Cardamom is an expensive exotic spice that has been used for centuries for its culinary and tremendous medicinal properties. It is a strong antioxidant and natural anti-inflammatory. Cardamom is a good source of minerals and fiber. It is recommended to not take large amounts of cardamom if you have gallstones since it may trigger a gallbladder attack. Some medical experts also feel ingesting large amounts of cardamom could actually cause gallstones.
Cardamom is a seed pod that has a very aromatic smell and is popular in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Both the pods and the seeds can be ingested. To make cardamom powder you remove the seeds from the pod and grind them. You can also heat the pods and once they cool, throw the whole pod into a grinder. Cardamom has a unique sweet taste that can be used in desserts and to enhance the flavor of curry, poultry, rice, teas and coffees. Cardamom can also be made into an essential oil where it can be added to foods, applied topically or inhaled. Cardamom pods range in color based on the variety. The small green pods are considered “true” cardamom. Larger pods are red, white or black.
Cardamom is used in Ayurvedic medicine and ancient Egyptians used it as a breath freshener. Today, many cultures chew on the pods to freshen their breath and stimulate the secretion of saliva. Over the centuries the dental benefits derived from cardamom included preventing tooth decay, infections and gum disease. Cardamom has natural antimicrobial properties and also has been reported to help with nicotine addiction.
Cardamom contains flavonoids (phytonutrients that are natural plant chemicals) making it a powerful antioxidant and natural anti-inflammatory. Cardamom helps to combat toxic free radicals that enter our bodies daily. When toxins enter our body they can enter via our skin, our digestive tract and our pulmonary tract. These impurities have an adverse impact on the body and cause the formation of free radicals. These free radicals cause oxidation of the internal body that can lead to cellular damage and DNA damage. This can predispose to degenerative disease, inflammatory disease, vital organ damage or malignancy. Over the centuries cardamom has been used for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cardamom supports a healthy immune system and a healthy urinary tract.
Cardamom is considered an aphrodisiac and has been used to address impotence, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. One important feature of cardamom is that it supports a healthy digestive system. Cardamom has natural antispasmodic properties and has shown benefit for diarrhea, bloating, stomach cramps, flatulence, nausea and irritable bowel. Studies conducted at the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in East India have shown that dietary cardamom had a positive result in counteracting colorectal cancer growth.
Cardamom is cardiovascular friendly and assists with healthy blood pressure. Cardamom supplements are showing promise in metabolic syndrome that has now become epidemic in North America. Intra-abdominal fat (visceral fat) absorbs toxins that can then lead to metabolic syndrome - increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. Cardamom supplements fuel detoxification pathways that can help with weight reduction - thus lowering the risk of diseases associated with metabolic syndrome.
Because cardamom has antispasmodic properties, it may benefit individuals suffering from asthma and other respiratory disorders. In one study done in Bangladesh, researchers have shown that the crude extracts from cardamom were effective enough in opening up constricted windpipes in lab animals. They were also effective in causing relaxation of the tracheal tissues.
Topical application of cardamom shows benefit with blemishes and cardamom added to honey can be used as a detoxifying mask. Cardamom is recommended to smooth out a “ruddy” complexion and the oil will keep lips moist and smooth. Cardamom oil can also help with the health of the scalp and hair.
From a nutritional standpoint, cardamom is a good source of potassium and fiber and also provides vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and manganese.
The potential health benefits of this aromatic spice are vast. As with any spice, some individuals could experience an allergic reaction - although rare. It is recommended to not take large amounts of cardamom if you have gallstones since it may trigger a gallbladder attack. Some medical experts also feel ingesting large amounts of cardamom could actually cause gallstones. Certain medications may interfere with cardamom so always check with your healthcare professional before starting any new dietary routine.
Possible short-term side effects
- allergic reaction
Possible long-term side effects
- formation of gallstones
- gallbladder attack if you already have gallstones
Commonly found in
- asian and middle eastern cuisine
- good source of minerals and fiber
- cardiovascular friendly
- soothes the digestive tract
- could help with asthma and other pulmonary conditions
- natural anti-inflammatory
- supports a strong immune system
- powerful antioxidant
- may act as a cancer preventative or slow its growth
- natural breath freshener
- helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease
- natural antimicrobial
- topically good for the skin and hair
- natural detoxifier that can help with metabolic syndrome
- supports a healthy urinary tract
Organic Varieties (what is this?)
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Written by Dr. Becky Maes | 05-25-2018
Written by Dr. Becky Maes
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