cardamom (Elletaria cardamomum)
2% DV calcium, 2% DV vitamin C, 4% DV iron, 6% DV fiber, 80% DV manganese.
% Daily Value (DV) are for adults or children > 4 yr, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. (6)
Helps digestion (especially when taken with fennel). Stimulates metabolism. (2)
Cardamom tea (see Recipe of Month) may be effective in fighting pulmonary disease with phlegm, and may be useful as an expectorant. (3)
Cardamom tea may help detoxify against excessive caffeine (3)(5)(9) & may help in preventing colon cancer. (3) Add a shake of cardamom & cinnamon to your coffee.
Carminative, stomachic, flatulence. (4)
Chewing the seeds cleanses the breath & is used to counteract mucus-forming foods. (5)
A pungent spice (1) Related to ginger. One of the main ingredients in curry powder & used in mulled wine also. (5)
Numerous health benefits, due to high amounts of volatile oils such as borneol, camphor, eucalyptol, limonene, terpinine (2), a-terpineol, myrcene, menthone, b-phellandrene, l,8-cineol, sabinene, and heptane. (3)
Cardamom is one of the oldest spices in the world. It's the world's second most expensive spice, saffron being the first. (7)
6-10 feet tall perennial, cultivated in tropical areas. (4) Zone 10 or warmer; does best in partial shade; needs tropical conditions to fruit well. Moist, humus-rich soil, pH 4.8-6.7. Propagate by division of rhizomes in spring or summer & by seed in atuumn. Flowers spring to early summer, followed by small oval fruits. The fruits are harvested every few weeks just before they ripen, during dry season. After picking, dry capsules on open platforms in sun. The small green fruit contains up to 18 seeds. (5)
There are few adverse effects reported with cardamom. May cause allergic contact dermatitis, especially with repeated exposure (a good rule of thumb is not to eat anything every day, but to have a variety in your diet). May also trigger gallstone colic - not recommended for patients with gallstones. May increase risk of bleeding (though it's not well studied), especially with drugs and supplements that also increase risk of bleeding (see website for list). Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. (8)
4) Lust, John. The Herb Book. NY, NY: Bantam Books, 1974.
5) Hutchison, Frances (consultant editor). Garden Herbs. NY, NY: B&N, 2003.
RECIPE(S) OF MONTH
Coffee: Add 1/8 t cardamom powder per cup of coffee before or after brewing.
Tea: Add 1/8 t cardamom powder into any herb tea.
Chai Tea: 2 t or 2 teabags of Darjeeling tea (or YerbaMate tea for no caffeine), 1/2 cinnamon stick (crushed), 2 cardamom pods (crushed), 1 c milk (or nutmilk), 1 t raw sugar or honey.
Place tea in 1 c water in a medium-sized pot & add spices. Bring to boil, then take off heat immediately. Cover & steep 5 minutes. Strain & add milk & sugar. Serve at room temperature, hot, or iced.