Cardamom is a perennial herb with thick, fleshy rhizomes or underground stems shooting leafy roots and with leafy stems. It has a very large leaves, white or pale green three celled flowers, many seeded pale green to yellow fruits and triangular brownish black seeds.
The dried cardamom fruits have a pleasant aroma with a characteristic, slightly pungent taste. They leave a warm feeling in the mouth. It is the seeds, taken out from the fruits, which produce the warm sensation.
The cardamom seeds contain a volatile oil. The principal constituents of the volatile oil are cineol, terpinene, limonene, sabinene and terpineol in the form of formic and acetic acids.
Botanical Name- Cardamomum
Indian Name- Chhoti elaichi
Below are some of the medicinal properties of cardamom:
- It reduces the air and water elements, increases appetite and soothes the mucous membrane. It relieves gas and heartburn caused by garlic and onion. Ground cardamom seed mixed with ginger, cloves and coriander, is an effective remedy for indigestion. A tea made from cardamom is beneficial in headache caused by indigestion.
- Its powdered seed mixed with a tablespoon of banana leaf and amla juice taken thrice a day, will serve as an excellent diuretic for the treatment of gonorrhea, nephritis, cystitis, burning micturation or urination and scanty urination.
- Powdered seeds of cardamom are boiled in water with tea. It gives a very pleasing aroma to the tea. This can be used as a remedy in the treatment of depression.
- The aromatic flavor in cardamom is a breath freshener. A few seeds chewed for a brief period will remove foul smell.
- Gargling with an infusion of cardamom and cinnamon cures pharyngitis, sore-throat, relax uvula or the fleshy conical portion at the back of the tongue, and hoarseness during the infective stage of influenza. Its daily gargle protects one from the flu.
- An infusion made by boiling a couple of pounded whole cardamoms in a cup of water long with 5 leaves of mint is useful in relieving hiccups.
- It is also useful in erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. A pinch of powdered cardamom seeds boiled in milk and sweetened with honey every night would yield excellent results. Excessive use of cardamom at times may lead to impotency.
Cardamom seeds are used for flavoring curries, cakes, bread and for other culinary purposes, like flavoring coffee or confectionery. The essential oil of cardamom is used for pharmaceutical purposes, perfumery, flavoring liquors and bitters in the preparation of tincture and as a stimulant.