Parts used medicinally: Seeds
Cardamom is an evergreen, herbaceous perennial that comes from the same family as ginger.
What is Cardamom?
Cardamom is Native to the moist forests of India but can now be seen in many parts of Asia and Guatemala. The main part used is the dried ripe fruit which contain aromatic seeds. Their distinct flavour and aroma are used to flavour both sweet and savoury dishes, not just in Asia but throughout the world.
Most of the medicinal properties can be attributed to the volatile oils (essential oils). Cardamom is especially indicated for use on the digestive system. It's anti-spasmodic and carminative properties mean that it's useful for spasms of the digestive tract (such as in colic and IBS) as well as bloating and flatulence. Herbalists often use cardamom as a tonic to improve digestion where the digestive system is weakened or where there is excess acid.
Cardamom also offers us a decongestant action which is why it has traditionally been used in cases of asthma where there is spasm of the bronchial tract and excess mucus in the airways.
Did You Know?
- Traditionally the seeds were chewed in order to freshen and prevent bad breath.
- Guatemala is the largest producer of cardamom in the world, closely followed by India.
Cardamom & Me
- For a before or after dinner digestive tonic, crush some cardamom pods along with fennel and caraway seeds and make a strong infusion from it (be sure to cover whilst brewing to trap in the precious essential oils).
If you are pregnant/breastfeeding or on drug medication, be sure to consult with a professional before trying these remedies.