Cardamom is a spice indigenous to Nepal, Indonesia, Bhutan, and India but used widely around the world. The spice is elemental to some delicious Arabian, middle eastern, and South Asian cuisines with a slightly sweet and sharp taste.
Thanks to its rich aromatic flavor, people use cardamom pods and seeds in curries, desserts, meat dishes, and drinks like chai tea and coffee.
The magical properties of cardamom extend far beyond delicious cuisines, but before we explore the healthy side, let’s explore what cardamom is.
What is Cardamom?
Cardamom spindle-shaped spice is found as a pod that contains seeds of different plants from the ginger family. It is a perennial plant belonging to the family of Zingiberaceae, which includes turmeric and ginger.
The two main types of Cardamom include Elettariacardamomum, which contains large and green cardamom pods, and Amomumsabulatum, with tiny black cardamom pods. The spice is referred to with various native names like Elakkai, Elaichi, Yelakulu, Yalakki, and Hubaalhal.
However, the surprising health benefits of the herb don’t come any cheap. Cardamom is known as the queen of all spices and is placed right after Saffron and Vanilla. The herb is commonly available as:
- An essential oil
- Pre-ground cardamom spice power produced from its seeds
- In a capsule form as an herbal treatment
- Whole seed pods (containing seed inside)
Just like the medicinal properties, the oils, seeds, and cardamom extracts were an element in traditional medicine for ages. Because of its health benefits, cardamom has been an active supplement in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
Moreover, many modern scientific studies have also concluded cardamom as a promising supplement for treating various health problems.
Nutritional Value of Cardamom
Cardamom contains several minerals, vitamins, and fibers. In addition, it has low calories and carbohydrates. According to the Department of Agriculture, one tablespoon of ground cardamom contains the following nutrients:
Health Benefits of Cardamom
Cardamom is packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances that help protect against multiple health issues. It prevents significant illnesses like cancer, enhances digestibility, and helps against diabetes.
If included in your diet, the spice can help cure mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. Some of its health benefits include
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
Cardamom may prove to be helpful for people with high blood pressure problems. In a study conducted on 20 people diagnosed with high blood pressure, researchers gave them three grams of cardamom powder every day. The results showed a significant decrease in blood pressure levels. And after 12 weeks, the participant’s blood pressure was in the normal range.
The findings of this study may link to the high concentration of antioxidants in cardamom. By the end of the study, the antioxidant status of the participants had increased by 90 percent. In another research, cardamom has been found to decrease blood pressure and increase urination in rats.
2. Antimicrobial Properties
Cardamom was considered to have infection-fighting properties. According to the suggestions from the studies, an alternative therapy against antibiotic-resistant pathogens can be cardamom.
Compared to the ancient herbal treatments, modern antibiotics have produced side effects (like suppressing bacteria in the intestine). Spices like cardamom inhibit only infectious microbes since they are not consistently powerful. However, they are not beneficial probiotics.
The cardamom oil can effectively work against bacteria and fungi, thus reducing antimicrobial activity. Researchers tested the theory in the experiments with the extracts of cardamom. The cardamom oils could inhibit the spread and growth of dangerous microbes that may be a leading cause of food poisoning.
3. Protection against Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes
A metabolic syndrome is a group of health problems leading to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They include
- Low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- High blood sugar
- High cholesterol
A few studies have suggested that cardamom can help with some aspects of metabolic syndrome. The researchers fed the rats a high-fat and carbohydrate diet in one animal study. The rodents that consumed cardamom powder also had better cholesterol and lower weight. The sample that did not feed cardamom powder showed no such betterments.
The findings of a double-blind trial proposed that cardamom could enhance disease and inflammation-causing specific biomarkers. Another study, carried out on 83 people, included the participants with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers gave half of them a placebo, and the rest got green cardamom. After ten weeks, the participants who consumed cardamom experienced health benefits, including enhanced insulin levels and hemoglobin A1c.
4. Treatment for Digestive Health Issues
The oldest known use of cardamom for medicinal purposes is the treatment of digestive health issues. The Unani system, Ayurveda, and Chinese medicine used cardamom to treat their digestive health issues.
Based on that, modern studies suggest that cardamom may have stomachic and carminative properties. The methanolic extract of cardamom can effectively treat gastrointestinal discomforts, including acidity and stomach cramps. Another research views volatile oils procured from cardamom as a remedy for reducing gastric ulcers.
5. May Contain Cancer-Fighting Compounds
Cardamom contains compounds that may help fight cancer cells. The natural phytochemicals found in cardamom can actively fight against cancerous cells and tissues. Moreover, it may also improve the natural killer cell’s ability to attack tumor cells.
Studies conducted on mice have shown that the cardamom powder can increase the activities of certain cancer-fighting enzymes. Research on cardamom and human cancer cells shows similar findings as animal studies.
One study indicated that specific compounds in cardamom terminated oral cancer cells from multiplying in the test tubes. Although the studies show promising results, more human research is needed to make secure claims.
6. Anti-inflammatory Properties
A research study suggests that cardamom has certain compounds having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Such characteristics imply protection and treatment against inflammation or swelling, further reducing the risk of blood pressure and heart diseases.
A report of 2010 proposes that the extracts of cardamom and black pepper help grow a healthy immune system. Another research found these properties to be protective when diet and unhealthy weight are the causes of oxidative stress and inflammation.
7. Improve or Resolve Cardiac Issues
Cardamom is perceived as a protective agent against mild to severe heart conditions based on a study conducted on animals. A study on rats found that this spice could help protect against heart failure. The authors have suggested that cardamom’s antioxidant activities could help enhance heart functions.
Considering its efficacy against blood pressure issues and curing stage 1 hypertension, the results can brightly affect and improve any lingering heart issues. However, several more studies must be conducted for researchers to figure out the effects of cardamom as a remedy to cardiac conditions.
Supplementary Health Benefits
Bad Breath – Like mint and cinnamon, the aromatic properties of cardamom help eliminate bad breath. Not just that, the medicinal efficacy of the spice also helps fight bacteria residing in gums and cavities.
Sore Throat – Gargling hot water mixed with cardamom can alleviate sore throats by reducing inflammation and removing potential viruses or bacteria.
Weight Loss – Cardamom can cure obesity caused by a high carbohydrate intake in the diet. It reduces any chances of weight gain by increasing the metabolic activity in the body.
Aphrodisiac – Cardamom has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac in Ayurveda and Chinese medicinal practices. It improves blood circulation and therefore, can be used to remedy impotence.
Treatment of Urinary Disorders – The stomachic and carminative properties help against digestive and urinary issues. Traditional medical practices suggest that people used it to treat kidney disorders and urinary tract diseases.
Potential Side Effects of Cardamom
Generally, cardamom is a spice that does not show consequences and is viewed as safe for most people. So, people use it in their dishes to receive its benefits. However, researchers have found a few side effects of this spice. The supplements of cardamom can lead to
- Skin inflammation dermatitis.
- Glossitis (the inflammation in the tongue).
- Trigger allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis.
- Leads to hormone disruption in humans.
- If you have gallstones, avoid the consumption of cardamom. It can trigger gallstone colic.
- Can cause issues with breastfeeding and pregnancy
FAQs: Health Benefits of Cardamom
1. Is it beneficial to eat cardamom daily?
Everyday consumption of cardamom can help lower blood pressure, facilitate digestion, trigger weight loss, and improve oral health. Moreover, other medical researchers conclude that cardamom might be beneficial in fighting cancerous cells or tumors, treating depression and anxiety, and resolving cardiac issues in humans.
2. Is it okay to eat raw cardamom?
While cardamom can be added to various meals, desserts, and teas, consuming it raw wouldn’t be an issue. You can chew cardamom seeds after every meal to keep your mouth fresh or add them into a warm cup of milk for a healthy daily dose.
3. What is an adequate cardamom dosage for one day?
Two to three cardamoms per day can help eliminate bad breath and improve digestion in the body. But if you have only cardamom powder available, prefer not to exceed the 250mg dosage in a day.
4. Are there any side effects of eating cardamom?
Although cardamom is loaded with numerous health benefits, it can also cause some health issues if it exceeds the standard dose. If eaten beyond the recommended dosage, cardamom can cause;
- Skin Inflammation
Cardamom – Miraculously Beneficial
The health benefits of cardamom make it a well-liked spice by people all around the world. It is also an ancient remedy that protects from chronic diseases, gut discomfort, digestive problems, high blood sugar levels, and heals lousy breath and infections. Moreover, cardamom enhances breathing, and its supplements also provide some additional benefits.
However, you must take these supplements with caution and under the supervision of your physician. All in all, adding this spice will not only add flavor to your dishes but also improve your health in several aspects