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Cardamom, Small Cardamom, Green Cardamom

Elettaria cardamomum

Family: Zingiberaceae | Place of Origin: Western Ghats of South India

Origins and history:   

The use of cardamom fruits dates back to second century BC in ancient Greek text, however the distinguishable characteristics of the two types (cardamom and cardamom long) were made in the second century AD in Europe. Today cardamom ranks the third most expensive spice proceeding saffron and vanilla and is currently cultivated in India, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.

Identification characteristics  

Uses and preparation

Cardamom is most widely known for its volatile oil, which on average accounts for 5% of the seeds total weight. With use of these volatile oils a rat study was conducted which concluded that cardamom oil processes a marked antispasmodic action that is shown to be used to relieve stomach pain, in particular irritable bowel syndrome. The study also revealed that cardamom oil also contains anti-inflammatory properties by showing a decrease in paw oedema within the rats. Another study revealed that cardamom has many anti-microbial properties particularly “anti-cavity” and for the treatment of acne. lastly, in Ayurvedic medicine cardamom is seen as remedy to caffeine. Cardamom seeds can be sucked on throughout the day in order to stop the craving for coffee during the withdrawal period. Cardamom displays no toxic concern since the chewing the seed like tobacco is common in many Arabic counties, like Saudi Arabia.