Cardamom Uses, Research, Home Remedies, Side Effects

Cardamom (Elaichi) is a very good Indian spice with sweetness. Being an excellent anti oxidant, it is used in treating blood pressure, asthma, indigestion, dysuria etc. It also is an ingredient of Chyawanprash. 

Botanical Name- Elettaria Cardamomum Maton
Family- Scitamineae

Introduction

Cardamom seed embedded in the pod is the usable part in medicines as swell as culinary preparations.
Botanically in it is called Elettaria cardamom and it belongs to Zingiberaceae family.

The oil derived from cardamom, Elaichi oil, is found to be useful due its antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, stomachic and tonic effects.

Cardamom

Medicinal properties

Cardamom medicinal properties:
Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent), Madhura (sweet),
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Rooksha (dryness)
Vipaka- Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Veerya – Sheeta – Cold potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata Dosha.

Part used, dosage

Part Used: Seeds
Dosage:Powder – 0.5 -1 g

How to take?
A small piece of it can be added to your regular tea.
Its powder in a dose of 250 – 500 mg can be taken along with ghee or honey.
For bad breath problem, or in cases of diarrhea, cardamom is chewed or simply kept inside mouth and the juice is swallowed slowly.
It is also added to fruit juices, especially to lemon juice to enhance digestive effect and also to improve flavor.

Ela - Cardamom

Classical Categorization

Charaka-
Shvasahara – Group of herbs useful in asthma, dyspnoea
Angamarda prasamana – group of herbs useful in relieving bodyache
Katuka skandha – pungent tasting group of herbs
Shiro Virechanopaga – Gruop of herbs useful in  Nasya treatment
Sushruta- Eladi
Vaghata- Eladi, Trijataka, Caturjataka

Elettaria cardamomum

Cardamom Uses

The aromatic seeds are rich in many vital vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid etc. that are essential for optimization of good health conditions.

In Ayurvedic system of medicine it is used in several disease conditions effectively and few important indications are teeth and gum infections, throat problems, congestion of the lungs, pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of the eyelids, gastrointestinal disorders, disintegrating kidney, impotency, erectile dysfunction,  premature ejaculation, gall bladder stones etc.

Traditional Uses:

Mutrakrichrahara – Relieves dysuria(painful micturition), urinary retention, acts as diuretic
Arshahara – useful in piles, hemorrhoids
Shwasahara – useful in treatment of asthma and chronic respiratory disorders.
Kasahara – useful in cough and cold
Kaphahara – balances Kapha, useful in productive cough, asthma
Kshayahara – useful in chronic respiratory disorders, tuberculosis
Hrudya – acts as cardiac tonic, congenial for heart
Rochana – improves taste, relieves anorexia
Deepana – improves digestion strength
Vatahara – useful in treating disorders of Vata Dosha imbalance  such as neuralgia, paralysis, constipation, bloating, etc
Pittartihara – relieves pain and burning sensation
Pumstvaghna – excessive usage may harm fertility
It helps to relieve burning sensation and gastritis
It is useful to relieve vomiting sensation, irritable bowel syndrome, gas build up in stomach,

Qualities as per Bhojana Kutuhala

According to Bhojan kutuhalam as mentioned in the section of sambhara, Taste(Rasa) – Bitter (Tiktha), Pungent (Katu)
Potency(Veerya) – Hot (Ushna)
Properties(Guna) – Laghu ( Light to digest)
Alleviates vata and kapha doshas, Helps in treating dyspnoea, bodyache, heartburn, dysuria, toxicity, removes bad taste from the mouth, acts as aphrodisiac, is cardio tonic, not much advised during pregnancy, stimulates the digestive fire and promotes digestion, enhance intellect, treats hemorrhoids, wounds, itching and cough.

For bad breath, xerostomia

Bad breath problem can occur due to indigestion. Because of its pleasant smell and due to its digestive properties, keeping a small piece of on or two  cardamom helps in improving digestion and relieving bad breath.

Cardamom for dry mouth – xerostomia:
Chewing a pod of cardamom will moisten the mouth as well as eliminate bad breath associated with dry mouth.
Chew a pod after every meal or whenever your mouth is dry.
Add 1 tablespoon of cardamom powder to a glass of hot water. Let it steep for 10 minutes and then drink. Do it twice or thrice daily.
You can also rinse your mouth with lukewarm tea of cardamom.

Home Remedies

By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
It is used as a home remedy in several parts of this country and few important and effective remedies are referred here below-

Bad breath, sore throat

1. Ela phanta – Hot infusion for bad breath, sore throat:
2-3 gram of cardamom or its powder is added to 150-200 ml of hot water and kept for a while till it becomes lukewarm. This is used for mouth gargling. This helps to relieve nausea, tastelessness, sore throat and foul smell of the mouth.
Read related: Laryngitis (Swelling of voice box) – Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment

Cough, throat congestion

2. Cardamom and sugar candy for cough, throat congestion, dryness of the mouth etc:
Cardamom and sugar candy are taken in 3:1 ratio and powdered well. This is chewed in the dose of 1-2 gram 3-4 times a day. This is very effective in the conditions like cold, cough, throat congestion, asthma, dryness of the mouth etc.

Bloating, food poisoning

3. Ilaichi remedy for bloating and food poisoning:
Cardamom, rock salt and ginger are taken in equal amount and fine powder is made. This is consumed in the dose of 1-2 gram twice or thrice a day along with warm water. This pacifies farting, abdominal bloating and food poisoning.
Read related: Home Remedy For Bloating And Gas Trouble Using Buttermilk

Hiccup

4. Elaichi pod and banana leaf ash in hiccup:
Dried cardamom pod and matured banana leaf are taken together and burnt into ashes. This is taken in the dose of 2-3 gram along with honey and licked. This helps to reduce the hiccup and gastric irritation.

Nausea

5. Cardamom powder mixed with jaggery in travelling sickness and nausea:
Cardamom is made into fine powder and kept ready. During travelling this is taken along with jaggery or water. It is very effective in travelling sickness and nausea.

Stress

6. Cardamom added in traditional tea relieves head ache and acts as stress relieving agent and mood elevator:
If cardamom is added to traditional tea or green tea it helps to relieve head ache and stress due to its good aroma. This acts as a mood elevator also.

Bad breath

7. Cardamom powder rub to the teeth to relieve bad breath:
In cases like halitosis (bad smell of the mouth/teeth) fine powder of cardamom is rubbed to the teeth and gums. This is found to be effective in many people.

Cardamom being a choice of general use in day to day food preparations has several health benefits. Also its unique flavour and aroma makes us to appreciate it several preparations. It is the reason in recent days several modern syrups and linctus too possess cardamom flavour. Instead of using the chemical or synthetic derivatives it is always better to practice natural extracts instead of mimicking agents or substitutes of similar physico-chemical nature.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD

Varieties, distribution

Elaichi is native to the green forests of India.  It is used abundantly in Ayurvedic medicines. It is a common flavouring agent in many sweet dishes worldwide. 

Sukshma Ela – Lesser cardamom – smaller variety  – Elettaria cardamomum
Brihat Ela – Greater cardamom – Bigger variety – Amomum subulatam
Indian cardamoms are divided into:
Malbari Ilaichi and
Mysoori Elaichi
Distribution: Cultivated in different parts of India(Mainly in Western ghats and south India).

Morphology

Stem – 5- 8 feet high, Clothed below with spongy sheaths
Leaves – Subsessile, oblong lanceolate
Inflorescence – Spike, Peduncled, very dense, Calyx and corolla tube 2. 5 cm long
Fruit – CApsule, 2.5 cm diameter, Globose, red brown

Chemical constituents

Elettaria cardamomum chemical Constituents:
Bornneol, Camphene, p-cymene, geraneol, Heptane, D- Limonene, Linalool, Menthone, Methylheptenone, Myrcene, Nerol, Nerylacetete, a- & B- Pinenes, saibenene, a- & B- terpeneols, N- alkanes, Ascaridole, Camphor, Citral, Citronellal, Farnesol, Sitosterol, Thijene etc.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna VIjnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)

Cardamom contains many plants derived alkaloids that are known for their potent anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties. The main chemical constituents are pinene, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-oil, a-terpineol, a-terpineol acetate, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, limonene, 1, 8-cineole, terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalol and trans-nerolidol.

Sanskrit verse

Cardamom benefits

Research

Effect on blood pressure and anti oxidant activity
Antimicrobial activity
Liver-protecting activity
Anti-ulcer activity

Side effects

Excess usage is not good for fertility, as per Ayurvedic text – Raja Nighantu.
It can be safely used in limited quantities during pregnancy, lactation and in children.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurveda medicines

Ayurveda medicines with cardamom ingredient:
Elakanadi Kashayam – 
widely used in the treatment of chronic respiratory conditions, asthma.
Eladi Ghrita – Herbal ghee for the treatment of Abdominal bloating, weakness, anaemia, diabetes, etc
Eladi Thailam – Very famous Ayurveda oil used in treating allergic dermatitis,  urticaria, scabies etc.
Chaturjata ChurnaA combination of cardamom, cinnamon, Cinnamon leaves and Mesua ferrea – useful in anorexia, skin disorders, etc

Cardamom home remedy

Learn about a home remedy with cardamom as ingredient, useful to relieve burning sensation, repeated oral ulcers, gastritis and anorexia.

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi Name- Choti Ilaichi
English name- Lesser Cardamom
Kannada Name- Elakki
Telugu- Chinna Elakulu, Yelakkapalu
Malayalam- Elam
Tamil  Name- Yelakka
Marathi Name- Velachi, Veldode,
Bengali Name- Chot Elachi, Chot Elach
Gujarati – Elachi, Chot Elach
Arabian name – Kakul
Farsi name – Heelabak, Ilaichi Khurd

Sanskrit Synonyms

Chandra, Chandrabala – Coolant, similar to moon
Dravidi – cultivated extensively in South India
Kapotavarna – having colour of a pigeon.
Tuttha – Ela alleviated pricking pain
Triputa – Fruit is triangular shaped and has three three surfaces
Truti – Seeds are very small
Bahula – Fruits has many seeds
Korangi – Ela grows in South India
Upakunchika – Fruits are contracted
Tutha – Ela alleviated pricking pain

20 thoughts on “Cardamom Uses, Research, Home Remedies, Side Effects”

      • Thanks.
        To be honest, I am still in the process of learning Ayurveda. While these articles are educative for the readers, it is more so, to myself. 🙂

        Reply
  1. Hi, for an elderly person, it is better to consult an Ayurveda doctor in person, rather than seeking online advice.

    Reply
  2. Hi,
    Cardamom with milk twice a day is fine. No harm to fertility. Usage up to 1 gram per day is fine.
    For toddlers, just 250 – 500 mg is fine.
    I will write about Shaileya soon.
    You can surely ue Pomegranate powder in cooking. It does not form a bad food combination.
    Read more about wrong food combinations here – easyayurveda.com/2013/03/14/bad-food-combinations-and-solution-as-per-ayurveda/

    Reply
  3. Dear Dr Hebbar,

    Due to poor digestion, I sometimes take 1 cardamom with lunch/ breakfast. Do you suggest taking it before, after or in-between meal?

    Reply
  4. In poeple with lactose intolerance, in order to increase milk digestibility, is there any churna e.g. Chaturjata Churna etc. or other which can be added to milk for better digestion? Or would adding cardamom powder suffice?

    Thanks

    Reply
  5. Hi Sir,

    You have mentioned little of hotness and where as the author have mentioned cold in potency

    Please clarify

    Ritesh

    Reply

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