Cardamom

Scientific Name/Common Name: Elettaria cardamomum / Cardamom

Part(s) Used: Seed

Constituents/Active Ingredients: The main chemical components of cardamom seed oil are a-pinene, b-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, a-phellandrene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, y-terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-oil, a-terpineol, a-terpineol acetate, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol, and trans-nerolidol.

Overview: Cardamom is a plant found in Southern India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, Guatemala, the Malabar Coast, and in Ceylon. Cardamom is a sweet spice used predominantly to flavor sweets, baked goods, and coffee/tea, particularly in Arab countries. Cardamom is also employed as a medicinal flavoring agent. In traditional medicine, cardamom seeds are given for a variety of ailments including respiratory disorders, stomach complaints, hemorrhoids, bad breath, sore throat, colds, fever, bronchitis, gallbladder problems, flatulence, and colic. Cardamom is a pungent, aromatic, carminative that eases indigestion, gas, bloating, and cramping. Cardamom is the richest known source of the compound cineole. Cineole is a potent antiseptic that kills bad breath bacteria and treats other infections. Cineole also has expectorant activity for clearing breathing passages. The volatile oil of cardamom seeds, which constitutes about 5% of the seed’s total weight, has also been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antispasmodic activity.

Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: For the digestive system as a carminative to ease gas and bloating; topically antiseptic; freshens breath and eases cough.

Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:

Duke, J. 1997: The Green Pharmacy, The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World’s Foremost Authority on Healing and Herbs. Pp. 15; 82; 94; 223; 232-33; 237; 253-54; 293; 370-71; 536. Rodale Press.

Felter, H.W. and Lloyd, J.U. 1898. King’s American Dispensatory, 18th ed., 3rd revision, reprinted 1983, Eclectic Medical Publications, Portland, OR, 1898, 2 vols.

Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.