Cardamom Health Benefits Finally Explained
There are many spices and herbs on this lush green earth, and some of them are more efficient, healthy, and popular than others. Cardamom is one spice which is getting more popular by the day. It has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries, and those of us in the West are always in the habit of jumping on board.
This isn’t about promoting some fleeting trend. Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she sprouted these herbs.
What Is Cardamom? Where Does It Come From?
Cardamom (aka cardamon or cardamum) is a spice which traces its origins to Nepal and India. Nowadays, it can be found in many tropical regions in Asia like Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and more.
Scientifically known as Elettaria cardamomum, it is a plant from the family Zingiberaceae. The plant produces small pods which contain black seeds. The seeds and pod give off a nice scent. This is why it is often used in Eastern cuisine as a flavor additive to a wide range of dishes.
Cardamom Seeds Explained
Let’s talk for a moment about those seeds that are inside the cardamom pod. Even though the pod itself can also be used, the seeds are what many are interested in. Each pod contains typically between 8-16 seeds, and the seeds are used for manufacturing the spice.
Seeds out of the pod will not last nearly as long as unopened pods. So, if you are using seeds, take into account that exposure to air is detrimental to its quality and flavor. If you plan on grinding the seeds, that is doubly true. Once ground, the seeds lose their quality and flavor with even greater speed. Therefore, ideally, ground seeds need to be consumed or otherwise used immediately.
Top 5 Cardamom Health Benefits Explained
- In Ayurvedic medicine, the cardamom plays a role as an aid to proper digestion. In cases of bloating and gas, it has the ability to provide relief. If you suffer from heartburn, acidity issues, or constipation – whether the root is physical or mental – this spice may come to your aid.
- Cardamom can be used to combat issues in the oral cavity. It can be used to treat infections of the mouth and throat. This is because it acts as an effective antimicrobial agent, which helps to take out bacteria of all kinds. Also, it is a powerful antiseptic to be used to freshen one’s breath.
- Cardamom can help to elevate your mood. In Indian traditions, it is used to treat depression and stress. Because it also aids with digestion, it has the ability to clear out toxins which affect your body and your mind.
- Consuming ground cardamom seeds has been cited as one way to get your blood pressure down. High blood pressure acts as a catalyst for many cardiovascular diseases, and lowering it back down is paramount, especially for those with a relevant history.
- For conditions which affect your respiratory system, cardamom acts as a way to counter the flu and cold symptoms which accompany those types of illnesses. It also acts as a decongestant, helping to clear out phlegm and mucus.
Are There Substitutes For Cardamom?
Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger have all been said to be adequate substitutes for cardamom. Obviously, nothing will be able to replace a certain spice with 100% accuracy. However, in a pinch, in a recipe, and in other cases, those three ingredients can be used and mixed in such a way which emulates the flavor and its healthy attributes. Those three aforementioned ingredients are wonderful on their own merit, but if you need a way to substitute cardamom, they can be used for that as well. Mix and match, since it is a question of trial and error. Also, it really does depend on which activity you are engaging in.
Cardamom Tea Recipe
Tea has its benefits, for sure. Whether it is green, black, white, or any other color you may fancy. A good strong cup of tea is one of the best things for you, and you don’t have to be English to appreciate it. Combined with some other ingredients, like honey and ginger, cardamom tea becomes a powerhouse of potency.
Drinking a cardamom tea of your choice once a day (it doesn’t have to be homemade, though) is said to regulate digestion. This can help you schedule your meals better, and navigate the seemingly-impossible seas of weight loss and proper nutrition. It may seem presumptuous to claim that a cup of tea can have such power, but this is all about balance, consistency, and persistence.
So – tea time. This is the easiest and probably the most popular recipe:
- Boil water in a small pot or saucepan
- Add your tea leaves, cardamom pods, honey, and ginger, then bring again to a boil
- Simmer for 5 minutes, then add milk
- Simmer for another minute, then remove from the stove
Cardamom Essential Oil Explained
Cardamom essential oil is the product of the seeds. In many ways, the seeds are similar to those of ginger. They even belong to the same family of plants.
The two kinds of cardamom used to produce the oil are green and black cardamom. The two species grow in different locations, and the essential oil can be derived from both seeds.
The oil already exists within the seeds, and cardamom essential oils act as a concentrated form of that oil. As such, it is more efficient, and it contains more phytochemicals and more nutrients than the seeds do as a standalone product.
Cardamom essential oil contains limonene, linalool, geraniol, alpha-pinene, and borneol (amongst other nutrients). It also contains minerals like calcium, sulfur, and phosphate. The immune system relies on these types of minerals and nutrients, as they encourage the healthy growth of cells and tissues.
Health, wellness, and beauty products use cardamom essential oil as an active ingredient. This is because of its ability to heal and remedy. Many mainstream and less-mainstream companies and individuals seek out the best and highest quality cardamom oils, and they are used in medicine and in wellness products alike.
It is, without a doubt, one of the most intriguing plants out there. Whether you are cooking with it, healing with it, or just enjoying its captivating scent, the cardamom plant, its pods, and its seeds are all high on the list of beneficial vegetation. There is a reason why it has such a long history in medicine and wellness, after all.