Cardamom, sometimes called cardamon, is a spice native to India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The tiny seed pods have a triangle cross-section and are spindle-shaped. There are two types of cardamom—green and black.
The green cardamom is referred to as the “true” cardamom and is of the Elettaria cardamomum species that is found scattered from India to Malaysia. The black cardamom is found mainly in Australia and Asia, is brown in color and larger; it is of either the Amomum costatum or the Amomum subulatum species.
Health Benefits of Cardamom
Cardamom is an herb used in food and for medicinal purposes. For the case of medicinal use, cardamom seeds are used. Cardamom has chemicals that help alleviate problems associated with the stomach—problems such as stomach and intestinal spasms and gas. It also helps with digestion, easing the movement of food through the intestines.
Green cardamom is used in South Asia to fight infections in the gum and teeth. It is also used to break down kidney stones and to relieve a sore throat and congested lungs.
Cardamom is similarly used for the common cold and symptoms associated with it, like the cough. Its other uses are for heartburn, IBS, bronchitis, constipation, liver problems, and general prevention of infections.
How to Use
To prepare cardamom pods, crush and ground the pods using a pestle and mortar. At this point, the cardamom is ready to be incorporated into the cooking. The seeds can be separated and used as a topping on pastries and breads.
Cardamom is excellent in tea and coffee. To make tea, boil the cardamom in the water and strain. Cardamom oil can be directly applied to the skin.
To preserve freshness, don’t break open pods until ready for use.