How does it feel?
Cardamom is a large perennial herb that thrives in the tropical jungles of south west India and Sri Lanka. It has large fleshy roots, not dissimilar to those of the ginger plant. Its leaves are large, long and blade like, growing up to 2 feet in length. Its flowers are small and very beautiful, pale white-yellow in colour with a dark purple lip. The fruits are characteristically triangular in section and a pale green colour. Inside each fruit, there is normally two rows of small seeds. It is the seeds that contain the powerful, aromatic odour and pungent taste. The cardamom plant is native typically grows in forests up to 5,000 feet above sea level. It flowers in April and May and the fruits are harvested for three months from October. Ayurveda distinguishes two types: sukshmai (small) and brihat (large). Large is Amomum subulatum and has similar properties to Cardamom.
All around the world the actions of traditional medicines were understood by their immediate sensory impacts. Click on each of cardamom’s key qualities below to learn more:
What can I use it for?
Cardamom seed pods contain a high level of essential oils which are the component responsible for the majority of this herb’s medicinal properties. The essential oils are warming and aromatic. They clear mucus and calm acid indigestion while strengthening a weak digestive system. The essential oils stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, which helps to promote an efficient digestion and also shifts stubborn mucous congestion throughout the system. These oils also act as an effective anti-spasmodic, providing relief from intestinal tension and spasms.
Into the heart of cardamom
Cardamom is reknowned for its pungent, aromatic taste and smell. It is the essential oils creating this scent and taste that are responsible for the plants medicinal capabilities. This plants medicinal activity is concentrated within the digestive tract where it will stimulate and support an efficient digestive metabolism. Its stimulating effect upon digestive enzymes and juices means that it helps to balance out excess acidity. Its pungency and stimulating nature help to relieve digestive tension and shift stubborn congestion. These actions do, also, extend to the respiratory system where it can help clear mucous congestion in the lungs. The essential oils are particularly strengthening and tonifying to mucous membranes throughout the body, but specifically the digestive, respiratory and the urinary system.
Cardamom is specific for a weak digestion and symptoms such as borborygmus, bloating, flatulence, colic, intestinal pain and indigestion. Cardamom stimulates the digestive fire, agni, improving absorption capabilities within the gut. Its pungent and clearing nature also indicates this herb in nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, burping and acidity.
Cardamom is indicated in coughs characterised by excess mucus and asthma with wheezing. It is good for sore throats and freshens the breath.
Cardamom is recommended for painful, burning urination.
Did you know?
Guatemala is the globe’s largest producer of cardamom in the world, with an annual yield of up to 30,000 tonnes. India is the second largest contributor.
‘Digestive detox’ tea
This detoxifying blend of tasty seeds and roots will help to regulate digestion, banish sluggishness and cleanse the blood.
- Aniseed 4g
- Fennel seed 4g
- Cardamom pod 3g
- Dandelion root 2g
- Licorice root 1g
- Celery seed 1g
- Lemon a twist per cup
This will serve 2 cups detoxifying tea with a citrus twist.
- Put all of the ingredients in a pot (except for the lemon juice).
- Add 500ml/18fl oz freshly boiled filtered water.
- Leave to steep for 10–15 minutes, then strain.
- Enjoy with a twist of lemon in each cup.
Recipe from Cleanse, Nurture, Restore by Sebastian Pole
No drug herb interactions are known.
Traditional Ayurvedic characteristics are
- Rasa (taste) Pungent, sweet.
- Virya (action) Cooling.
- Vipaka (post-digestive effect) Sweet.
- Guna (quality) Light, dry.
- Dosha effect: VPK-, P+ in excess.
- Dhatu (tissue) Plasma, blood, nerve.
- Srotas (channels) Digestive, respiratory, circulatory, nervous.
250mg–6g/day or 1–10ml of a 1:3 @ 45% tincture