Cardamom is one of the ancient spices originating from the Indian subcontinent. It’s native to India and grows in wild in the Western Ghats of Southern India. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family which includes ginger and turmeric. Cardamom pods are used as culinary, herbal, and mouth refreshing agents.
Though it is native to the Indian subcontinent, it is widely used across the world. Due to its flavour and aroma, it is considered a delicacy in several parts of the world.
Cardamom has been commonly used as spice and flavouring agents in several parts of the world. The most common use of cardamom pods is in beverages such as tea and coffee due to their aroma and flavour. Though it has uses in culinary and flouring beverages, its medicinal contributions can’t be ruled out.
Cardamom is a rich source of essential minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. In ancient Egypt, it has been used as a mouth freshener.
There are several varieties of cardamom but the most popular one is Malabar and Mysore Cardamom. Mysore cardamom contains a high concentration of cineol and limonene which means it is more aromatic than other varieties.
Health Benefits of Cardamom
Cardamom has been proven helpful against varieties of ailments however, some have strong medical research validation, and some may require more research.
Some of the benefits of Cardamom consumption are illustrated below:
Studies suggest that the antioxidants and diuretics properties present in cardamom help in lowering blood pressure.
In a research 20 participants with high blood, pressure symptoms were given cardamom pods for 12 weeks and the results were miraculous. Their blood pressure came to a normal level.
The diuretics properties of cardamom control the urination process and help in getting rid of excess water build up and results in normal blood pressure.
Cardamom intake has been reported to be a rich source of antioxidants. In research, it is observed that the regular intake of cardamom can increase the antioxidants by 90%.
The ingredients present in cardamom may help in the prevention of cancer however very limited research has been carried out in this field. Initial studies on laboratory animals suggest it might have some use against cancer-causing cells.
The research on the effects of cardamom on human cells is similar to what has been observed on animals. It helps in preventing the growth of cancer-causing tumor cells in the human body. However, more studies need to be carried out to see the applicability of results on human cells without any side effects.
Through the ancient period’s cardamom has been used as remedies against inflammation. Its strains can also be found in the ancient medicinal practices carried out in Ancient India. The antioxidants compound present in cardamom helps in relieving inflammation.
Though it is the tested remedy against inflammation as per the ancient medicinal uses, however, its medicinal validation in the contemporary environment is required to prove its claim. Preliminary studies on laboratory mice are encouraging but detailed research is required in this field.
Ancient Egyptians used cardamom as mouth freshener which is even true today. Cardamom is an essential ingredient of almost all mouth fresheners. It is also known to prevent dental caries and provide healthy teeth.
The anti-microbial properties of cardamom help in removing unnecessary bacteria from our mouth and saliva and prevents bad breath. Several chewing gum manufacturers also use this spice which provides mint-like refreshing breath.
The preliminary studies on laboratory animals show that cardamom may help in reducing the risk of heart diseases however, more studies need to be carried out to better understand the effect of cardamom on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
The studies carried out on laboratory rats suggest that cardamom intake can prevent heart attacks. In addition to this, the antioxidants properties of cardamom may improve heart functions. Though it is the preliminary report, however, major results are very encouraging which seeks further studies in this field.
Traditionally Cardamom has been used as remedies for liver ailments. It helps in detoxifying the liver and improves its functioning. In Ayurveda, it has been regarded as an important agent in expelling toxicity from the liver. In addition to this, the antioxidants properties help in removing free radicals from the body.
Though there is not any concrete laboratory evidence of these on the human body, however, some preliminary studies on rats indicate that it may be effective in improving the functioning of the liver and removing liver toxicity.
In one study a group of people used green cardamom pods and it is observed that there is miraculous improvement in markers of liver health.
It has already been observed the effect of cardamom in improving liver health moreover, the essential components of the cardamom help in preventing ulcers. In traditional remedies, cardamom and other members of this family are uses as ingredients to the stomach-soothing tea.
In a study carried on lab rats to see the effects of cardamom on ulcers, it was found that the rats with cardamom supplements have lesser ulcer than the placebo. However, these studies haven’t been carried out on humans or it is in the very preliminary stage.
One study suggests that cardamom can help in improving the metabolism syndromes such as obesity, hypertension, high blood sugar, high cholesterol which leads to life-threatening diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cardamom help in the improvement of metabolism functions. A study carried out on a group of obese women in which one group of women given cardamom extracts reported a drastic decrease in markers of metabolic health than the other group without cardamom supplements.
Laboratory studies on rats also suggest that cardamom intake helps in decreasing metabolic syndromes and protects against heart diseases and diabetes.
What are the side effects of cardamom?
Although it helps against several ailments it may have some side effects which we need to be aware of. It always better to have medical experts’ opinions before using Cardamom against such ailments.
Though there are not any known side effects of cardamom and its extracts, however, it may have some adverse effects on pregnant and lactating mothers, it may result in miscarriages in severe cases.
The key takeaway here from this is Cardamom might help in some of the disorders however it may have some severe side effects. It is always advisable to take medical opinion before the inclusion of Cardamom in our daily diet. “Eat Healthy Stay Healthy”.