The health benefits of cardamom include gastrointestinal protection, cholesterol control, anti-cancer properties, relief from cardiovascular issues, and improvement of blood circulation in the body. It is useful for curing digestive problems, dental diseases, and urinary tract infections such as cystitis, nephritis, and gonorrhea. Cardamom possesses aphrodisiac properties and is also used as a cure for impotence, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation.
What is Cardamom?
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is a spice found in the form of a small pod with black seeds inside. The spice has an intensely sweet and savory taste. Both the seeds and the pod have a rich aroma and are often used in desserts, hot and spicy dishes, as well as aromatic beverages, coffees, and teas. It is regarded as the queen of spices and is one of the most expensive spices, ranking third, the first and second being saffron and vanilla, respectively.
The cultivation of cardamom originated in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. In India, cardamom was traditionally considered as a therapeutic herb and was one of those applied in Ayurveda (the ancient Indian science of medicine and lifestyle). It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. It was believed to be a remedy for constipation, colic, diarrhea, dyspepsia, vomiting, headache, hypertension (high blood pressure), epilepsy, and cardiovascular diseases, including poor circulation.
Cardamom Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, cardamom is a notable source of minerals such as iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and particularly manganese. Other nutrients present at lower levels include calcium, potassium, the B-vitamin pyridoxine, and vitamin C. Cardamom also contains small amounts of protein, dietary fiber, and key fatty acids. Most impressive of all, cardamom contains natural compounds with antioxidant properties, the latter being important in disease prevention and management.
Health Benefits of Cardamom
Cardamom has been promoted in traditional medicine and suggested in medical research to have several powerful health benefits. The most popular are listed below.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death around the world. The rising cost of conventional cancer therapy and the subsequent side effects have encouraged researchers to look for alternatives that are sustainable. Anti-cancer potential has long been attributed to cardamom and its active components and corroborated by laboratory and animal research. In the latter, a combination of cardamom and cinnamon was found to be helpful in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer by 48%, in large part by enhancing antioxidant activity in the body.