A member of the ginger family, cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is an ancient, beautifully fragrant, unique spice that once you discover, you’ll be hooked!
Origin and History
Wild and native to India and Sri Lanka, cardamom has been used since ancient Egyptian times, as well as Ayurvedically in India and in Traditional Chinese Medicine. You will find it ground and in whole pod form: I have both on hand, as the uses vary. (There are green and black pod varieties, the black being a bit stronger and more pungent.)
Cardamom stimulates digestion, dispels gas (carminative), relieves acid regurgitation, calms an upset stomach, and removes mucous from the stomach. It can halt vomiting, belching, and hiccups.
Cardamom’s quality is sattvic, it brings clarity to the mind and joy to the heart, and has been used to treat mild depression.
Chewed, it cleanses the teeth, freshens the breath, and has been used to treat infection of the gums. It soothes a sore throat and relieves pharyngitis when gargled.
Clears congestion in the lungs, eases coughs and bronchitis, and warms the body when chilled.
Ground cardamom is used in baking, especially in Scandinavian pastries, and in curries in India. Use ground cardamom in oatmeal along with cinnamon, nutmeg, nuts, and fruits.
I put a great Herbal Chai recipe on the Prana Veda blog page, or if you just have to have that Americano in the morning, sprinkle a little cardamom in: it is said to detoxify the caffeine in coffee.
For a special rice dish (maybe along with a cauliflower curry and dal) throw a few whole pods in the pot with the rice and water (remove before eating), or crush the whole pod, and throw the little brown seeds in.
Aromatically, the fragrance as an essential oil is warm, sweet, and spicy, and its effect on the mood is uplifting and energetic.