Updated: Sep 16, 2021
Cardamom is one of the 3 Queens of spices in my book. It has been used medicinally and for cooking since ancient times. A top spice on the Silk Road, that made its way through the Middle East, to Europe, then Guatemala before making its way to the U.S. in the early 1900’s. She has lived OK! Native to India, it is a member of the Zingiberaceae family, which includes ginger and turmeric. There are two types, black and green. Once grounded it loses its flavor and potency quickly, so storing it as pods and grinding up as needed is best.
Known as Ela in Sanskrit, it has tons of functions in Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Ela helps with weak digestion, bloating, flatulence, indigestion, intestinal pain, asthma with wheezing, cough with mucus, nausea, loss of appetite, mouth ulcers, infections of throat/mouth, halitosis (bad breath), increases sexual potency, AND is a diuretic that helps detoxify by cleaning out the Kidneys, bladder, and urinary tract.
In addition a 2009 study on cardamom and cardiovascular health brought together the Indigenous Drug Research Center and the Department of Medicine, RNT Medical College in India. The team wanted more data on the effects cardamom had on cardiovascular health, and utilized patients with stage 1 hypertension for the study. Patients were administered cardamom at regular intervals, with blood pressure and blood samples taken at specific intervals as well to monitor changes. Total antioxidant levels were also assessed at the beginning and end of study. The results found that diastolic, systolic, and average blood pressure substantially decreased, and total antioxidant levels increased by an average of 90%! This is a phenomenal side effect of a spice that flavors everything from curries in India, coffee in Yemen, to pulla bread in Finland.
If you’re not familiar with this Queen yet start with a simple cup of tea. Take 2-3 pods and seep in hot water, don’t boil. Let her tastes, temperatures, and flavors play around in your mouth. If you know any Acupuncturists or Ayurvedic Doctors you may see them pull out a pill holder, yet these gems are hiding inside instead of pharmaceuticals.