Within medicinal plants, there are seeds of all kinds full of nutrients and minerals and containing a very important selection of essential oils.
These oils are, in this case, the ones that make up the properties of cardamom and the benefits demonstrated and studied. An exotic plant seed that has countless functionalities, such as those we are going to see in this article.
Cardamom, without a doubt, deserves special attention and increase its consumption, above what we can add in the dressings of gin and tonic, which have become so fashionable in recent years.
Discover the plant and the properties of cardamom
Cardamom is a plant of exotic origin. We can see it grown in Asian countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Therefore, it needs specific climatic characteristics and, of course, a lot of humidity and heat.
Its scientific name is Elettaria cardamomum, and belongs to the zingiberaceae family. Here we find a good number of ornamental species with very showy flowers and adapted to the tropical climate.
Cardamom can exceed 2 meters in height and has the appearance of a cane, with very large and greenish leaves.
From the fruit, after flowering, some pods are obtained inside which we find cardamom seeds. These, once they have dried, have a blackish appearance, although at first they are rather dark brown.
From these seeds, different benefits that shape the properties of cardamom have been studied. Today, we can buy them in many supermarkets and online stores.
The properties of cardamom are defined between a mixture of its nutritional composition (rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins) and the phytochemicals that are part of it and that we will treat little by little throughout the article.
As for its nutritional composition, 100 grams of cardamom seeds provide the following relationship.
|Dietary fiber||28 grams|
Because it is a seed, its energy contribution is high, and we are used to seeing it in the chia seeds, flax or poppy values exceeding 300 kcal per 100 grams.
It is a highly concentrated source of iron and other minerals, which we will see broken down into the following list of elements.
- Potassium: 1120 mg (24% recommended daily allowance)
- Calcium: 382 mg (38% RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE)
- Phosphorus: 178 mg (25% RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE)
- Magnesium: 229 mg (62% recommended daily allowance)
- Iron: 13.98 mg (112% RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE)
- Sodium: 18 mg (1% recommended daily allowance)
- Zinc: 7.46 mg (75% recommended daily allowance)
It provides many minerals with low amount of sodium, which is very positive for people who suffer from fluid retention.
We have commented on the great contribution of iron, but we must not detract from the amount of magnesium, calcium and zinc.
Therefore, we talk about the interesting properties of cardamom according to its nutritional relationship.
Contribution of vitamins
Let’s see what relationship cardamom has in terms of the contribution of vitamins. Would its consumption be interesting in this regard?
- Vitamin B1: 0.2 mg (15% recommended daily allowance)
- Vitamin B2: 0.17 mg (11% recommended daily allowance)
- Vitamin B3: 1.10 mg (7% recommended daily allowance)
- Vitamin B6: 0.23 mg (18% recommended daily allowance)
- Vitamin C: 21 mg (35% recommended daily allowance)
We are also talking about a balanced supply of vitamins, especially noted the high contribution of vitamin C.
Read more: Are multivitamin supplements suitable?
Let’s talk aboutand something that is very interesting if we want to see what are the medicinal and beneficial properties for our body.
From the properties of cardamom have been selected several essential oils and interesting chemical structures. This essential oil contains:
- Cineole (36.3%)
- Sabineno (2.8%)
- Linalyl (2.5%)
- Myrcene (1.6%)
- α-pinene (1.5%)
- Geraniol (0.5%)
- Eugenol (0.2%)
In addition, the properties of cardamom have characterized 10 more essential oils, of different origin, composition and concentration, such as gallic acid and caffeic acid.
Those that give it the characteristic flavor are cineole and α-terpenyl acetate.
Properties of cardamom
1. Protection of the digestive system
Several trials have been carried out where the properties of cardamom have been demonstrated in the protection of the digestive system, especially the stomach, against the development of ulcers.
These gastric lesions can be caused by the abuse of alcohol or medications that affect the stomach (ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.), related to the loss of gastric mucosa and gastric acids.
Cardamom extract has been an effective weapon preventing the appearance of gastric necrosis by up to 65%.
2. Reduces diabetes
The properties of cardamom in reducing blood sugar levels and peaks have been analyzed, especially interesting in people suffering from diabetes.
Cardamom has significantly reduced these pathologies of hyperglycemia. The first positive results are obtained when glucose concentration peaks appear and cardamom has been taken periodically 5-6 days before.
3. Expectorant action
The seeds of this plant can act against respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or pneumonia.
The essential oils involved in the prevention and cure of this type of disease are the Cineol and the Eucalyptol that have bactericidal action in the microorganisms involved in respiratory conditions.
In addition, direct expectorant action has been demonstrated, increasing the amount of water that mucous secretions have and, therefore, their elimination.
The cumin seeds, containing the phytocompound pinene they also have this expectorant property, so they can be combined to obtain synergistic results.
4. Antiseptic action
Many of the essential oils contained in cardamom participate in the ingredient list of mouthwashes and toothpastes.
This is because cineole is a potent antiseptic and antimicrobial, eliminating this type of microorganisms that cause dental plaque, cavities and bad breath.
This beneficial property has not been discovered recently, as cardamom seeds were chewed in ancient civilizations to maintain good oral hygiene.
5. Antioxidant properties
More and more compounds are found in vegetables that can have a protective action of the organism against the development of different types of cancer.
The properties of cardamom have been analyzed for its chemopreventive activity, increasing antioxidant levels in the body and acting protectively on organs, especially liver lesions.
6. Increase appetite
This seed is especially indicated in people who suffer from problems of reduced appetite, either by aggressive medical treatments, stress or depression or other diseases.
As a result, anemia and problems caused by the lack of reserve of nutrients and minerals, such as bone and muscle injuries, increase.
The properties of cardamom they act by increasing salivary juice and appetite, so in addition to increasing the energy we incorporate into the body, it improves digestion and the way we eat.
This happens because it increases the activity of trypsin, an enzyme that is involved in digestive processes.
Therefore, it is advisable to make infusions of cardamom after heavy meals, high in fat or that we previously know we do not tolerate well.
How to take it
Thanks to the knowledge we have that gastronomy and new modern additions, we find a lot of recipes and ways to take advantage of the properties of cardamom. Let’s look at some of them.
- Grilled chicken with cardamom
- Chocolates with cardamom
- Banana, cocoa, cashew and cardamom smothie
- Yogurt with persimmon, chia and cardamom seeds
- Gin Tonics with cardamom
The traditional infusion of cardamom, widely consumed by the Arabs after heavy and greasy meals. We are going to show you the simple preparation of this tea.
- 3 cardamoms crushed
- 1/2 liter of water
- 2 slices peeled ginger
- 1 anise seed
- Honey (optional)
To this tea is usually added ginger and anise to improve the final flavor, but it will depend on your tastes, since it does not alter the properties of cardamom.
We heat the water and bring it to a boil. When it breaks to boil add the ingredients (cardamom, ginger and anise) and let it cool.
Consumption when the temperature is reduced, taking it 1 time a day after meals if we have stomach problems or problems with digestion.
Where to buy
We have different options to take advantage of the properties of cardamom. Either directly from its seeds to introduce it in recipes, crushed for infusions or from different origins.
We show you the most striking and consumed products.
Let’s identify some of the contraindications and side effects diagnosed in some cases.
Most of its effects have been seen in people allergic to some of the phytochemicals and compontes (essential oils) of cardamom.
- In general, it is recommended not to administer in children under 6 years of age.
- Do not apply in people with allergies to any of the essential oils discussed above.
- Patients who already suffer from gastrointestinal ulcers, it is recommended to consult previously with a doctor
- Consult before in people with Crohn’s disease, colitis, irritable bowel, epilepsy or Parkinson’s.
- Do not take in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Do you know more interesting properties of cardamom¿ Leave us a comment!