Have you ever tasted cardamom? Do you even know?
Maybe you’re you now thinking, what is cardamom? Often referred to as the “Queen of Spices,” cardamom or elaichi is one of the most common spices seen in an Indian household, but it’s loved and used all around the world.
The seeds have a warm, highly aromatic flavor that add a unique, sweet, floral flavor to any food or drink. This spice is also widely used as a digestive aid and natural breath freshener! “Cardamom fresh” not “minty fresh” breath is a result of the common chewing of the pods by men and women in India.
There are three types of cardamom: green, black and Madagascar. Most recipes usually call for green cardamom. Overall, it’s more expensive than average spices, but don’t worry because a little goes a very long way.
Cardamom is rich in powerful phytonutrients and is especially high in manganese, a trace mineral that helps the body form connective tissue, bones and sex hormones. It’s also crucial for normal nerve and brain function and plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism, fat metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation. Just one tablespoon of cardamom supplies 80 percent of your body’s daily manganese requirements! It truly is an amazing medicinal spice that even shows promise for the natural treatment of cancer and diabetes. I bet you’ll be surprised just how medicinal this spice can be!
7 Cardamom Benefits
Cardamom can naturally help many common as well as serious health concerns, including:
1. Bad Breath
Cardamom is a very effective remedy against a common problem known as halitosis or bad breath. Simply chewing on the seeds can help to eliminate any bad odors coming from your mouth. Some chewing gums even include it as an ingredient for this very reason.
Recently, in a study conducted by the Department of Microbiology at Kurukshetra University in India done to explore the antimicrobial effects of cardamom extracts on oral bacteria, it was found that the extracts are effective against oral pathogenic bacteria like Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans. (1) Additionally, the major active component of cardamom oil, cineole, is a potent antiseptic known for killing the bacteria causing bad breath and other infections. So if you’re looking how to get rid of bad breath, look no further.
Not only can cardamom kill the bacteria that causes bad breath, but it might also help prevent cavity development on your teeth or even reserve cavities and tooth decay. It has all the cleansing benefits of a chewing gum but without any of the negatives (like stickiness).
Not only can it kill bacteria in your mouth, but with its somewhat sharp yet pleasant flavor the chewing of cardamom can also encourage a cleansing saliva flow while the fibrous outer coating of the pod can provide a mechanical cleaning of your teeth.
Cardamom even shows promise when it comes to cancer, exhibiting potential as a natural cancer treatment. Animal studies have shown that it can be used as a chemopreventive agent or something that’s used to inhibit, delay or reverse cancer formation.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed that cardamom had a positive effect on skin health in animals. Researchers found that there was a significant reduction in the occurrence and number of tumors with oral administration of cardamom powder. The study concludes that cardamom has potential as a chemopreventive agent against two-stage skin cancer. (PubMed study)
Cardamom has also demonstrated the ability to decrease azoxymethane-induced colon cancer with its ability to decrease general inflammation, inhibit cancer cell growth and encourage cancer cell death. There is also evidence that it may have anticancer benefits by encouraging healthy and appropriate immune responses within the body. (PubMed Study)
4. Blood Pressure
Cardamom might be able to help you lower your blood pressure, which is key to maintaining the health of your heart and kidneys. A study conducted by the Indigenous Drug Research Center at RNT Medical College’s Department of Medicine in India and published the Indian Journal of Biochemistry & Biophysics evaluated 20, newly diagnosed individuals with primary stage 1 hypertension and the effect of giving them three grams of cardamom powder daily in two divided doses for 12 weeks. The results were great. Not only did cardamom help to decrease systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure, but it also increased total antioxidant status by 90 percent at the end of three months. (PubMed Study)
The high manganese content in this spice makes it an excellent choice for diabetics and anyone struggling with blood sugar issues. Research has shown that individuals diagnosed with diabetes have low blood levels of the trace mineral manganese. It’s unclear if having diabetes causes levels to drop or if low levels of manganese contribute to developing diabetes. Either way, adding additional manganese to the diet is a smart idea for diabetics, which is why you should use this spice as part of your diabetic diet plan. (PubMed Study)
One clinical study found that people with diabetes who had higher blood levels of manganese were more protected from LDL or “bad” cholesterol than those with lower levels of manganese as well. All this together shows that this spice is effective at combatting the onset of diabetes.
6. Digestive System
Cardamom is a traditional remedy in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of digestive issues like stomach aches, but there is also science to back this common usage. Studies have shown that cardamom ranks above other spices when it comes to assisting the various stages of digestion.
The methanolic extract from the spice is the component that helps in controlling gastrointestinal disorders, such as acidity, flatulence and stomach cramps. Studies have shown that it has gastroprotective effects, including helping stomach ulcers caused by ethanol (found in alcoholic beverages) and aspirin.
Cardamom can also provide relief for people struggle with breathing issues like asthma. One animal study indicated that it exhibits bronchodilatory effects, which means it’s a substance that dilates the bronchi and bronchioles, decreasing resistance in the respiratory airway and increasing airflow to the lungs. Basically, cardamom was shown to help make breathing easier, which of course is the main goal for anyone suffering from asthma or any shortness of breath.