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Cardamom: Overview, Uses, Side effects & More

Team AckoSept 12, 2023

Cardamom is an aromatic spice that is used in cooking, baking, and medicine. It has a distinctive, strong flavour that hints at both citrus and mint. This spice is often used in curries, stews, and spice blends, as well as Middle Eastern, Scandinavian, and South Asian desserts and drinks

This spice has long been valued for its medicinal properties, which include digestive health, anti-inflammatory effects, and relieving coughs and colds. It is a great source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, iron and calcium. It also contains some dietary fibre, protein, and a number of other antioxidants. Read ahead for an overview of this spice.

cardamom

Contents

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Uses of Cardamom

Here are some common uses of Cardamom.

  • Cardamom is added to coffee and liqueurs to give them a fragrance and a slightly sweet flavour. Ground Cardamom is often used to thicken and flavour sauces and soups.

  • It is an essential ingredient in garam masala, an Indian spice blend, as well as in some Arabic spice mixtures.

  • In Ayurvedic medicine, Cardamom is used to help with digestion or to reduce the feeling of nausea.

  • It can also be used in aromatherapy to help reduce stress and anxiety.

  • Cardamom is used in herbal tea, which some people believe can help purify and cleanse the body.

How to use Cardamom

The amount of Cardamom used in recipes can vary greatly, depending on the desired strength of the flavour. 

  • Generally, 1 teaspoon of ground Cardamom is enough to flavour a dish or drink that serves several people.

  • For a stronger flavour, up to 1 tablespoon of ground Cardamom can be used. When using whole Cardamom pods, 4-5 pods are typically used to make 1 teaspoon of ground Cardamom.

  • When using Cardamom in baking, the best results are often obtained when it is ground fresh and used immediately.

Note: Cardamom is a potent spice and can overpower the other flavours in a dish if too much is used. When in doubt, always start with less Cardamom and add more to taste.

Benefits of Cardamom

Cardamom offers a wide range of health benefits that are discussed below.

1. Heart health

Cardamom features powerful therapeutic properties. These properties include supporting healthy blood pressure levels, and promoting heart health. Studies have found that Cardamom can reduce the risk of certain types of heart disease and stroke.

2. Digestive health

From aiding in digestion to providing calming effects, Cardamom has been widely regarded for its positive effects on the body. Recent research has found that Cardamom can help relieve digestive discomforts such as bloating, gas, and indigestion. This means it can improve overall digestive health.

3. Anti-inflammatory

Cardamom contains compounds that feature anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce swelling, soreness, and discomfort caused by inflammation. It can also help reduce pain associated with arthritis, gout, headaches, and other inflammatory conditions.

4. Weight management

This spice contains compounds that can limit the absorption of calories from food, allowing your body to better regulate its weight. Also, Cardamom can promote feelings of satiety, which can give your body an extra boost of energy and prevent overeating.

5. Respiratory infections

It has long been used to soothe the symptoms of an array of respiratory conditions, including bronchitis, asthma, common cold, sore throat and sinusitis. It also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a beneficial remedy for respiratory infections.

6. Diabetes

Research suggests that it may have the potential to help manage type 2 diabetes. Studies indicate that it can help to reduce blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, and its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may be beneficial in improving metabolic syndrome. However, more research is needed to determine the effect of Cardamom on diabetes.

7. Oral health

It is naturally high in antibacterial compounds, such as cineole, cardanol and terpinene, which help fight tooth decay and gum problems. It also contains calcium and phosphorus, which helps strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. In addition, Cardamom can be used as a natural mouth freshener and breath sweetener. It is an effective binder that improves the texture of toothpaste and gives it a mild, pleasant taste.

8. Detoxification

Cardamom is also a powerful diuretic, which is useful for clearing excesses from the body. It can help detox the body, aiding in the proper elimination of waste. It detoxifies the urinary tract, cleanses the kidneys, and can help reduce water retention.

9. Liver health

It promotes healthy liver function as it contains a variety of phytonutrients and antioxidants that can protect the liver from damage, and reduce liver congestion. It can eliminate certain toxins and can help stimulate the production of bile, which in turn can improve liver health.

10. Anticancer properties

Studies have linked the consumption of Cardamom to the prevention or reduction of oxidative damage and inflammation in the body, which in turn can reduce cancer risk. Studies have also suggested that Cardamom may help reduce tumour or cancer growth by inhibiting the division and development of cancerous cells. Still, additional research is needed to understand the role of Cardamom in cancer prevention in detail.

Side effects of Cardamom

It is often considered safe for most people and usually causes no side effects. However, some people have experienced allergic reactions after consuming it, including skin rashes and breathing difficulties.

It can also cause gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Large doses can also cause hypertension and rapid heartbeat.

Cardamom may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and drugs that affect the liver. So it's important to consult a doctor before consuming it.

It is generally not recommended for pregnant women to consume Cardamom, as it can stimulate the uterus and cause uterine contractions. This could lead to a miscarriage, so it is best to avoid it during pregnancy.

Women who are breastfeeding should also exercise caution when consuming Cardamom, as compounds in the spice can be passed on to the baby through the breast milk.

If you experience any unusual side effects after consuming Cardamom, contact your doctor immediately.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions and answers regarding Cardamom.

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What are the different types of Cardamom?

Cardamom is categorised into two main types, Green Cardamom and Black Cardamom. Green Cardamom is the most commonly used, while Black Cardamom has a smokier flavour. There are other varieties of Cardamom, such as White Cardamom, which is less common, and Wild Cardamom, which has a more intense flavour.

How do you store Cardamom?

Cardamom should be stored in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. If stored properly, Cardamom can be kept for up to two years.

What happens if I eat Cardamom daily?

Eating Cardamom daily can be beneficial to your overall health. It can help support digestive health, circulation, and the respiratory system. It can also help reduce inflammation as it is a good source of antioxidants. However, make sure to consult with a medical professional (if you have any health issues) before adding Cardamom to your daily diet.

Can too much Cardamom be harmful?

Yes, consuming too much Cardamom can be harmful as it can cause various digestive issues when consumed in large quantities. As with any spice, it is important to use it in moderation in order to achieve the desired flavour without any unwanted side effects.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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