Cardamom is a very expensive spice native to India and with therapeutic properties supported by scientific research. In terms of price it is second only to vanilla and saffron
The spice of cardamom is derived from a tropical plant whose scientific name is Elettaria Cardamomum and that belongs to the Zingiberaceae family.
It is found in the form of a small pod that contains black seeds inside. The spice is widely used in India where cardamom tea is very famous.
- Chemical Composition
Thanks to its properties it has been used for many years in Chinese and Indian folk medicine. Its seeds have a pleasant slightly sour and fragrant taste and are one of the ingredients of the famous Indian spice called curry.
It grows regularly in regions with a warm climate and humid at altitudes ranging between 500 and 1.500 meters. This spice has medicinal properties known since ancient times so that its use dates back to several centuries before the coming of Christ.
Spice is particularly common in India and is known for its delicious aroma and aphrodisiac properties. It is also like a common folk remedy for the treatment of stomach pains. ( 1 ) In India it is mainly used to refresh the breath. Cardamom flavored chewing gums are effective in reducing nicotine withdrawal symptoms in individuals who are trying to quit smoking. ( 2 )
|Chemical composition for 100 grams of cardamom|
Source: USDA Database
The main component is the essential oil which contains terpinolene, geraniol, mircene, sabinene,nerol, pinene, linalol, cineol, limonene, borneol and terpineol. We also find resinous substances and starch.
100 grams have a yield of 311 kcal.
Cardamom: Properties and Benefits
The Cardamom can also be added to certain foods such as legumes, vegetables or cooked cabbage to avoid bloating. Two or three seeds are sufficient when cooking food to take advantage of this property.
Among its properties we find the digestive one. Its intake is beneficial in cases of nausea, vomiting and flatulence. The essential oil helps the body in the production of gastric juices and stimulates the appetite.
The cardamom is a traditional remedy in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat digestive problems. There are several studies that confirm that the spice is better than all others to solve digestive problems. ( 3 )
Another use of this spice is that of bad breath. For this purpose you need to chew some seeds for a short time and the bad breath will go away. It also works with pods.
Recently, a study was carried out in India that examined the antimicrobial properties of cardamom extracts. The results confirmed that the extracts are effective against oral bacteria of Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans. ( 4 )
In addition, cineol , which is the main constituent of oil extracted from seeds, is a powerful antiseptic known to kill the bacteria that cause bad breath.
The traditional Chinese medicine has used this spice for centuries for dental care. Studies carried out at the University of California have demonstrated the antimicrobial properties of cardamom.
A 2012 study suggests that chewing of seeds favors the production of purifying saliva while the external and fibrous coating mechanically cleans the teeth. ( 5 )
Gargling with an infusion of cardamom procures benefits in case of coughs and colds. If boiled in water together with cinnamon it can be used for gargling against a sore throat. It brings benefits in case of inflammation of the airways.
Among its many properties there is also that of providing relief to asthma sufferers. An animal study in 2011 showed that the spice has bronchodilator properties and therefore improves the air supply to the lungs. ( 6 )
Studies conducted at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia seem to show that taking this spice is able to lower the heart rate and act positively on hypertension.
A 2009 study instead examined 20 people with hypertension problems to which they were administered 3 grams of cardamom powder per day for 12 weeks. The results have been very encouraging. The spice has not only reduced the blood pressure but has also increased the antioxidant status of 90%. ( 7 )
According to an Indian study, cardamom extracts are effective against oral pathogenic bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans. ( 8 )
According to recent studies conducted at the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in Calcutta, the spice is able to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer by 48% .
Studies conducted on animals have shown that the spice can be used as a chemopreventive agent or to inhibit or prevent the formation of certain cancers.
A 2012 study showed that this plant has beneficial effects on the skin of animals. The researchers found that the intake of cardamom powder resulted in a reduction in the number and frequency of tumors. The study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, concludes stating that the spice has chemopreventive properties against skin cancer. ( 9 )
From the analysis of other studies it emerges that cardamom contains some compounds such as cineol and limonene, which are able to protect against tumor progression. ( 10 )
Thanks to the high manganese content this spice is a good choice for diabetics. Research has shown that all people with diabetes have low levels of manganese in their blood.
A 2014 study confirms that an adequate intake of manganese in the diet is an appropriate choice for those suffering from diabetes. ( 11 )
Another 2015 research found that people with diabetes who had higher manganese blood levels were better protected against LDL cholesterol. ( 12 )
An Indian study in rats found that the administration of cardamom oil reduced total cholesterol by 30%. ( 13 )
The cardamom is obtained by two kinds of plants belonging to the family Zingiberaceae: the Elettaria and Amonum.
As for the genus Amonum we find the black cardamom that is obtained from the Amomum Subulatum plant and the Siam cardamom that is derived from the Amomum Compactum.
Essential oil is obtained from seeds dried by steam distillation.
In ancient times the seeds were used by the Egyptians to clean their teeth while the Romans used it as a perfume.
You can fight heavy breath with cardamom essential oil. A glass of water with four drops is used to make three mouth rinses a day.
In Arab countries it is used for the preparation of Arabic coffee. In eastern countries it is used instead to flavor meat and fish dishes.
Maybe not everyone knows that
Popular rumors claim that powdered seeds boiled in milk and sweetened with honey are a valid remedy against impotence. It is also believed that the spice has aphrodisiac properties, but in this regard there are no studies that testify to its effectiveness from this point of view.
It is preferable to use the pods of cardamom because the seeds closed inside them, maintain properties and aromas longer.
In aromatherapy it is used to calm the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis.
In Europe this spice has only been used for a short time, especially for the preparation of desserts.
Using its seeds during the cooking of some dishes is a good idea in fact, in addition to the good aroma, these become more digestible.
In India, cardamom tea, along with ginger tea, is widely used.
Cardamom: Properties and Benefits
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