Cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice (by weight). In fact, it is sometimes referred to as the "queen of spices." Native to India, Nepal, and Bhutan, cardamom is most commonly recognized by its small seed pods. This spice has a long past. In fact, the earliest form of the word "cardamom" is from Mycenaean Greek, the language spoken by ancient Greeks during the 16th to 12th centuries BC.
More than just an intensely aromatic spice, cardamom seed uses have been both culinary and medicinal for centuries. It is even mentioned in early Ayurvedic text as an ingredient in some medicinal preparations. Today, recent scientific studies attest to the health benefits of this common spice.
Cardamom Is Rich in Nutrients
Cardamom is richest in manganese and provides 80% of the recommended value in a single tablespoon. The seed is considered an excellent dietary source of limonene, a chemical typically found in the skin of citrus fruits. Consumption of limonene has been shown to boost antioxidant activity and has been used by patients to prevent and treat cancer. Limonene is also a great solvent that is capable of “carrying” other healthful ingredients deep into the cells of your body, which is one of the reasons that Jon uses it as an ingredient in most of his liquid tinctures.
Cardamom for Natural Digestive Health
Herbalists refer to cardamom as a carminative, which is another way of saying that cardamom is used to control various digestive problems like excessive thirst, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, and flatulence. This makes it particularly beneficial when detoxing, as it can help minimize many of the side effects. In a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, researchers reported that treatment with an extract of cardamom essential oil proved more effective in treating gastric ulcers caused by aspirin and ethanol than ranitidine, a medication widely prescribed for the treatment of ulcers.
Cardamom for Natural Liver & Kidney Health
And one of its most important uses is in liver cleansing. Cardamom improves the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder, and keeps viruses from multiplying. In fact, you can find it as an ingredient in Jon Barron’s Liver Flush Tea.
In the book, Herbal Teas: 101 Nourishing Blends for Daily Health and Vitality, authors Kathleen Brown and Jeanine Pollak note that drinking cardamom tea or adding cardamom to baked goods or traditional Indian dishes can help improve digestive enzymes. As mentioned earlier, the compounds in cardamom help relieve painful gas and reduce instances of flatulence. So don’t forget to add this spice to your next bean soup or chili!
Authors Bharat B. Aggarwal and Ajaikumar B. Kunnumakkara report in their book Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Uses of Spices that cardamom is useful in treating kidney problems, as well as urinary problems, including incontinence.
Cardamom for Natural Relief for Common Ailments
Famous for its expectorant action, cardamom seed is also used to address various types of cough, conditions involving respiratory allergies, phlegmatic conditions, and sore throats.
In summary, cardamom has been used to treat or relieve symptoms for:
- Nausea and vomiting that can occur after surgery.
- Intestinal spasms
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Cold and coughs
- Sore mouth and throat
- Urinary problems
- Loss of appetite
- Bad breath
- Tooth, gum, and oral disorders
How to Use Cardamom
Cardamom can be found in its traditional dried seed form as well as in powdered form. You may also find it in various herbal formulas as well as in common foods and drinks such as coffee, sausages, and in dishes from ethnic cuisines such as Indian, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian.
Read more about detoxing your liver.