The healing power of cardamom

Cardamom is a spice from the ginger family. It is a fresh herb that is found in gingerbread spices, among other things. Cardamom is known in Asian countries as a traditional medicine. Cardamom is traditionally used mainly against digestive problems. In addition, in India cardamom is part of traditional herbal tea or chai. Cardamom contains a lot of iron. That’s good news for people with anemia and other mineral deficiencies. In that case, you can put cardamom on the list of products to use regularly. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing cardamom / Source: Franz Eugen Köhler, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

Contents:

  • Naming cardamom
  • Rich in iron and manganese
  • Other nutrients cardamom
  • Medicinal uses of cardamom in herbal mixtures
  • Cardamom, good for the stomach
  • A phytotherapeutic drug
  • Cuisine uses of cardamom
  • Spiced Caramel Pecan Nuts Recipe
  • Cardamom production

 

Naming cardamom

Elettaria Cardamomum in Latin . Ela is a Sanskrit name for this species of plant; which is corrupted in Latin to elettaria. Cardamom is the Greek word for this plant. This name is often used in Greek-language Bibles. A distinction is made between regular or green cardamom and black cardamom. The latter variant comes from the Himalayas, Nepal or Java. Generally, black cardamom is sold in Asia and Australia; In the rest of the world, mainly regular or green cardamom is sold.

Rich in iron and manganese

Cardamom is a quite healthy spice. It contains mainly high percentages of minerals. 100 grams of cardamom contains 175% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of iron. Now, hardly anyone will eat an ounce of cardamom in a day, but it does indicate that this spice fits well in an iron-rich diet. Cardamom is an even richer source of the mineral manganese; 100 grams of manganese contains no less than 1200% of the RDI. Manganese ensures that a strong enzyme that eliminates free radicals can be made by the body. In fact, this means that around 10 grams of cardamom is enough for the RDA. Manganese is also found in all kinds of foodstuffs such as nuts, beans, tea and grains. It is therefore not necessary to use a lot of cardamom per day.

Other nutrients cardamom

Other minerals that are frequently found in cardamom are: zinc (68% DV), magnesium (59% DV), calcium (38% DV), phosphorus (25% DV) and potassium (24% DV). Cardamom also contains vitamins, but these percentages are much lower than those of minerals. Vitamins that still occur in reasonable quantities in the seed are: B1, B2, B3 and B6. It contains a lot of vitamin C: one ounce of cardamom contains 35% of the RDA for this vitamin.

Medicinal uses of cardamom in herbal mixtures

In India, cardamom is mixed with coriander and caraway to aid digestion. In addition, trijataka is made in India from cardamom, Indian gooseberry and cinnamon. This should be especially effective against stomach cramps and toothache. Cardamom essential oil contains 120 compounds and promotes secretion

Cardamom seeds / Source: Rainer Zenz, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

for the stomach, bile and saliva. This effect indeed promotes digestion. Together with caraway and fennel, cardamom is eaten in India after meals so that the stomach is better able to do its digestive work. It is also good for refreshing the mouth.

Cardamom, good for the stomach

Besides being good for digestion, green cardamom is a traditional medicine in South East Asia to treat gum problems. Eyelid infections, lung tuberculosis and kidney stones are also treated with it. Sometimes it is used as a remedy against snake or scorpion venom. Black cardamom is used in both Indian Ayurveda and Chinese medicine to treat stomach problems, dysentery, constipation and other digestive disorders.

A phytotherapeutic drug

In phytotherapy, the modern form of herbal medicine, cardamom is used for various purposes. It stimulates appetite, promotes digestion, antispasmodic and carminative. In addition, it has a disinfectant effect. In addition, cardamom has an expectorant effect; it promotes coughing up of mucus. In addition, it reduces mucus secretion. Due to these medicinal properties, cardamom is used by herbalists for the following indications:

Flower cardamom / Source: Reji Jacob, Wikimedia Commons (CC0)

  • Flatulence,
  • Halithosis or bad breath,
  • Indigestion,
  • Anorexia,
  • cramps,
  • Liver and bile problems,
  • Cold,
  • Bronchitis.

 

Cuisine uses of cardamom

Cardamom is of course best known for its culinary properties. Cardamom is used, among other things, to flavor coffee and tea. In the Middle East, cardamom is ground together with coffee and used to make coffee. In the Netherlands, cardamom is perhaps best known for the fact that it is part of the speculaas spice; This herb mix of tropical herbs originated in the Netherlands. In India, Pakistan and Iran, kulfi and elaichi-pista are eaten as dessert; it contains both cardamom and pistachios. Elaichei kheer is a rice pudding with cardamom, raisins and pistachios. In India, cardamom is used for a variety of dishes, especially for flavoring curries.

Cardamom plant / Source: Rhaessner (Rainer Haeßner), Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Spiced Caramel Pecan Nuts Recipe

In addition to using cardamom in main meals and desserts, you can use it to make a tasty, healthy snack. You mix a tablespoon of cardamom, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of ground ginger powder. You also use 6 tablespoons of caster sugar to caramelize 200 grams of pecan nuts. Proceed as follows: roast the pecan nuts for half a minute. You put the caster sugar over it; that will caramelize. Then you add the spice mixture of the three spices over the caramel layer and you have delicious spiced caramel pecan nuts.

Cardamom production

Although cardamom is a typical Asian spice, it is currently most produced in Guatemala, where the spice was introduced in 1914. Nepal used to be the largest producer. Today, India ranks second in the list of largest cardamom producers.

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