Cardamom sometimes cardamon or cardamum, is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia. They are recognized by their small seed pods: triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin, papery outer shell and small, black seeds; Elettaria pods are light green and smaller, while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown.
Species used for cardamom are native throughout tropical and subtropical Asia. The first references to cardamom are found in Sumer, and in the Ayurvedic literatures of India. Nowadays it is also cultivated in Guatemala, Malaysia, and Tanzania. The German coffee planter Oscar Majus Klöffer introduced Indian cardamom to cultivation in Guatemala before World War I; by 2000, that country had become the biggest producer and exporter of cardamom in the world, followed by India.
Types & Distribution
True or green cardamom (or when bleached, white cardamom) comes from the species Elettaria cardamomum and is distributed from India to Malaysia. What is often referred to as white cardamon is actually Siam cardamom, Amomum krervanh
Both forms of cardamom are used as flavourings and cooking spices in both food and drink, and as a medicine. E. cardamomum (green cardamom) is used as a spice, a masticatory, and in medicine; it is also smoked
Elaichi (Cardamom) seeds are used in ayurvedic medicines for respiratory diseases. It is ingredient of Sitopaladi Churna, which is famous medicine for recurrent respiratory infections, cough, asthma, cold, and several other diseases. Green Cardamom Pod outer skin is also beneficial for improving blood circulation and exerting blood purifier action. The whole pod with seeds is used in making Cardamom (Elaichi) Tea.
Elaichi (Cardamom) is a good aromatic, digestive stimulant and carminative. All these medicinal properties are due to the essential oil present in cardamom. Other properties include:
Elaichi (Cardamom) increases blood circulation, reduces toxins in the blood and increases elimination of these toxins by inducing mild diuresis. It also has anti-allergic effects, which appear in allergic skin rashes and urticaria. Aphrodisiac effects are also observed with cardamom seeds. It also has immunostimulatory effects, which are noticeable in recurrent upper respiratory infections. It lessens and prevents recurrent infections