Showing posts with label cardamom ayurveda spice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cardamom ayurveda spice. Show all posts

2014-06-18

Health Benefits of Spice Cardamom | Elaichi

Cardamom is a seed pod, known since centuries for its culinary and medicinal properties. The spice is native to evergreen rain forest of southern India and grown in only few tropical countries. Botanically, it belongs to the family of "Zingiberaceae" and consists of two genera; Elettaria and Amomum.

Cardamom commonly known in India as "choti elaichi", cardamom's scientific name is Elletaria cardamomum. In Ayurveda it is considered to be a very useful and effective medicine. In Ayurvedic texts cardamom is referred to as "ela".

In the traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda, cardamom seeds are also used as lozenges to suck on after meals to help digestion. From an Ayurvedic perspective, acid from tea and coffee, and spicy foods like curries, irritate the intestines, leading to an increase of gas-producing mucus that then makes congestive ingredients such as milk, cheese, and wheat much more difficult to digest.

It turns out that the tiny cardamom seeds reduce mucus buildup caused by heavier foods—especially rich desserts—and contain natural carminatives, which reduce gas. Cardamom is also alkaline, making it a natural antidote to acid. As a member of the ginger family, cardamom has been used to make heavy and acidic foods easier to digest for more than 5,000 years. Throughout the Middle East even coffee is brewed with ground cardamom seeds, reducing its acid and neutralizing the stimulating effects of caffeine (plus, it tastes good!). Cardamom is also one of the richest sources of the phytochemical cineole, a potent antiseptic for bad breath, gum disease, sore throats, and respiratory conditions.

Cardamom is known to be helpful in balancing all three 'doshas' in the human body. Hence it is termed as "tridoshic”. A little quantity of cardamom is especially beneficial in balancing "kapha”. It can be used for balancing "vata" and "pitta" also.

Health Benefits
  1. Cardamom helps in cleansing the body as it has detoxifying properties. 
  2. Their warming and stimulating effects are recommended for those feeling run down and tired, especially in the winter. Their ability to dispel cold and damp may account for their ability to reduce phlegm which is often a symptom of such wintery conditions. Added to milk products and puddings they can actually counteract the mucus-forming properties of milk. Their stimulating expectorant action helps to clear phlegm from the nose and sinuses as well as the chest, making them a good remedy for colds, coughs, asthma and chest infections.
  3. It improves blood circulation to the lungs and can be helpful in prevention of spasms or convulsions. Hence, cardamom in small quantities is beneficial for those suffering from asthma or bronchitis. 
  4. Cardamom enhances appetite and provides relief from acidity in the stomach. It is used in the cure of halitosis. It is beneficial for those suffering from various kinds of respiratory allergies. When you have sore throat, you can try out a little quantity of this medicinal spice. 
  5. Its also beneficial for those suffering from nausea.
  6. Along with some other medicines, it can be used for treating mouth ulcers. 
  7. It is known to be a good cure for weakness in general. 
  8. The tonic effect of cardamoms extend to the kidneys and urinary tract. In modern herbal medicine they are used as a strengthening remedy for a weak bladder, involuntary urination and bedwetting in children as well as to treat urinary tract infection.
  9. Beats bad breath: If you have bad breath and have tried every sort of remedy out there, give elaichi a try. The spice is packed with antibacterial properties, has a strong flavour and a pleasant smell. Moreover since it helps improve your digestive system – which is known to be one of the leading causes for bad breath – it is very effective in weeding out the root cause of the problem.
  10. Elaichi is a potent tonic and stimulant. It not only helps to strengthen the body it also fights sexual dysfunctions like premature ejaculation and impotency. Not only does it relieve the problem it also helps you feel energetic and last longer in bed.

Simple Home Remedies
  1. If you suffer from indigestion this tip is for you. Take a two to three pods of cardamom, a small piece of ginger, a few pieces of cloves and a few dhania seeds. Grind them well and eat this with warm water. It acts as an instant remedy for indigestion, bloating and gas.
  2. Another great remedy for headaches caused due to indigestion is to make cardamom tea. All you need to do is infuse it into some regular green tea and drink it while it’s warm. This mixture works well right at the onset of the symptoms of indigestion.
  3. Chew on a pod of elaichi after every meal. You could alternatively drink some elaichi tea every morning to help detoxify and strengthen your digestive system. 
  4. If you have a cold, cough or a congested chest , elaichi is the best natural remedy to relieve the symptoms. All you need to do is add a few drop of elaichi’s essential oil to your vessel of steaming water during steam inhalation.
  5. Add a pinch or two of elaichi powder and turmeric to a glass of warm milk. You can add a little sugar for taste if you like. Drink this every night to help relieve weakness and other symptoms of anaemia.
  6. In modern Ayurvedic medicine cardamoms are a popular remedy for nervous digestive upsets in children, and are often combined with fennel. When simmered in water for a few minutes and taken as a hot tea, they will relieve colic, wind and indigestion, and help to quell nausea and vomiting.

One of my favourite recipes using cardamom pods is a deliciously warming tea which I drink regularly in the winter to keep me warm and ward off colds, coughs and flu. Take:

4 cardamom pods
4 black peppercorns
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
a few slices of fresh ginger


Place all ingredients in 1 pint of water, heat to nearly boiling, covered, for 20-30 minutes. Strain. Add a little milk or honey. Drink a cupful hot twice a day.


Selection and storage
Fresh cardamom pods as well as its powder are available in the market year around. Both varieties of pods are readily sold in the markets. "Elettaria" pods are small and light green, while 'Amomum" pods are larger and dark brown. Fresh pods feature heavy and give sweet aroma when rubbed with the finger tips. Avoid pods that appear light and that are with surface discoloration or spots, which may feature mold (fungal infection).

Medicinal use
The therapeutic properties of cardamom oil have found application in many traditional medicines as antiseptic and local anesthetic, antioxidant in addition to health promoting and disease preventing roles.

Culinary uses
In general, cardamom seeds are sought-after in sweet and dessert preparations. The pod is split open to its expose underlying seeds either with fingers or small knife. The seeds are then crushed (powdered) using a hand mill just before their use in cooking. However, whole pods are preferred in savory dishes, which give a further punch to the recipe since their peel contains certain amounts of valuable essential oils.

Here are some preparation tips:
This delicate spice is being used as flavoring agent in both foods, soups and refreshing drinks.

The pods have been in use in the preparation of sweet dishes in many Asian countries. Elaichi-pista (cardamom and pistachio) kulfi is a famous summer dessert in India, Pakistan, and Iran. Elaichi kheer is another popular rice pudding with added pistachio, and raisins in these regions.

It is used as a flavoring base in the preparation of tea, coffee, and cold drinks.

Black cardamom (badi elaichi) is mostly preferred in savory dishes; to prepare rice-pilaf, meat stews, and lentil-curry in many parts of Nepal, India, and Pakistan.