Cardamom is a sweetly aromatic spice that is used for both cooking and healing purposes.
Cardamom refers to two varieties of spice from the ginger family: Ellettaria, commonly known as green cardamom, which has small, light green pods; and amomum, known as black cardamom, with larger, dark brown pods. Both species of cardamom can be used in cooking and for their health benefits.
Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. It is loaded with essential oils such as terpineol, myrcene and limonene, which have high antioxidant properties. Cardamom is commonly used to flavor baked goods, curries and beverages, and to treat a range of digestive ailments, infections and inflammations.
- Digestive health: Studies have shown that cardamom posses the ability to kill harmful H. pylori bacteria associated with ulcers. It also has a calming effect on the rest of the digestive tract and has been used to treat dyspepsia (indigestion) and gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach).
- Anti-inflammatory: A study found that mice who received cardamom extract daily for eight weeks had significant reductions in many markers of inflammation. Increased death of colon cancer cells was also observed in the group that received cardamom extract.
Tips for Using Cardamom
- Cardamom is best purchased and stored whole in pod form, because once the seeds are exposed or ground, they quickly lose their flavor.
- Add cardamom to rice pudding and other milk-based dishes, and beverages like tea.
- Cardamom pods can be chewed as a breath freshener after meals.
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