THE WINTER MAGIC OF CARDAMOM
TAKING OUR MEDICINE BACK – The Yogi Veda Spice Series
Cardamom: Elletaria Cardamomum
From tea to coffee and from exotic marketplaces to palaces, cardamom’s warmth and sweetness has earned her name as the Queen of Peace. Going back to her origins, long before the Romans and Arabs discovered the benefits of this intriguing spice, the ancient Vedic texts mentioned her being thrown into the sacred fire rituals as as an offering up to the Gods and Goddesses. As a symbol of alliance, cardamom continues to play an important role in Indian and Persian weddings to this day.
Mixed with coffee it has been historically used in both Ethiopian coffee growers homes, to honor respected guests as well as in Sufi monasteries. Used not just as an intoxicating aromatic, or to add layers of complexity to the roasted coffee beans, but as a digestive aid. Cardamom has now been used for thousands of years to help with digestion. It’s often mixed with other medicinal spices to relieve discomfort, like nausea and vomiting and to reduce the distress associated with stomach ulcers.
This coffee-cardamom brew is one that’s high in phenolic compounds, with potent antioxidant properties, and the resulting blend has a different biological activity than regular coffee, less heating, drying and acidic.
Ayurvedic medicine mentions the many properties of cardamom, including the special benefit of The Queen of Peace, helping to open the mind and reduce anxiety. It is noted in the classical Ayurvedic medical texts that it is most beneficial for the respiratory system. Compounds in cardamom may help increase airflow to your lungs and improve breathing. Another way that cardamom may improve breathing and oxygen use is by relaxing your airway. This may be particularly helpful for treating asthma.
It also functions as mild analgesic for pain management. It can be taken both internally and used topically. One of the major active components of cardamom oil is its strong antimicrobial action. Chewing the seeds kills oral bacteria associated with infection that can lead to cavities, gum disease and bad breath.
Cardamom extracts have compounds that fight several common strains of bacteria. One test-tube study examined the impact of these extracts on drug-resistant strains of Candida, a yeast that can cause fungal infections. The extracts of cardamon were able to inhibit the growth of the strain.
In an other study, ½ a teaspoon a day of cardamom was given to newly diagnosed adults with high blood pressure. After 12 weeks blood pressure results significantly reduced to normal ranges. Researchers believe that this spice may lower blood pressure, due to its diuretic effect, meaning it promotes urination, removing water that builds up in your body, particularly around your heart.
We can all benefit from using cardamom daily in our cooking of curries, stews, rice dishes, or desserts. It can be drunk straight up as a beautiful aromatic tea on its own or mixed with other spices like fennel and ginger for additional benefits. For teeth and gums, the cardamom pod can be chewed whole and the juices kept in the mouth for up to 10 minutes and then spit out. For nausea, vomiting or diarrhea the pod can be chewed and the juice slowly swallowed. Cardamom pods can be added to your coffee roasting process for a rich and complex coffee experience. In powder, 250-500 mg packs a powerful punch, mixed with ghee or honey and taken daily as a diuretic, for blood pressure, digestive or respiratory problems.
Adding cardamom to your daily diet in small doses (a pod a day) is generally safe for everyone including pregnant or lactating women and children. A simple and aromatic brew shared with a friend to transport you across time, this sweet and versatile Queen of Peace has worked her magic around the globe for centuries.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.