Cardamom is the fruit of the Elettaria cardamomum plant and belongs to the ginger family.
Cardamom seeds are procured through the process of Decortication, in which the seed(s) shell or pod is removed. When good quality, fresh cardamom seed is decorticated the 1/8 inch light brown to black seeds initially cling together because of a sticky seed membrane. This membrane eventually dries to a white, flaky chaff-like substance that sticks to the seed or collects at the bottom of the bag. This chaff does not affect the flavor or quality of the seed. Recipes usually call for the whole or ground seeds rather than whole pods. The best quality cardamom seeds are fully ripe, hard, and dark brown in color. The strong, sharply aromatic flavor is often described as anise or eucalyptus-like.
Eases belching, flatulence and indigestion; treats respiratory conditions like coughing, asthma and loss of voice; aids in the elimination of toxins through your skin.
- Chew on cardamon seeds for fresh breath and relief of indigestion and gas.
- Add the crushed leaves or seeds to your bath. Cardamon is stimulating so use when you want to wake up only.
- Crush the leaves and seeds and add to witch hazel. Let sit for several weeks. Cardamon is rich in terpenes which have antimicrobial and anti-viral properties.
- Be safe. Cardamon is considered safe to use with few side effects. However, any herb can cause allergic reaction and interact with medications you may already be taking. Caution should also be used when dealing with young children and herbal remedies as they are much more dose sensitive due to their smaller size and standardization is difficult when dealing with fresh herbs. If buying herbal remedies for improving health in capsule form from the health food store follow the manufactures recommendations.
HOW TO USE:
Cardamom isn’t just healthy, it’s tasty, too. Also known as cardamon, Grains Of Paradise, Ela (in Sanskrit) and elachi or elaichi (in India), this versatile spice works equally well in pungent or sweet dishes. The seeds can be ground into powder, or you can use whole pods (they often have the seeds removed). For the most flavors, crack them a bit before cooking. Stir a few freshly ground pinches of cardamom pods into a shot of orange juice or your morning fruit salad or smoothie, or mix it with white or brown rice before you boil it.
Try cardamom to flavor rice pudding, cakes, ginger fig chutney or crème brûlée. Use it in cakes, cookies and pies, vegetable pies, fruit salads and desserts (like baked apple), grape jelly, pickles, soups (especially split pea soup), and with sweet potatoes, carrots and squash.
This article is meant to be informational and educational regarding traditional uses of herbs for medicinal purposes and not as medical advice. Always follow up with your doctor for concerns regarding your health. The FDA approves herbs as dietary supplements only.
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