As one of the oldest spices in the world, it’s pretty surprising that the medicinal power of cardamom often goes overlooked. The first traces of its importance is linked to the ancient Egyptians, who used the spice to cultivate perfumes. The ancient Greeks also regarded cardamom as an important spice and medicinal herb. For thousands of years, Ayurvedic medicine found a use for the spice when it comes to treating digestive problems. In this article, you will learn more about the ancient healing power of cardamom.
Cardamom is a native spice to the southern part of India and Sri Lanka, thriving in forests situated 2,500 to 5,000 feet above sea level. You can also find cardamom in abundance in southern Asia, Guatemala, and Indonesia. The seedpods of cardamom are harvested just before they show signs of opening. This usually takes place when the weather is dry , most likely during the fall season.
The seedpods are picked by hand with each pod bearing 20 dark reddish brown seeds. The seedpods are then allowed to dry whole in the sun. With an aromatic scent and pungent taste, cardamom works well with other herbs, further intensifying the healing effects. The plant itself is rather attractive , a perennial that can reach 15 feet tall. On elegant stems, white flowers with mauve embellishments enhance the overall appearance of the herb.
Uses of Cardamom
When it comes to the research done on the medicinal properties of cardamom, a study was conducted during the 1960s that identified a volatile oil linked to the seeds that brought an effective antispasmodic reaction in patients. The herb was deemed suitable for providing relief for gas pains, treating colic, and cramps. In China, the herb has been used to treat urinary incontinence and makes a decent tonic.
Currently, India herbalists have found ways to treat bronchitis, kidney stones, asthma, and anorexia with cardamom. Another interesting use of cardamom is to combat bad breath, especially after you’ve eaten a dish that was heavy on the garlic.
Preparing Cardamom for Herbal Treatments
The seeds of cardamom are crushed for the use in infusions and highly sought after for their volatile oil. When analyzing a seedpod, it is important to look at the color, as green seedpods highlight seeds that are of good quality.
A word to the wise when using cardamom to treat any medical ailments, you must crush the seeds before preparation. This should be done just before you are to use the seeds, which is most effectively achieved with a mortar and pestle. To prepare cardamom to use for healing purposes, you can create a/an:
- Essential Oil: To treat digestive pains, dilute 10 drops of cardamom essential oil with four teaspoons of carrier oil. Then, gently rub the oil on your stomach.
- Infusion: Treat indigestion with a pleasantly tasting cardamom infusion. Drink one cup after eating a meal.
- Tincture: To treat a bout of loss appetite, blend five drops of cardamom tincture with 15 drops of gentian tincture. Take this herbal remedy for three times per day.