The botanical name of cardamom is Elettaria cardamomum, and it belongs to the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). It is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows up to a height of 2-4 meters. The plant has elongated leaves that are pubescent on the dorsal side, and the fruit capsules are ovoid in shape.
Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and iron. It is also an excellent source of vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C. Cardamom contains essential volatile oils, which have antioxidant and health-promoting properties.
The origin of the word “cardamom” is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated from the ancient Greek word “kardamon,” which means “cress” or “cress-like plant.” The word “cardamom” is used in almost all languages of Europe, and there is no satisfactory explanation for that name.
Cardamom has a long and rich history in India, where it has been used as a flavoring and medicine for thousands of years. It is mentioned in ancient texts such as Charaka Samhita, Kautilya’s Arthashasthra, and Taitirriya Samhita, and was used in offerings during ceremonies.
The Greeks and Romans also traded in cardamom, but it is unclear whether they were referring to the same variety that we know today. In India, cardamom was included in recipes dating back to the 11th century and was a valuable trade commodity exported from the Malabar coast.
Kerala was the primary producer and exporter of cardamom until colonial times when British colonies began growing it as a secondary crop in coffee plantations in other parts of India. Today, India is still one of the largest producers and exporters of cardamom in the world.
- Improves digestion: Cardamom has been traditionally used in Ayurveda to improve digestion. It can help to relieve stomach cramps, flatulence, and gas.
- Detoxifies the body: Cardamom is known to have detoxifying properties and can help to cleanse the body.
- Improves blood circulation: Cardamom can help to improve blood circulation to the lungs and may be beneficial in preventing spasms or convulsions. This makes it useful for those suffering from asthma or bronchitis.
- Enhances appetite: Cardamom can help to enhance appetite and relieve acidity in the stomach.
- Provides relief from respiratory allergies: Cardamom may be beneficial for those suffering from various kinds of respiratory allergies. It can also be used to provide relief from sore throat.
- Helps with nausea and vomiting: Cardamom may be useful for those suffering from nausea and excessive vomiting.
- Good for oral health: Cardamom has antibacterial properties and can help to prevent bad breath and improve overall oral health.
- May help with urinary tract infections: Cardamom is known to have antiseptic properties and may be beneficial for those suffering from infections of the urinary tract.
- Balances the three doshas: According to Ayurveda, cardamom can help to balance all three doshas in the human body, making it a tridoshic spice. A little quantity of cardamom is especially beneficial in balancing kapha.
- Rich in essential nutrients: Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and is an excellent source of manganese and iron. It is also rich in many vital vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin-C which are essential for optimum health.
- Look for whole green cardamom pods that are plump and evenly colored.
- Avoid cardamom pods that are discolored, damaged, or have holes.
Avoid cardamom pods that are discolored, damaged, or have holes.
Smell the cardamom pods to ensure they have a strong, sweet aroma.
Choose cardamom pods that are heavy for their size, as this indicates freshness.
If possible, buy whole cardamom pods instead of pre-ground cardamom for maximum flavor and freshness.
Store cardamom in an airtight container.
Keep the container in a cool, dark, and dry place.
Avoid storing cardamom near sources of heat and moisture.
Do not store cardamom in the refrigerator or freezer.
Keep cardamom away from strong-smelling spices to avoid cross-contamination.
Store whole cardamom pods as they will retain their flavor and aroma better than ground cardamom.
Ground cardamom will lose its flavor and aroma quickly, so it is best to grind only what you need.
Check the expiration date before using stored cardamom to ensure its freshness.
1 cup water
1 tsp black tea leaves
1-2 cardamom pods
Sugar or honey to taste
1/4 cup milk (optional)
- Crush the cardamom pods slightly to release their aroma.
- Bring the water to a boil in a small pot, and add the tea leaves and cardamom pods.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add sugar or honey to taste.
- If using, add the milk and simmer for another 1-2 minutes.
- Strain the tea and serve hot.
1 cup basmati rice
3 cups water
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
3-4 cardamom pods
1/4 cup chopped nuts (such as almonds or pistachios)
1/4 cup raisins
- Rinse the rice in cold water and drain.
- In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil and add the rice.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the water has been absorbed.
- In a separate pot, heat the milk over medium heat until it starts to steam.
- Add the sugar and cardamom pods to the milk and stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the cooked rice to the milk mixture and stir well.
- Simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the pudding thickens.
- Add the chopped nuts and raisins, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the cardamom pods and serve the pudding hot or chilled.