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Cardamom: "The King of Spices"


Elettaria or amomum Family: Zingiberaceae


Description:

Three sided pods with a thin papery outer cover and small black seeds that are arranged in vertical rows. Elettaria pods are small and light green in color, while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown. Green cardamom is more widely used for it's medicinal values than black cardamom.

History:

The spice is widely used in Scandinavian and Indian cuisine for aroma and taste, even in beverages the spice is extensively used for flavoring purposes. It's used for flavoring curries, cakes, bread, and other culinary purposes. It's also widely used in middle eastern coffee (Turkish Coffee). It's even mentioned in Sanskrit texts of the 4th century BC in a treatise on politics called Kautilya's Arthashasthra and in Taitirriya Samhita were used in offerings during ceremonies.

Nutritional Values:

Cardamom has a good amount of Vitamin C. It has a small amount of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6. It's rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. It has a good amount of iron, sodium, and manganese, and a small amount of zinc and copper.

They contain many essential volatile oils that include pinene, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, limonene, 1, 8-cineole, terpinene, p-cymene, terpinoline, linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-oil, a-terineol acetate, citronellol, nerol, geranoil, methyl eugenol. and trans-nerolidol.

Medicinal Values:

Cardamom is an antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and tonic; a very powerful free radical scavenger, also used to treat teeth and gum infections, belching, digestive disorders, intestinal spasms, heartburn, dysentery, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), liver problems, urinary problems, loss of appetite, cold, cough, bronchitis, sore throat, constipation, congestion of lungs and throat problems, treats caffeine dependence as it is a natural stimulant, and was even once even used as an antidote for snake and scorpion venom bites.

Beneficial Part:

Seed, Crushed seeds

Suggested preparation: Digestive Disorders - Cardamom reduces the air and water elements, increases appetite and soothes the mucus membrane. It relieves gas and heartburn caused by garlic and onion. Ground cardamom seeds mixed with ginger, cloves, and coriander, steeped and taken as tea.

Oral Disorders/Bad Breath - the aromatic flavor in cardamom is a breath freshener. You can chew or suck on seed pods like a lozenge to freshen your breath for a short period, and you can use cooled cardamom and cinnamon infusion as a rinse to treat tooth and gum infections. Gargling with this infusion treats pharyngitis, sore throat, hoarseness, and relaxes vulva. A daily gargle can help prevent the flu.

Depression - Powdered seeds are boiled in water with tea. It gives a very pleasing aroma to the tea and has been used as a treatment for depression.

Warnings: Do not take cardamom in amounts greater amounts than typically found in food if you have gallstones. The cardamom seed can trigger gallstone colic (spasmodic pain). Also safe for pregnant women in typical food amounts.

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