying cardamom oil to know the efficacy of its therapy which for centuries has been used to overcome depression or unusual feeling. Cardamom essential oil help us overcome stress and depression. This further confirms the properties of cardamom are quite unusual for health.

cardamom relieve stress, cardamom relieve depression

Picture 12. A Woman in Stress ( credit to Pixabay

14. Prevent Infections

The various essential oils in cardamom inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungus. In laboratories, ginger, turmeric, and cardamom have proven effective in slowing the growth of numerous bacteria. In test tube trials cardamom even impaired herpes viruses.

Fish Soup With Cardamom For Health Benefits

Picture 13. Fish Soup With Cardamom

Provide cardamom in our kitchen for daily use. We can add it to various soups, drink as a tea or add it to cake to get many benefits of cardamom for health.

22 Replies to “Cardamom For Health Benefits”

  1. It’s amazing how many qualities there are to the employment of cardamom in our every day life. I’m particularly interested, Melani, in the use of cardamom for dishes, such as soups, in desserts or even as a hot drink. Like with all natural ingredients or vegetables, they say the more you cook an ingredient, the more it looses in nutrition. Is it the same for cardamom? And what recipes would you suggest that would enable the use of cardamom virtually raw, without its strong taste overpowering the dish altogether?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Giulia, I just checked the boiling point of manganese (Mn) , ferrum (Fe), zinc(Zn) and pinene.Boiling point of Mn, Fe and Fe ( thousands Celcius) are far above water (100 Celcius) , so it is no problem to cook cardamom to get the benefits from that minerals. But Pinene boiling point is around 150 Celcius, so if we want to get benefits of the essential oil for stress better we chew the raw cardamom.We can use our favourite recipe, simply add the cardamom in it. Thank you for the comment. It made me learn better, lol.

  2. Wow, never heard of Cardamom! Melani, the benefits look unreal. This is amazing. I have problems with high blood pressure. I will be giving Cardamom a try. In the process I will be helping my health in so many other areas. Thanks for this article!

    All the best to you,
    Don

  3. Hello Melani

    I use cardamom for my tea everyday and sometimes once in a month I make sweet dishes with some cardamom in it. But I really like them and have not put them to put a lot. I like the idea of using it as a mouth freshener, prevent bad breath and get rid of so many problems like fight stress and depression, after all who is not stressed out in the modern world. But I also have a lower blood pressure already so if I consume it more then is it going to lower my blood pressure more or would it just balance my blood pressure?

    1. Hi Rimi, cardamom help lowering blood pressure. But you should avoid foods contain high sugar and high cholesterol too. There correlation among the factors. Thanks for the comment.

  4. No wonder most of my colleagues love cardamom. By the way I am based in the Middle East and the use of cardamom here is very common. They add it to almost every food and drinks they prepare such as tea, coffee and home-made cakes. I may not like the smell and taste so much but after reading your post, I might consider adding it often to my foods and drinks too. Thanks for this great and informative article.

  5. Wow! I had no idea Cardamom was so beneficial. I’ll be incorporating more of it into my diet. Thanks for the in depth post. Do you have an opinion on whether it’s better to buy it already ground or to grind it yourself?

    1. If we want to ensure the purity of cardamom better we grind it ourself or we can buy the powder with certification label or testing laboratory result.Cardamom powder may loose the essential oil. I used to add cardamom pods in soup. That is depend on the necessity. We can buy the essential oil too, lol. You can consider to put cardamom essential oil in the list of your affiliate product. Try to search Digest Ease I got as the answer for Irma’s question. Thanks.

  6. Wow! So many health benefits! I didn’t know.

    In Asia, a lot of the food cooked and sold at hawker stalls, cafes and restaurants use this spice in some of their dishes. When in small amounts, they added a delightful taste to the food. But on occasions, some used too much, and I found the taste overwhelming and not nice.

    Now that I know better, i will enjoy and relish in having more in the food I eat.

    Thank you so much Melani!

  7. Thank you for this interesting post. I had no idea that cardamom had so many uses! Are there supplements available that contain cardamom or is it better just to add it to foods and beverages to get the best benefit?

    1. Digest Ease is a supplement contain mixture of cardamom and other essential oil to relieve stomach ache. I used to add it to soup or chew one after eating. Is it difficult to get cardamom ? Thank you for question,improve my knowledge too.

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