Medicinal Properties of Cardamom


Botanical Name - Ellettaria Cardamom
Indian Name - Chhoti elaichi

Other names: Hayl (هیل) - Arabic, Buah Pelaga (Malaysia/Indonesia), Hel (הל) - Hebrew, Yalakulu"(యాలకులు) - Telegu, yelakki (ಏಲಕ್ಕಿ) - Kannada

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Cardamom is the 'queen of spices'. It is one of the most valued spices in the world. Cardamom grows as the perennial herb with thick, fleshy rhizomes or underground stems shooting leafy roots and with leafy stems. It has very large leaves, white or pale green tree -celled flowers, many-seeded pale green to yellow fruits and triangular brownish-black seeds.  

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Green cardamom in South Asia is broadly used to treat infections in teeth and gums, to prevent and treat throat troubles, congestion of the lungs and pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of eyelids and also digestive disorders. It also is used to break up kidney stones and gall stones, and was reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom bite. Amomum is used as a spice and as an ingredient in traditional medicine in systems of the traditional Chinese medicine in China, in Ayurveda in India, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

Species in the genus Amomum are also used in traditional Indian medicine. Among other species, varieties and cultivars, Amomum villosum cultivated in China, Laos and Vietnam is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat stomach-aches, constipation, dysentery, and other digestion problems. "Tsaoko" cardamom Amomum tsao-ko is cultivated in Yunnan, China and northwest Vietnam, both for medicinal purposes and as a spice. Increased demand since the 1980s, principally from China, for both Amomum villosum and Amomum tsao-ko has provided a key source of income for poor farmers living at higher altitudes in localized areas of China, Laos and Vietnam, people typically isolated from many other markets. Until recently, Nepal has been the world's largest producer of large cardamom. Guatemala has become the world's largest producer and exporter of cardamom, with an export total of US$137.2 million for 2007.

The aroma and therapeutic properties of cardamom are due to its volatile oil. Tinctures of cardamom are used chiefly in medicines to relieve flatulence and for strengthening digestion activities.  

Recipes using Cardamom - Cardamom Tea

  • Directions:
    1 tablespoon organic green tea leaves,
    3 pods black cardamom (green cardamom will do if black cardamom is unavailable), crushed
    1 piece of ginger, crushed

    Method :

    Makes one large teapot. Do not brew for more than three minutes, as green tea becomes bitter after that. Black cardamom has a slightly smoky taste, very different from that of green cardamom. This tea is good for digestion, but it is heating, and both ginger and cardamom are said to be aphrodisiac, so don't have it before bed, unless you are planning not to sleep immediately.

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