By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
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.
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.
Read related: Cardamom Uses, Research, Home Remedies, Side Effects
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
7. Cardamom powder rub to the teeth to relieve bad breath:
In cases like hallucitosis (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 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.
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