Cardamom is a herbal spice used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Its strong aroma and flavor makes cardamom a valuable ingredient in various dishes, beverages, perfumes, health foods and traditional medicines. India is the second largest producer and exporter of the spice. It is rich in antioxidants, phytochemical cineole as well as many essential oils including pinene, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, and limonene which are beneficial for our health and well being.
Health benefits of cardamom
- Good for enhancing digestion and easing stomach problems: Cardamom enhances your appetite and metabolism. Moreover it keeps a check at acidity, stomach cramps, bloating, indigestion and flatulence. A tea made using 1 teaspoon of coarsely powdered cardamom seeds boiled in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes serves as a good digestive.
- Relieves respiratory infections: Being a warm spice cardamom helps to eliminate cough, relieve common cold and sore throat. It enhances blood flow to the lungs and thereby inhibits spasms and convulsions experienced during asthma or bronchitis. Singers often chew cardamom to soothe their throats.
- Beneficial for our kidneys and urinary bladder: It enhances urination thereby promoting excretion of toxins, calcium and urea deposits in the kidney. This helps to prevent kidney stones. Genital and urinary infections can also be controlled by eating cardamoms. Consumption of cardamom seed powder mixed in banana leaf and gooseberry juice relieves conditions like cystitis, nephritis and burning micturition.
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- Enhances oral health: Chewing cardamom is associated with warding off tooth and gum infections and bad breath prevention. In combination with other medicines, cardamoms are used to treat mouth ulcers as well.
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- Cardamom has substantial amount of minerals including potassium, calcium and manganese. Potassium is beneficial for preventing hypertension. Calcium enhances our teeth and bone health whereas manganese is a co-factor of superoxide dismutase, an enzyme promoting removal of harmful oxygen free radicals from the body.
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- It is beneficial for men as it is used in treating impotence and erectile dysfunction.
- In Ayurvedic medicine cardamom tea is recommended as a therapy to people suffering from mental depression.
- The anti-spasmodic property of cardamom is beneficial in treating hiccups and involuntary muscle spasms. Cardamom oil is used to get rid of nerve inflammation and backaches.
- Anti-cancer properties: The antioxidants rich spice is found to be beneficial in preventing growth and spread as well as in destruction of cancer cells.
- Treatment of eye problems: Application of cardamom pod powder mixed in honey on eyes for 3 months can be an effective therapy for glaucoma and enhance vision.
- Boiled milk to which cardamom and honey has been added when taken before bedtime serves as health tonic and memory booster.
- It is used as an aphrodisiac as its aroma soothes the nervous system and gives you a feeling of strength.
- Its ability to prevent blood platelet clumping enhances its medicinal values.
Cardamom can be safely consumed by everybody apart from people who are already suffering from gall stones. Cardamom stimulates and increases spasmodic pain associated with gallstones.