Cardamom holds a special prestige among spices that are often cited in Ayurveda. Heralded as the queen of spices, Cardamom is known for its uniquely fragrant aroma and sweet taste. It is perhaps these very same distinct features that make it a favorite ingredient in desserts, tea and coffee.
Cardamon comes from its home in Asia, being mainly used in India and the Middle East, and is one of the most expensive spices in the world, right after vanilla and saffron. Today you can find it being cultivated in Tanzania, Guatemala, and Malaysia. This spice has become so popular that cardamom infused lattes are offered even in Starbucks today.
There are two type of cardamom available to us today. They are the green cardamom and the large black cardamom. Each type of cardamom has its own distinct taste, smell, and fundamentally, their own distinct health benefits as well.
In this article, we will look at some of its most prominent and clinically proven health benefits and understand why Ayurveda hold this spice to such high praise.
Cardamom in Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, Cardamom is considered to be tridoshic, meaning it can be balancing for all mind-body dosha type. Cardamom offers both sweet and pungent taste to its consumer and exhibits both warm and calming qualities. It can pacify the Vata, as well as reduce the amount of Kapha from our stomach and lungs.
Ayurveda claims that Cardamom’s warm and calming qualities are integral in tackling and eliminating the accumulation of ‘ama’ from our body. It is by the elimination of such toxins that cardamom is able to protect our bodies from all kinds of chronic and benign illnesses.
The Benefits of Ayurveda
Cardamom is known to contain potent antioxidant properties that can reduce inflammation in the body, eliminate free radicals and prevent chronic health issues like heart diseases and cancer from ever arising. It also aids in protecting the youthful glow of your skin and prevents premature ageing.
Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Cardamom is shown to exhibit diuretic effect on the body, which means it can promote urination that frees the built-up water around the heart. In fact, a 2008 study on rats showed cardamom reducing blood pressure in rats while promoting increased urination in them.
Helps with Bad Breath and Promotes Oral Health
It is no secret that cardamom is in fact used as a mouth freshener in many regions around the world due to its distinct fragrance. Apart from that, there are studies that have credited cardamoms ability to fight bad breath to its ability to fight mouth bacteria. Cardamom has long been a popular ancient remedy in the Ayurveda school of thought. Today, you can find cardamom as the key ingredient in many commercially available mouth fresheners in the market.
Apart from common mouth bacteria, there are several other studies that prove cardamom just as effective in fighting an array of different kinds of bacteria and infection. A 2010 study, found cardamom extract or essential oil containing cardamom to be way more effective in fighting bacteria like E. Coli and Staphylococcus than many other standard issue drugs.
Cardamom if used in aromatherapy can provide an invigorating odor that can increase airflow to your lungs and enhance your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently while exercising. A 2011 study asked its subjects to inhale cardamom essential oil before running on a treadmill for 15 minutes. The study found that the group who did inhale cardamom had a significantly raised oxygen intake.
This can prove to be particularly effective in tackling asthma, although more studies on this subject need to be conducted to find concrete evidence.
Lowers Blood Sugar
In a study conducted in 2017, a bunch of rats were only fed high carb, high fat diet which resulted in elevated blood sugar levels in their body. However, these rats were later fed cardamom powder and it was found that their blood sugar levels came down as compared to the rats that were later treated to only a normal meal.
There have been studies trying to associate cardamom with weight loss, and the results have so far been promising. In a study on 80 overweight women who were given cardamom with their diet, it was found that the women who tool cardamom noticed a shrinking waist circumference. Whereas the women who were didn’t incorporate cardamom in their diet, didn’t notice any changes whatsoever.
Aids in Digestion
Cardamom has long been a key remedial spice prescribed in helping improve digestion in Ayurveda. It is often blended with other medicinal items to relieve nausea, vomiting and other forms of discomfort. There is also ample research to suggest that cardamom can prove to be a reliable ally in reducing stomach ulcers.
Cardamom for Health and Wellbeing
Even as you read this article, there are several studies being conducted to unravel the mysteries hidden underneath cardamom’s beautiful pod. If studies are to be believed, then there is ample evidence to suggest that it has the potential to combat chronic health issues of cancer and stroke.
Cardamom is a versatile spice; as such it can be used in a variety of ways for consumption. Cardamom is often the key ingredient in curries and stews while also being used in cakes and desserts because of its distinct sweet taste. It goes well with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, black pepper and fennel. Cardamom is also a safe food to consume and can be consumed however you prefer to incorporate it in your Ayurvedic diet. Whether it is with tea, or topically in the form of essential oil, the choice is yours.
Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.