Cardamom - Overview, History, Benefits, Precaution, Dosage

What Is Cardamom?

Cardamom seeds have been used as a herbal medicine and spice for more than 1000 BC. They are also regarded as a symbol of hospitality. Cardamom has the effect of reducing stomach heaviness and preventing bad breath, and even today in some regions it is still customary to chew cardamom seeds after meals.

Cardamom is a plant of the ginger family, which features greenish-white flowers with a purple core. The fruit is rectangular, ranging in length from 1 to 3 cm, and is green while unripe; when mature, it becomes yellow.

Three chambers make up the fruit's interior, which holds roughly ten pungent black-brown seeds. The fruit's exterior is flavourless and odourless, but the tiny, pointed seeds which are roughly 2 mm long have a strong, unique aroma and bitter taste.

Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices, along with saffron and vanilla, which have been used since ancient times. In India, where cardamom originates, pepper is called the "king of spices'' and cardamom is called the "queen of spices," and it is an important spice that is essential for curry dishes. It is stated that cardamom is nearly a must in garam masala, the foundation for many recipes in northern India. It's also used to flavour cakes and get rid of aromas from meat meals. Cardamom coffee, masala chai or coffee infused with cardamom seed powder and essential oil, is a popular beverage in the Middle East.

Types of Cardamom

"Cardamom" is a collective name for spices collected from multiple plants in the ginger family, and there are several types. There are two primary types: black and green, each with unique characteristics.

Green cardamom: Most of the products contain green cardamom. It is a highly used cardamom type. Compared to the black type, the fruit is smaller and has a pleasing aroma without tasting bad. "White cardamom" is a bleached green cardamom. The aroma and taste are the same as green cardamom. It is also known as Small cardamom or choti elaichi in India.

Black Cardamom: In some places, like Nepal and India, black cardamom is grown. Another name for it is brown cardamom, Big Cardamom or badi elaichi. The fruit smells pleasant and smokey, and it's bigger than green. Its distinct aroma has been characterised as "mint-like."

What Is Cardamom Taste & Aroma?

Cardamom seeds or essential oils contains the following components:

  • Terpinyl acetate (scent of coniferous trees, etc.)
  • 1.8-cineole (light scents like eucalyptus and camphor)
  • Linalool (scent of lavender and bergamot)
  • β-pinene (scent of coniferous trees such as pine)
  • Limonene (scent of lemon and grapefruit)

Together, these create cardamom's unique fragrance, which is a mixture of a cool forest-like scent and a refreshing citrus-like scent.

It tastes refreshing, mildly spicy, and slightly bitter, just like ginger, a member of the ginger family. Although cardamom originated in India and Sri Lanka, the Greeks and Romans brought it to Europe.

Component Of Cardamom

The main components of cardamom fragrance and their functions are the following-

  • 1.8-cineole: It is most abundant in cardamom. Its primary properties include anti-inflammatory, expectorant (to ease coughs and phlegm), antiviral, and immune-regulating properties; for this reason, respiratory issues including colds, influenza, and hay fever are thought to benefit from it.
  • Terpinyl acetate: It is a fragrance ingredient that accounts for about 30% of cardamom's fragrance ingredient. It works wonders for the digestive tract, boosting hunger, alleviating indigestion, and preventing spasms in the stomach.
  • Linalyl acetate: It is a fragrant substance that balances the body and mind and has a strong sedative effect, including reducing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. It is useful for problems falling asleep because it controls the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes mental stability. It also calms the central nervous system and has antidepressant and soothing properties, which reduce tension and facilitate sleep.
  • α-Terpineol: Its primary actions include astringent, choleretic, antitussive, asthmatic, anti-inflammatory, and hypnotic properties. This aromatic component is reported to have potent antibacterial and antifungal properties and to be beneficial against respiratory conditions such as asthma, rhinitis, and others. It is useful in treating colds and nasal congestion and has a mild effect on the skin and mucous membranes.
  • Linalool: It is helpful when you want to relax or reduce worry because it has a great sedative effect that soothes the mind and lowers blood pressure. It also has antiviral and antibacterial effects.

Cardamom History

The word "cardamom" is thought to have originated from the Hindu word "amomam," which means "herbal medicine" and has a heart-shaped form. Since approximately 1000 BC, cardamom has been used as a spice and herbal remedy.

In the 4th and 5th centuries BC, upper-class people believed that chewing it after meals and wrapping it in betel leaf would increase salivation. It was also employed as a natural remedy to treat illnesses of the urinary system and eliminate fat. It is supposed to aid with absorption and digestion too.

In ancient Egypt, it was considered a "sacred incense smoke" and was used in the incense that was burned during prayers in temples. By the end of the 8th century BC, cardamom is reported to have also been grown in the gardens of the Babylonian kingdom along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

In addition, because powerful people in ancient times were always in danger of being poisoned, royal doctors focused on the antiseptic and antiseptic properties of spices and prepared antidotes by kneading cardamom and other spices. The king used this regularly. But after losing to the Roman army in combat, king Mithradades swallowed poison to evade his assailants, but he was unable to die immediately because he was constantly using an antidote. There is an anecdote.

Specifically, cardamom consumption is very high in Sweden, where it is estimated to be 50 times more per capita than in the US. This kind of affection for cardamom still exists now; it was brought to the Scandinavian Peninsula during the 8th and 10th centuries.

According to legend, cardamom was carried back to Scandinavia by the Vikings, a group of armed pirates from Scandinavia who stormed Constantinople and taught the locals how to make cardamom. It is believed that cardamom originated in the Malay Peninsula, Sri Lanka, and India.

Benefits Of Cardamom

There are several benefits linked to the use of cardamom-

Promote Digestion: It is thought that cardamom helps to promote digestion. Since cardamom is a spice, chewing it will increase the production of saliva. Furthermore, it facilitates gastric juice secretion and aids in digestion by stimulating the stomach. Cardamom tea has a pungent flavour similar to ginger and a slight sweetness. After drinking it, you get a cool feeling and it helps with digestion, so it is recommended as an after-meal tea.

Prevent Bad Breath: In the countries of the Scandinavian Peninsula, people are often seen drinking alcohol while chewing cardamom fruit. This is due to the claim that alcohol odour can be eliminated by the cineole found in cardamom. Your breath will smell nice and bad breath will go away. Furthermore, cardamom's cineole is reported to be so good at deodorising that it's utilised as a garments deodorizer in addition to treating bad breath. Moreover, cardamom is utilised to eliminate food odours. In the Middle East, cardamom is a necessary component since it enhances the flavour of meat and fish while also getting rid of their odour.

Calm the mind: The fragrant ingredients are what give cardamom its fragrance. 1.8-cineole and α-terpineol are the fragrant components that give cardamom its fragrance. This substance is supposed to help you relax, release stress, and recover from exhaustion.

Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effect: Cardamom seeds or powder have been shown in Indian experiments to have antioxidant properties in people. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated in animal studies to reduce inflammation in rats, and it is believed that its antioxidant effects bring about anti-inflammatory effects.

Relaxing Effect: Cardamom's refreshing and spicy scent also has the effect of relieving tension and irritation. It warms your body and mind and helps you recover from fatigue. It is believed to have a relaxing effect since it also contains ''borneol,'' which has antidepressant benefits.

Sweating Effect: It has the effect of improving blood circulation and promoting sweating. The heat is eliminated when sweat evaporates. As sweat evaporates, the heat from vaporisation is removed, lowering your body temperature and helping to delay the onset of a cold. 

Promote Respiratory System & Blood Circulation: Respiratory issues can be improved with the use of cardamom. This is because cardamom contains a compound called 'cineole,' which is believed to relieve issues with the nose and throat.

Improve cold sensitivity: Cardamom also has a diaphoretic impact when consumed. This appears to be connected to substances like "limonene" and "cineole" that improve blood circulation. Additionally, these enhance one's susceptibility to cold.

Appetite-boosting, hair-growth: It has been established that cardamom stimulates appetite and has a stomachic impact that stimulates stomach function. These could result from cardamom's "myrcene" and "menthone" properties. In addition, myrcene can relax and soothe inflammation while also encouraging hair development and preventing hair loss. 

Diet Effect: It is claimed that cardamom encourages sweating and helps regulate the bowels and stomach. Therefore, blood flow improves, sweating increases and unnecessary substances are eliminated from the body, which seems to lead to dieting and detoxification. Additionally, you might want to try drinking warm tea infused with cardamom if your blood flow is poor as a result of eating habits that are out of balance due to an excessive diet. Its deep aroma soothes your thoughts, even when you're angry that your diet isn't working.

Regulate body temperature: Cardamom is used as a spice to keep the body warm in cold climates like Northern Europe, it is used to warm the body and encourage blood circulation. These seemingly opposite effects are said to be due to their ability to promote sweating. When you sweat, when the sweat evaporates, it takes away the heat of evaporation and lowers your body temperature, and when it's cold, it promotes blood circulation, which keeps your body warm. It's interesting that the same sweating effect can produce different results depending on the environment, and that it can also be useful for health in the same way as regulating body temperature.

Promote fat burning: Chewing cardamom seeds increases blood flow, aids digestion, and encourages the burning of fat after meals. Moreover, it has a diuretic effect, so it is effective for people who are concerned about swelling. Cardamom may also be added to beverages, so consider including it as a complement to your regular diet.

Increase Focus & Concentration: When the ability to think becomes dull due to fatigue or stress. You may anticipate that it will energise the brain, improve blood circulation, and support the heart. You'll have more drive, focus, and memory, which will provide you the stamina to take proactive measures.

How To Use Cardamom?

As we know, cardamom is sold as a "whole" fruit or as a "powder," which is made by removing the seeds from the pod and grinding them into powder.

When the seeds are taken out of the pod, the scent is easily lost, so they are often distributed in the pod (in the whole), but if you hear that the seeds have a stronger scent than the pods, you might wonder, "How do I use them?" It's coming, isn't it?

Here are some common uses for cardamom.

How to use cardamom (whole)- When using cardamom in cooking, it can be broken by hand or gently cracked with a knife or pair of scissors. By creating cracks in the seeds, the aroma can easily escape from the seeds to the food. Or add it to oil with other spices to extract the scent before simmering it whole when using it in curry, etc.

If you've ever bitten cardamom pod while making curry, you are aware that the spice retains its potent scent even after cooking. Remove the cardamom before serving if you find the strong aroma offensive when chewing, but if you prefer to benefit from the aroma, feel free to keep it in the bowl.

It is customary to extract the seeds from the pod and grind them before adding them to bread or pastries. It can be coarsely ground or used as seeds for recipes like cardamom rolls. If you take it out of the pod and grind it into powder, it will quickly lose its aroma and deteriorate, so take it out of the pod right before you use it.

How to use cardamom powder - It is a powdered form which you can use in any meal, beverage or salad. Sprinkle it on drained yoghurt to make it like the Indian yoghurt dessert "Shrikhand". To make it more chai-like, sprinkle it over milk tea. Use it as a topping for Indian desserts like ice cream or as one of the spices used for tandoori chicken and meatballs. Because cardamom has a powerful aroma, the trick is to use as much as you feel like you need to.

Cardamom Dosage

There is a dose of cardamom too. It is very important to consume cardamom or any other spices, fruit or herb to consume in a limit. If you consider the recommended allowance dose by FSSAI, you should not use more than 250-300mg of cardamom seeds powder. Well, the right dose is suggested by the professional as per your body's needs and health. For ground level, you should follow FSSAI guidelines. Do not consume more than 300mg of cardamom powder in a day.

Cardamom Side Effects & Precaution

Cardamom has a lot of positive benefits, but it might also have some negative ones. Hence. Here are some suggestions that you should keep in mind while using cardamom. When taking cardamom, monitor your physical condition and take it little by little. 

  • Chance of Indigestion: Indigestion is one of the risks associated with cardamom. Initially, it was thought that cardamom would have the ability to calm the stomach mucosa and reduce the production of gastric acid. It should be noted that excessive intake may damage digestive function, but if taken in moderation, it can be expected to have some effect on controlling the gastrointestinal tract. If you consume more than the appropriate amount, the effects that are supposed to be good for your stomach and intestines will be amplified too much, and you may endanger your health. Additionally, there are differences in the recommended amounts for adults and children, so watch how much you eat.
  • Allergy Symptoms: Cardamom allergy symptoms are possible. Cardamom is not the only spice that might trigger food allergies, so when consuming spices for the first time, proceed with extra caution. Proceed cautiously and keep an eye on your physical state.
  • Worsen Gallstones: Gallstones may also get worse if cardamom is taken in excess. It has been demonstrated that cardamom relieves gallstone and gallbladder pain. But excessive cardamom use will make you indifferent to pain, and if you ignore it because it doesn't hurt, you can exacerbate it. Gallstones and gallbladder disease patients should exercise caution when taking excessive amounts of cardamom, as it may not become apparent until the discomfort becomes incapacitating and the situation becomes hazardous.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) On Cardamom

If I don't have cardamom, can I substitute other spices?

Cardamom's aroma is unique and cannot be substituted with other spices. When cardamom is used in sweets and desserts, some people seem to substitute cinnamon, but the flavour is completely different.

What kind of effects do cardamom essential oil and aroma have?

Cardamom essential oil has a sedative effect and is said to have a calming effect. It seems to be effective in calming anxiety and irritation.

Can cardamom be eaten during pregnancy?

Cardamom is also used as an herbal medicine, but the safety of the herbal medicine for pregnant women has not been established. We believe that safety will vary depending on how it is used as an herbal medicine and as a spice, as well as the amount and frequency of intake, so if you are pregnant, please consult your doctor.

Please tell me what happens if I take too much cardamom. Are there any side effects?

Cardamom is a spice that has been used around the world for a long time, but there seems to be no clear scientific data on intake and side effects. If you have any medical conditions or allergies, please consult your doctor.

Is it true that cardamom is good for your diet?

Results from experiments on rats suggest that cardamom has the potential to improve obesity and metabolic syndrome.

What is cardamom powder in Hindi?

Cardamom powder in Hindi is called "Elaichi ka Churan" (इलायची का चूरन).

How much cardamom is to be eaten a day?

It is generally recommended to consume about 1-2 grams of cardamom per day, which is roughly equivalent to 1-2 pods.

How to pronounce cardamom?

Cardamom is pronounced as "kar-duh-muhm."

Is cardamom good for health?

Yes, cardamom is considered beneficial for health. It has antioxidant properties, aids digestion, and may help with various health issues.

What is cardamom powder?

Cardamom powder is a fine, ground form of the seeds inside cardamom pods. It is commonly used as a spice in cooking and baking.

What is the meaning of cardamom?

Cardamom refers to the seeds of plants belonging to the genera Elettaria and Amomum. It is a spice known for its aromatic and flavorful properties.

How to make cardamom powder?

To make cardamom powder, remove the seeds from the pods and grind them using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder until you achieve a fine powder.

How to grow cardamom?

Cardamom plants thrive in tropical climates. They require well-draining soil, filtered sunlight, and consistent moisture. It's often cultivated through rhizomes or seeds.

How to grow cardamom plants?

To grow a cardamom plant, provide it with a warm, humid environment. Plant seeds or rhizomes in well-draining soil, maintain consistent moisture and protect it from direct sunlight.

What are the benefits of elaichi (cardamom)?

Cardamom is believed to have various health benefits, including improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and acting as an antioxidant. It is also used for its aromatic properties in culinary applications.

Is Elaichi (cardamom) hot or cold?

Elaichi is considered to have a warming effect on the body, making it suitable for colder weather.

Can we eat elaichi (cardamom) every day?

Yes, moderate consumption of cardamom every day is generally considered safe and may offer health benefits.

Can we eat cardamom daily?

Yes, including cardamom in your daily diet in moderate amounts is considered safe and can be beneficial for health.

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