What is Cardamom?
Native to India, Bhutan, Nepal and Indonesia, cardamom (Elettaria Cardamom) is a member of the ginger and turmeric family. Like saffron and vanilla, it is one of the most expensive spices in the world, and worth every penny! In fact, it’s hard to describe the heavenly aroma and flavor of cardamom. It’s an aromatic spice that graces the most mouth-watering desserts and delectable curries and rice dishes. It also uniquely flavors our beloved chai tea.
Cardamom not only adds flavor to our favorite foods, it contains several health benefits as well. In many circles, it is known as the “Queen of Spices”. Studies have shown that it contains powerful antioxidants that can protect us at a cellular level. This helps to reduce inflammation while boosting immunity.
Additionally, cardamom shows great promise as a cancer-chemoprotective agent, meaning it could inhibit, delay or even reverse cancer. It’s essential oils were studied here and shown to have anti-tumor properties. This article shows the potential of cardamom as a chemo-preventive agent against two-stage skin cancer.
According to the Indian Journal of Biochemistry & Biophysics, cardamom powder was studied for its ability to lower blood pressure and for its effect on certain cardiovascular risk factors in people with stage-one hypertension which is mildly elevated blood pressure. The results showed that cardamom contains blood-pressure lowering and blood-clot reducing properties.
Cardamom shows promising benefits for cardiovascular health. The Narayana Medical College and Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, India, conducted this animal study on the effect of cardamom extract on cholesterol and triglycerides. They found that cardamom reduced total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and VLDL as well as triglycerides.
This PubMed article notes how Cardamom has been used traditionally for various gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and neuronal disorders, concluding that it shows both a diuretic and a sedative effect and therefore may be useful in treating both hypertension (high blood pressure) and epilepsy.