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Herb Reference Guide

Cardamom

History

This member of the Ginger family (Zingiberaceae) hails from India. Interestingly, Guatemala is the largest exporter of Cardamom seedpods today, followed by India. The seeds have an incredibly strong, aromatic, almost intoxicating aroma and while black Pepper was called the King of Spices, Cardamom has been called the Queen. The seeds have been traded as a commodity and are reputed to be the third most expensive spice by weight next to saffron and vanilla. It has found its way into regional cuisine in India, Southeast Asia, China, Finland, and many other countries. One of the most refreshing ways to experience Cardamom is to drink a fine cup of Chai spiced with cardamom. The seeds contain a very high amount of volatile oils, characteristic of so many of the aromatic plants and have been used medicinally as a digestive aid by most cultures.

Function

Traditional cultures and literature reference Cardamom as a Stomachic and Carminative. Both of these functions relate to digestion, the former promoting and assisting digestion and the latter to assist in the expulsion of intestinal gas or the reduction of gas production by the digestive apparatus.* The main activity of Cardamom can be attributed to the volatile oils which give it the distinct flavor and aroma. These volatile oils promote the absorption and elimination of gas, while improving digestive function and providing natural support to the intestine.*

Uses of Cardamom

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Alpha-terpinyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, linalyl acetate, limonene, and linalool. There are many other constituents we have listed the main volatile and aromatic components here.

Parts Used

  • Seeds

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Additional Resources

Marongiu B, Piras A, Porcedda S. Comparative analysis of the oil and supercritical CO2 extract of Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Oct 6;52(20):6278-82.