Cardamom is a spice in the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) recognizable by its trigonal pod husks containing small black seeds which are very important for our health-related issues. While native to subtropical Asia and a prominent ingredient in Indian cuisine, modern-day cardamom is also produced in Guatemala, Malaysia, and Tanzania. It is sold in whole pods, shelled whole seeds, or in powdered form.
2 Main Types of Cardamom
As one of the more expensive spices by weight (only saffron and vanilla rank higher) cardamom can be found in two main varieties: green cardamom and black cardamom.
- The green pods, elettaria cardamomum, also known as “true cardamom,” have the characteristics most recognized as cardamom flavor: an herbal warmth like a fragrant cross between eucalyptus, mint, and pepper—more citrusy than fennel and sweeter than cumin.
- While not as immediately pungent, black cardamom, with its duskier brown pods, mimics, and dials down the flavor profile of green cardamom pods with an added hint of bark and smoke.
Health Benefits Of Cardamom/Elaichi
1. Cardamom Helps To Reduce High Blood Pressure
One of the main health benefits of cardamom is that it plays a vital role in regulating your blood pressure. Elaichi is rich in antioxidants. It is also naturally blessed with a diuretic effect, which ensures that it improves your urination frequency by eliminating the wastewater accumulated around your vital organs.
Eating around 3 grams of cardamom powder per day can help to regulate your blood pressure to a great extent.
2. Cardamom Helps To Correct Digestive Ailments
Almost all the spices commonly used in Indian food are known for their potential to improve your digestive health, be it cumin, asafoetida or carom seeds. Elaichi is no exception to this rule. The medicinal properties of cardamom help you to get immense relief from problems such as stomach ulcers and gastric ulcers.
3. Cardamom Helps To Fight Bad Bacteria
When you go to buy toothpaste from the supermarket, you might find many flavors to choose from. Most of them will have natural ingredients such as clove and elaichi in them. Why? This is because these spices help to protect you against problems such as mouth bacteria and foul odor. One of the major health benefits of cardamom is that it has the potential to fight mouth bacteria, thereby keeping you safe against problems such as dental cavities.
Studies have proved that cardamom extract can considerably reduce the production of bacteria in your saliva. This is why you can also many chewing gum manufacturers using cardamom as one of their main ingredients. Elaichi is very effective in fighting live bacteria, thereby improving your overall oral health.
No wonder people prefer to chew on a few pods after a meal in India to keep the onion-garlic-breath at bay!
4. Cardamom Keeps You Relaxed
Cardamom is one of the most important essential oils used in aromatherapy. The flavors and ingredients of cardamom make you relaxed, physically and mentally. It has antidepressant properties, which makes it great for people who experience a lot of stress in their everyday lives.
However, if you are choosing to use it during pregnancy, or for relief against a mental health issue, it is best to check this with your trusted doctor first.
5. Cardamom Helps You Recover After Surgery
More often than not, you may feel dizzy after surgery, because of the anesthesia given to you. You may feel nauseous immediately after surgery, sometimes. This is when cardamom comes to your rescue. Researches have shown that essential oil of ginger, elaichi, and tarragon when applied to your neck, can help reduce the symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
You can also breathe in a mixture of strong flavors that include cardamom, spearmint, ginger, and peppermint, to reduce the feeling of throwing up after surgery. However, the results may not be the same for everybody who tries this, because the improvement would depend on the intensity of the anesthesia medicines that were given during surgery and the individual’s own body constitution.
6. Cardamom Benefits in Improving Oxygen Uptake
One of the major uses of cardamom is that it improves the overall functioning of your lungs by helping you breathe easier, and improves your oxygen uptake. In a study that involved two groups of participants, one group was asked to inhale cardamom oil for a minute before they headed for their treadmill workout. The second group proceeded to work out directly without inhaling this oil.
When the oxygen uptake of both the groups was compared post-workout, it was found that the first group had more of it than the second group. This was clear proof that elaichi helped you to breathe easily.
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