Published On: 12 June 2012 9:04 pm

Cardamom: The queen of spices

This aromatic spice does more than just lend flavor to curries and teas; it also has numerous health benefits.

Cardamom is the queen of spices, second only to black pepper the king of spices. It is one of the most valued spices in the world, native to the Middle East, North Africa, and Scandinavia. They are dried fruits of the ginger family. There are three types of cardamom – green cardamom, brown cardamom and Madagascar cardamom. Cardamom pods were chewed as a mouth refresher from ancient times in India. They have a pleasant aroma with a characteristic, slightly pungent taste and leave a warm feeling in the mouth. It is the seeds, taken out from the fruit, which produce the warm sensation.

Green cardamom

The fat green pods grown in South India are considered the best in the world. Green cardamom is available in the pod form or as powder. The whole pod stores better and retains the aroma of the seeds. Many Indian savouries and sweets are flavoured with cardamom. This fragrant spice is used in rich curries and milk-based preparations.

Brown cardamom

Brown cardamom pods are larger in size than the green cardamoms, and are hairy. In fact, they look like tiny fibrous coconuts. Brown cardamom is medicinal in flavour.

Each cardamom pod encloses several dark brown seeds which contain the entire flavour. An analysis of the cardamom capsule shows it to constitute of carbohydrates, moisture, protein, ether extract, volatile oil, crude fibre, calcium, phosphorus and iron. The seed contains a volatile oil. The principal constituents of the volatile oil are cineol, terpinene, limonene, sabinene, and terpineol in the form of formic and acetic acid.

Some additional health benefits

  • Has a cooling effect
  • Detoxifies the body of caffeine
  • Stimulates digestive system and reduces gas
  • Has an expectorant action
  • Improves circulation to the lungs and thus considered good for asthma and bronchitis
  • Is anti-spasmodic [suppresses pain due to involuntary muscle contractions]
  • Can counteract excess acidity in the stomach
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Eases stomach cramps
  • Cardamom infused water eases colic pain in children
  • Healing power and curative properties
  • The aroma and therapeutic properties of cardamom are due to the volatile oil in its seed. Tinctures of cardamom are used chiefly in medicines, to relieve flatulence and for strengthening digestion activities.

Let us see a few curative effects of cardamom:

Digestive disorders

Bad breath

Genito-urinary disorders

Depression

Oral disorders

Gargling with an infusion of cardamom and cinnamon cures pharyngitis [inflammation of the mucous membrane of the pharynx], sore throat, relaxes uvula [the fleshy conical portion at the back of the tongue], and hoarseness during the infective stage of influenza. Gargling with this infusion daily can also be useful in averting bouts of flu.

Other uses

An infusion made by boiling a couple of pounded whole cardamoms along with five mint leaves in a cup of water is useful in relieving hiccups.

The essential oil from cardamom is used for pharmaceutical purposes, perfumery, flavouring liqueurs and bitters, in the preparation of tincture, and as a stimulant.

Cardamom the queen of spices is as old as can be… add a bit of it to your daily diet and pep up your life!

Information Courtesy: Smt. Krishna Priya

General guidelines for healthier physical and spiritual life:

  • One should be thinking about Perumal (Nama Smaranam) while cooking, and the purpose should be to offer the preparation to Him.
  • Once the food is prepared, it should be offered to Perumal first. While offering, one should make sure that the food is neither too hot nor cold. It should be offered with love and affection.
  • Please do not offer either pre-cooked food bought from outside or any pre-consumed food.
  • Please follow thiruvaradanam kramam as instructed by your respective acharya. (http://anudinam.org/2012/03/08/bhagavad-tiruvaradhanam/)
  • Follow ahara niyamam as much as possible. Atleast make sure that onion and garlic are not used at all.(http://anudinam.org/2012/06/11/srivaishnava-ahara-niyamam/)
  • Please ensure that food which are not prasadams are not consumed.
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Cardamom: The queen of spices