Boil some cardamom seeds along with your Tea and you will have Deliciously flavored aromatic tea. Try it once and thank me later! My Never Ending Love for this kind of Masala Chai has encouraged me to research about this intensely aromatic pretty looking spice and i decided it was the perfect moment to investigate this delectable condiment in details. Being a cardamom lover i can tell you one interesting thing about this spice that its plants are prized for their seeds as they can be used in any form weather dried , grounded or in powder, aroma remains the same unlike others. They are also used in both sweet and Savory dishes like Curries, Sweet Breads and even in some Indian Desserts like Kheer and Halwa. They also second saffron to the most expensive spices found in the world.
Origin of Cardamom
Cardamom is also said to be one of the oldest spices we have today. It was Originated in the East part of the World. It can be found easily growing wild in the tropical rain forests of Western Ghats of south India and that Area is called cardamom Hills now. During the 19th century when Britishers where ruling India, they decided to do the plantation of cardamom in India.
In 1914, Oscar Kloeffer who was a coffee planter introduced cardamom in Guatemala and by 21st century it has become the largest producer of this spice in the world with an average yield of 29000 tones. Due to its immense demand and benefits it reached china and Nepal, Srilanka, Mexico, Thailand, Tanzania and Central America.
There are Two varieties of cardamom
1) Elettaria cardamomum(small cardamom, green cardamom). It is distributed from India to Malaysia.
2) Amomum Subtulatum (Large cardamom, black cardamom) this type of cardamom is also known as brown cardamom and is native to eastern Himalayas and mostly cultivated in eastern Nepal, Sikkim, West-Bengal and Southern Bhutan. Cardamom, Turmeric and Ginger belongs to the same botanical Family and that is zingiberaceae.
History of cardamom
Cardamom is also listed in the most popular book Manasollasa which is also called as book of splendor. It belongs to 11th century there it is listed in the spices required for preparation of 'five fragrances betrel chew'. It is believed Greeks were also importing cardamom from eastern countries. They used cardamom for its aroma and it was mainly used in aromatic oils and perfumes, while Egyptians have used it to clean their teeth. Its export from the Malabar coast was also described by the Portuguese traveler barbosa. It was widely used as an flavoring agent in Many dishes of Rice and varieties of sharbats in the kitchen of sultan of Mandu. The cardamom which is cultivated in India(especially in South India) is of the supreme quality available in the world. Cardamom is also mentioned in Sanskrit texts of 4th century BC , kautilya arthshastra and in Taitrriya samhita where it is used as an offering during ceremonies .
How Cardamom is Grown?
Cardamom grows best in Humid place where the soil is rich and there is plenty of rain and that is the reason it is mostly found in tropical rain-forests. It grows up to 1370 m above sea level . Flowers are produced after 2-3 years. Harvesting at the right time ensures premium quality of cardamom. It should only be harvested when full ripe. Fully ripe seeds are black in color while the immature ones are white. After harvesting it goes by the process of cleaning ,drying , grinding and packaging.
Numerous Health benefits Of Cardamom
Anti oxidant - Free radicals are responsible for Aging and it can even fasten the process by many years. Many inflammatory diseases, Progression to cancer, Trauma, Stroke, Asthma, Heart attack, Arthritis , Dermatitis, Liver injury can be accelerated by free radicals. We can naturally create a defense in our body by supplying it with antioxidants which fights against free radicals. Ammo-mum subulatum (black cardamom ) is found to have a large amount of presence of anti oxidants .
Anti Inflammatory- According to recent experiments it is proven that cardamom contains anti inflammatory properties hence it is best for those who suffers from muscle and joint pain. According to Ayurveda as well cardamom is suggested for muscle Pain . A research has been made in Saudi Arabia by researcher Al- Zuhair et al. which concluded that cardamom can be used for medicinal purpose to control muscle spasms.
Aphrodisiac- Cardamom when imported to Europe was used mainly because of its aphrodisiac properties, since then it is used by many people of many cultures and found to be beneficial in dealing with impotence and treating erectile dysfunction too.
Blood Pressure- High blood pressure affects 1.3 billion of population in the whole world and estimated to be the cause of 7.5 million deaths every year. Due to significance increase in fibrinolytic(blood clot inhibiting activity) cardamom is proven to decrease systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure.
Cancer- Cardamom is believed to have potential of treating cancer naturally. On the basis of several animal studies it is proven that it can prevent, delay and sometimes reverse the formation of cancer. A study done in Saudi Arab also claims that fore stomach cancer can totally be treated by this wonder spice.
Cold and Flu- According to a research conducted by Cornell university cardamom can kill 48 to 25% of bacteria that causes cold and flu. It also helps in bronchitis. Cardamom tea can also help to cleanse the respiratory tract and soothes congestion.
Digestion-This is a spice which stimulates metabolism just like Ginger because of its anti oxidant and anti inflammatory properties. Cardamom can cure many digestive problems like constipation, dysentery and indigestion due to the presence of volatile oil. Cardamom can also be used to increase appetite.
Depression- Cardamom oils when added to baths works wonders as anti depressants. Cardamom can also be infused with tea leaves to have a calming effect.
Oral health-Cardamom was even used by ancient people to fight bad breadth. It is the most effective and natural remedy which eliminates bad odors. Cardamom is even used by many chewing gum brands because of its effectiveness.
Urinary problems- Cardamom is natural diuretic hence can fight against many problems of kidney, bladder and urinary problems like frequent urination and urges to urinate.
Healthy Heart - Cardamom is enriched with anti oxidant property which can promote heart health. It is also seen that cardamom can lower the cholesterol levels which improves heart health.
Benefits of cardamom for skin
1) It is proven to improve the texture of skin as the oil in cardamom removes blemishes.
2) cardamom consists vitamin c which is a very powerful antioxidant. It improves blood circulation throughout the body and improve's skin health too.
3) Black cardamom has antibacterial properties which is effective in treating skin allergies.
4) When chewing black cardamom, it flushes out the toxins from your body and gives you a clear and healthy looking skin.
4) Essential oils in cardamom are used in many lip balms to impart the taste of the oil and makes the lips smooth as well.
Benefits of cardamom for hair
1)Antioxidant property of cardamom improves the health of your scalp. It is also beneficial for nourishment of hair follicles and hair strength.
2) Antibacterial property of cardamom is also useful for treating scalp infections.
How to use cardamom for improving health of hair and skin
1) You can apply the oil of cardamom on your skin and lips before going to bed.
2) Chewing some cardamom daily can also be beneficial for both.
3) Start adding grounded cardamom or whole in your daily tea or coffee.
Side Effects of cardamom
While most people who consume cardamom does not experience any side effect. It is limited to comparatively less number of people, however excess of everything is bad, hence it is advised cardamom should also be consumed in moderation.
Following are list of side effects that can happen if taken in excess
1) Allergies - Dermatitis which means skin rashes can be observed in some people.
2) Gallstone complications - Gallstone means formation of stones in gallbladder . if a person is suffering from this problem then it is advisable to ab strain from consuming cardamom as it can worsen the disease and cause intensive pain and bleeding in gall bladder.
3) Nausea and vomiting- If one is experiencing discomfort, change of taste and vomiting, you should watch your intake of cardamom.
How to select best cardamom?
There are three types of cardamom available in market which is green cardamom, black cardamom and the white one which is basically bleached version of green cardamom and has the same aromatic taste. When it comes to choosing the right one, Its always advised to buy cardamom in pods then in powdered form. It should always be stored in the form of pods, because once the seeds are exposed to air, they reduces their flavor and aroma rapidly. It can also be seen that it remains fresh for years if stored in an air tight container.
How to use cardamom in cooking
Cardamom is one of the expensive spices and it is widely used and appreciated in the world. Not even in eastern countries, west is also using it with equal love. The best part about this spice is its flexibility , it can be used in any form , dried , grounded , powdered or even as it is. In India it is used in variety of dishes. One can easily find it in dry vegetables, curries, dals and even in sweets and desserts.
Following are the few tips for using cardamom
1) Indians are fond of their spices and one spice which every Indian swears by is is Garam masala which is basically the mixture of many roasted whole spices and each one in a particular measurement. Cardamom is also a part of Garam masala .
2) Cardamom can be added to your regular tea, Indian masala chai or one can also add to coffee before brewing. It simply adds a refreshing aroma to your tea and coffee.
3) Green cardamom pods are added to pulao, curries, biryanis and kebabs and is often used to impart aroma.
4) Cardamom is also used in desserts like gulab jamun, halwa, rasmalai and even in sharbet due to its instinctive flavor. Their are many bread dishes which includes cardamom instead of cinnamon.
5) Green cardamom seeds can also be used as a seasoning to salads.
6) Lemons can be preserved in cardamom too.
7) Cardamom seeds can also be added to give different flavor to your custard.
8) Lassi is a refreshing drink which is very popular in India, cardamom powder when added to this sweet drink provides a unique taste .
So folks I have mentioned enough reasons for you to include cardamom in your lifestyle to ripe its maximum benefits. Please tell me in your comments that how this post has helped you. Your feedback is important and appreciable.