Cardamom, Not Just a Spice!
Don’t you just love the fragrance wafting from “Cardamom tea or Elachi chai”? There are quite a few who can’t go a day without having cardamom tea, especially in India. Cardamom, a spice that is often used to enhance the flavor and fragrance of desserts, rice preparations and beverages in India. Did you know cardamom is not just a spice, but it offers a lot of other benefits, especially when it comes to our health? Helping to control hypertension is one such cardamom benefit.
Cardamom is native to India and is grown in the evergreen forests. This plant is one of the aromatic perennial herbs that are found in Asia, Africa and the Americas and it belongs to the Zingiberaceae or the ginger family.It is now available in a number of tropical countries including China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea and Japan.
Known as the empress of spices, it is the third most expensive spice after saffron and vanilla. India produces two types of cardamom the light green which is from the species Elettaria and the dark brown that belongs to the species Amomum. Green cardamom is usually small pod, triangular in shape with black seeds encased in a very thin cover. The black cardamom is larger and longer than the green and grown mostly in eastern Himalayas, Nepal, Sikkim and some parts of Darjeeling.
Since cardamom was considered a herb, it was a part of the ancient Indian science of medicine and lifestyle Ayurveda. It is also used in traditional Chinese medications. every household in India, but it has been a part of Ayurveda medicines for a very long time. Many believe adding cardamom to their diet can help to relieve throat complications, lung congestion, respiratory tuberculosis, swelling of an eyelid, teeth or gum infections and work as an antidote against venoms.
Nutritional cardamom benefits:
To corroborate this belief that it has health benefits let’s take a look at the nutritional value that cardamom has to offer. 100 grams of cardamom contains 300 kcal of energy, 68 grams of carbs, 28 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of proteins and 0 milligrams of cholesterol. It is a source of various vitamins and micro-nutrients such as niacin, riboflavin, vitamin A, sodium, potassium, vitamin C, thiamine, copper, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Considering the fact that we need all these micro-nutrients to maintain our health, adding cardamom to our diet makes sense.
Would you like to know the other health benefits of cardamom? Take a look.
Cardamom oil benefits:
Cardamom oil is made up of powerful ingredients such as linalyl acetate pinene, sabinene, terpinolene, limonene, mycrene, linalyl acetate pinene, sabinene, terpinolene, limonene, phellandrene, 8-cineol, terpinene, p-cymene, terpinen-4-ol, terpineol, geraniol, terpineol acetate, linalool, citronellol, nerol, methyl eugenol and trans-nerolidol. For e.g. mycrene helps to relieve pain and acts as a powerful sedative too. Here are the health benefits of cardamom oil.
- Helps to cure muscle and respiratory spasms
- It is a good antiseptic and works as a disinfectant too
- Helps to boost your digestive system
- Helps the stimulation of enzymes and hormones
- Aids in weightloss
Cardamom tea benefits:
We have been drinking tea with cardamom for its flavor and taste without knowing the health benefits we get from it. Drinking cardamom tea helps not only the body but also works a miracle on our skin and hair. It helps to fix all kinds of skin issues. This is possible because it is full of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients, anti-microbial agents as well. It also has anti-aging properties.
Cancer, predominantly colorectal cancer, is one of the top reasons of death across the globe. Increasing treatment cost of regular cancer therapy and its side effects have pushed researchers to look for alternatives that are justifiable and cheaper. A recent study by Sengupta and others at the National Cancer Institute in Kolkata has shown that dietary cardamom has a positive effect in countering colorectal cancer to an extent of 48%.
Helps with Cardiac Health:
Research done at the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceuticals at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia proved that using cardamom for heart conditions have helped to lower heartbeat or control rhythm. It also works to control high blood pressure.
The micro-nutrients found in cardamom can counter the flow of fats in our body. Studies conducted have shown cardamom has hepatic and cardiac antioxidant enzymes work to destroy the free radicals in our body are known to create fat deposits that can prove harmful. These antioxidant properties have an effect on the cholesterol levels and help to inhibit cholesterol significantly.
Works against Depression:
Cardamom possesses nutrients that help to counter the effects of depression on people. Cardamom oil is used extensively in aromatherapy. It can be used as an anti-depressant as well as a cure for several other illnesses right from stomach issues to circulation diseases.
Remedy for Urinary Ailments:
Cardamom has been used to treat urinary infections for so many years now. According to Ayurveda it can also help to cure issues such as cystitis, nephritis and gonorrhea.
Remedy for Digestive issues:
Cardamom has always been used in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine as well as Unani medicine to help with gastrointestinal ailments. The methanolic extract from cardamom helps in controlling disorders such as acidity, flatulence, and stomach cramps. Studies conducted at the Department of Chemistry, in New Delhi, India have concluded that the mined essential oils from cardamom help to cure stomach issues.
For ages, people believed that cardamom could help fight infections effectively. Modern science calls it an antimicrobial. In the experiments conducted to study the oils present in cardamom, it was observed that these oils were able to prevent the development and spread of very dangerous microbes that can cause food poisoning.
Muscle spasms among the elderly are quite common. It is nothing but a sudden contraction of muscles that cause these spasms. These muscles spasms can be extremely painful when the muscles contract. Research conducted on animals have proved that cardamom can be used to control muscle spasms.
Cardamom has anti-bacterial properties which has helped in dealing with dental issues for centuries. Researchers found antibiotics had mixed results, as well as side effects after it was invented. Preventing the growth of friendly probiotic bacteria in the intestines was one such side effect. However, the use of spices, on the other hand are perfectas they obstruct only infectious microorganisms, and not the probiotic bacteria.
- Not only these benefits but cardamom also helps to prevent scalp infections and itches, strengthen weak hair follicles, improve blood circulation to the skin. It also helps to improve immunity. Curing sexual weakness and incapability are some cardamom benefits for men that very few people are aware of.
Now that we know more about cardamom benefits we can try and add it to our diet and make it a part of our life.